Kidney Diet Tips

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Baseball season is officially underway and if you’re planning on trekking it out to your favorite ballpark sometime this season, be prepared to face a lot of not-so-kidney-friendly temptations. Most of your ballpark favorites aren’t known for being healthy to begin with, but there are definitely some choices that are better than others. To keep you from completely derailing from your kidney-friendly diet and health goals, let’s explore some options!

  1. Bring Your Own Snacks:
    • Fruits and veggies are a great go-to snack and most ballparks will let you bring these in. If you need something a little more ballpark-like with some crunch, salt-free pretzels, salt-free popcorn or caramel-covered popcorn may be up your alley. Graham or animal crackers are a good snack, too.
  2. Steer Clear of Salty Snacks:
    • From nachos to popcorn, the ballpark will be FULL of sodium-laden snacks. These types of snacks are sure to derail your fluid management goals, so do not set yourself up for failure with these. Instead, now may be the time to splurge on a soft, fresh-baked unsalted pretzel or some cotton candy! If you have diabetes, be carb-conscious with these or select fruit or veggie options.
  3. Eat Before and After:
    • If you’re willing to forego munching during the game altogether, having a kidney-friendly meal or snack before and/or after the game may be your safest bet! Most ballparks will have restaurants nearby where you may find some more health-conscious options. Otherwise, have your normal meal at home and then head out for some fun in the sun (or rain… weather, pending).
  4. Choose Water:
    • Hopefully you make it out on a beautiful, sunny day. If so, prepare for increased thirst by skipping the salty snacks and bringing a spray bottle along to spritz your mouth so you don’t overdo it with drinking liquids. Add a lemon to the bottle for extra flavor. Otherwise, stick to your usual low-phosphorus beverages like bottled water, lemon-lime soda, iced tea or lemonade.
  5. Pick Protein!
    • Protein is your pal. If you absolutely must have and cannot live without that ballpark frank, have the smaller hotdog, stick to one and skip other high-sodium foods that day. Otherwise, if your park offers hamburgers or chicken sandwiches these are great options (minus the high-potassium, high-sodium fries, of course).
  6. Select a Wrap or Salad – go for it!
    • A lot of parks are including healthier fare so if you see options like these with kidney-friendly ingredients at your ballpark, help yourself!
  7. Sweet Splurges:
    • If you’ve got a sweet tooth and need something to cool down, sorbet or sherbet will keep you on track versus phosphorus-laden ice cream. Be conscious of your fluid intake, though, as these desserts contribute to your total daily fluid goal.
  8. Take Your Phosphorus Binders!
    • Always take your binders, but especially remember to bring them along for the game. Just because you choose the healthier option doesn’t mean there aren’t hidden phosphorus additives in it.

Pick an option that works best for you and let’s play ball!

Daneille DeGroot, MS, RDN, LDN

Daneille DeGroot, MS, RDN, LDN

Danielle has been a registered dietitian for four years. Her hobbies include running, yoga and spending time with her two dogs.