Kidney Diet Tips

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Protein Bars: A Quick and Easy Protein Source

Almost every day my patients tell me they are not big meat eaters, or they are too tired to cook. They want to know protein choices that are quick and easy. Protein bars fit this category.

Before we talk about protein bars I would like to give you a quick overview on protein. Protein is the building blocks of our body. These building blocks are called amino acids. Your muscles, bones, hair and skin are made of amino acids. Without adequate protein our bodies would be unable to heal from injury, stop bleeding or fight infections. The average healthy person needs 40-65 grams of protein daily. But when you are on dialysis the protein needs increase significantly, because you lose protein during dialysis. How much protein you need will depend upon your lab results, body size and other health conditions.

Eating high quality protein foods is best because less waste is produced in the blood. High quality protein comes from meat, fish, poultry, eggs and seafood. Protein supplements are another alternate to increase protein in your diet. Protein supplements are available in liquid, powder and bar forms. Protein bars have advantages over liquid base supplements. One, they don’t add any fluids to your diet, and you can take a protein bar anywhere you go and eat it without any preparation or fuss.

The problem is there are so many different types of protein bars available. These days that it’s hard to tell which one is a good choice for you. When buying a protein bar it’s best to check the nutrition facts on the packaging. Use these guidelines when choosing a protein bar or ask your dietitian for help.

  • Protein:           15 grams or more
  • Potassium:     200 milligrams or less
  • Phosphorus:   150 milligrams/15 % or less of the Daily Value
  • Sodium:          300 milligrams or less

Use these guidelines and enjoy  protein bars knowing you have made a kidney-friendly choice. Check with your dietitian for additional protein bar recommendations.

Savita Jindal, RD, LD

Savita has been a dietitian over 25 years and has experience working in a variety of different settings, including K-12 schools, long-term care, community clinics, ambulatory clinics, hospitals, and as a consulting dietitian, among others. Herhobbies are reading fiction and non-fiction books, and writing poetry.