“Don’t buy it, make it,” is an important lesson Susan, a DaVita renal dietitian from New York teaches her patients. Susan’s recipe for Baked French Toast Custard is a warm, sweet breakfast that is easy to make and leaves store-bought breakfast foods in the dust. Making this gourmet breakfast may look difficult, but it’s prepared the night before and simply placed in oven the next morning. Baked French Toast Custard is kidney friendly, time efficient and a yummy taste treat.
Susan focuses on the importance of keeping life fresh and simple. “The single most important thing patients can do to improve their health is to decrease the pre-packaged/prepared items in their daily diets.” Processed foods are full of chemicals, salt and preservatives. You don’t have to love cooking or spend hours in the kitchen to make savory meals that are healthy for those with chronic kidney disease.
Keeping it fresh doesn’t just apply to meal planning. It’s a state of mind for Susan. She says, “I try to bring one idea to my dialysis patients a week; for example, a new recipe.” Her approach is simple and brings many rewards. “I get the most enjoyment from the continued one-on-one contact with my patients,” shares Susan.
Susan’s enthusiasm and support influence her patients’ health and spirits. “The most rewarding aspect of my job is helping my patients achieve their goals and feel better. I try to make a difference in my dialysis patients’ lives by encouraging small dietary changes that make them feel better or improve their quality of life through new food choices.”
Keeping her patients inspired is Susan’s number one priority. “I think up new ideas that are ‘outside the box’ to continually motivate my patients. I’ve set up a ‘recipe share board’ where I pin up various recipes from magazines or information about DaVita Diet Helper™ so no one can say they have to eat the same thing every day and that they are ‘sick of it’.”
Susan’s DaVita patients are especially lucky because her first love is delicious food. “Originally I was thinking of going to culinary school.” Combining her love of science and cooking naturally led her to being a dietitian and working with a few dialysis patients led her to the renal field. “I worked in the long-term care setting for about 20 years. I always had one to two patients receiving dialysis, which piqued my interest in the field. I also was an adjunct lecturer at a local college and taught the dietetic interns the basics of renal nutrition.”
A native of New York, Susan is a valued member of the DaVita team. “I really enjoy the team approach at DaVita. Our center is very special. We are a new facility that just opened and we are growing day by day.”
The most important thing anyone can do to improve their health is to eat well balanced meals. A simple way to achieve feeling better is cutting out processed foods. Cooking fresh foods at home is a great way for dialysis patients to get good food for the kidney diet that is low in potassium, phosphorus and sodium. Enjoy the simple, fresh flavors you can find at your local grocery. Susan recommends you start your day with her easy to make Baked French Toast Custard. It is a heavenly treat and a hearty breakfast everyone will enjoy.
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