Kidney Diet Tips

COVID-19 UPDATES

The health and safety of our patients and teammates is our top priority. We are keeping a close eye on this situation and reinforcing the extensive infection control practices already in place to protect them. Click here to find videos and additional resources.

Recognizing Your Dietitian on Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day

March 11 is a special day for dietitians–it’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day! We recognize this day and take time celebrate food and nutrition experts who are dedicated to improving health with a nutrition focus.

One of the foundational messages from dietitians is to eat a variety of foods every day. For those on a kidney diet, this may seem challenging. This is especially true if more attention is given to the foods that are on the “limit or avoid list”. Dietitians can help change your focus to all the tasty, healthy foods you can eat. Fortunately, the kidney diet continues to evolve as we research and learn more and update existing guidelines with new practices. Your renal dietitian is continually updating their nutrition knowledge and bringing that knowledge to you in the form of practical advice, examples, recipes and meal ideas.

Meeting with a Dietitian

Access to a registered dietitian may vary, depending on your stage of kidney disease. If you have private insurance, check with your insurance provider to see if Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) is covered by your plan. Your nephrologist can refer you to a RDN who specializes in renal or kidney nutrition. Medicare part B covers MNT for kidney patients whose glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is between 15 to 50 mL/min who are not on dialysis (1). A doctor’s referral is required before you meet with the RDN under most circumstances.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website, eatright.org, has contact information for dietitians who provide nutrition counseling. To find a dietitian through eatright.org, look for “Find an Expert” then search by specialty and ZIP code (2). For more information on how a dietitian can help with managing chronic kidney disease (CKD), read “Working with a Dietitian.”

Renal RDNs at the Dialysis Center

In the United States federal law requires that that every dialysis center has a registered dietitian with special training in renal nutrition as part of its care team to provide nutritional assessment, care and education to dialysis patients. Here are some of the ways RDNs can help you manage your kidney health:

  • Assess nutritional status and create a plan of care
  • Review requirements for food and fluid
  • Create a meal plan and provide menus, recipes and meal planning help
  • Provide education on lab values and the relation to diet
  • Advise on foods and supplements to ensure adequate nutrition
  • Monitor vitamin supplements, vitamin D therapy and medications, such as phosphate binders

To learn more about the role of a dietitian in the dialysis center, read “Dietitians at the Dialysis Center.”

Take time to recognize your dietitian in March. It’s also National Nutrition Month and National Kidney Month, which makes the connection between your renal dietitian and nutrition even more special!

References:

  1. Medical Nutrition Therapy Provided by RDNs can Help Slow the Progression of Chronic Kidney Disease; August 9, 2018 https://www.eatrightpro.org/media/press-releases/new-in-food-nutrition-and-health/medical-nutrition-therapy-for-kidney-disease; accessed 3/3/2020.
  2. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Find a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist online referral service https://www.eatright.org/find-an-expert; accesses 3/3/2020.

Additional Kidney Diet Resources

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 20 years experience working with people with diabetes and kidney disease. She is co-author of the popular kidney cookbook "Cooking for David: A Culinary Dialysis Cookbook". Sara is currently the Manager of Kidney Care Nutrition for DaVita. She analyzes recipes and creates content, resources and tools for the kidney community. In her spare time Sara loves to spend time with her young grandson, including fun times together in her kitchen.