Kidney Diet Tips

Back to School? Back to Work? Back to Busy!

It’s that time again, when summer is coming to an end and families and friends are transitioning back to school, and for some, back to work. Busy schedules, busy lives, always on the go…  Have you said to yourself “I hardly have time or energy, to cook as it is. How will I handle it?” Well, you are not the only one!

Meal Planning Tricks

When it comes to meals, many of us decide that going through the drive thru line is the easiest solution, and it’s cheap too. But maybe it’s not the best for managing the renal diet. There are time-tested meal planning tricks that can be done safely and quickly at home to help us stay on track, and in the end may save ourselves a little money. Here are a few ideas to help you prepare for back to school or work:

  1. Keep a cooler in your vehicle. Prepare a sandwich the night before and pack it in your cooler before leaving home. Some suggestions include tuna, chicken or egg salad; deli turkey; and if your dietitian says it’s okay, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Include some fresh cut raw veggies, such as celery and carrots, red or green peppers or cauliflower. And don’t forget the fresh fruit, such as apple slices, grapes or blueberries.
  2. Keep protein bars in your glove compartment or center console. Ask your dietitian for a list of kidney-friendly choices. In addition to the dessert-like taste, protein bars are quick and filling. The temperatures outside are getting cooler so there should be less melting involved. Remember to keep your phosphorus binders handy at all times.
  3. If you enjoy cooking, but just don’t have the time to do so every night, consider planning a “prep” day. Choose an evening or weekend day when you’re the least busy and use that time to get things ready for weekly meals. An example for dinner is to prepare seasoned chicken breasts, rice and vegetables. Store in individual airtight containers. Refrigerate these individual meals and easily reheat when you get home from school or work.
  4. If you don’t have time to eat in the morning, another idea is to make individual Baked Egg Cups from, ahead of time and reheat for a “grab and go” breakfast.
  5. When the seasons change and you’re looking for more comfort foods, a crock pot meal can’t be beat! Download the Today’s Kidney Diet Slow Cooker Recipes cookbook and try Crock-Pot® Chicken or Italian Style Shredded Beef. Explore more recipes like Easy Crock-Pot® Beef Stroganoff or Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Low Potassium Potatoes. If you are feeling energetic and have a day to prepare, try One Day’s Work, 7 Frozen Crock-Pot® Meals. These delicious recipes are keepers!

Kidney-friendly Snacks

Check out these kidney-friendly snacks for less than a buck:

As everyone’s situation is different, not all of these ideas or suggestions may be a good fit for your lifestyle or specific diet. However, it is likely there may be at least one that will work for you. Time saved can allow you to spend more quality time on your life and on the things and people that matter most to you. Back to School? Back to Work? Back to busy? Let’s get back to LIFE!

Nicole McMullen, RD, LMNT

Nicole McMullen, RD, LMNT

Born and raised in Omaha, NE (which is far more than tractors and sweet corn), Nicole has been a dietitian for over 15 years and has worked with the dialysis population for over 10 years. She enjoys reading, dancing, and relaxing in her spare time and has always had a passion for writing and helping others.