Dealing with Appetite Problems for Dialysis Patients

Provided by DaVita® Dietitians

When you have problems with appetite as a dialysis patient, what are the recommended steps to take to help solve them? DaVita dietitians pinpoint different scenarios of appetite problems and provide helpful solutions. Here are some ways to deal with certain eating problems when you have chronic kidney disease (CKD) and are on dialysis.

Dealing with a poor appetite

  • Try to eat meals even if you are not hungry.
  • Consume four to six small meals or snacks every day.
  • Cool or cold foods might taste better than hot or warm ones.
  • For adequate protein intake, eat high-protein foods (eggs, meat, fish, poultry) first.
  • Make food attractive by placing it on nice dishware or adding a garnish.
  • Use calorie and protein supplements if needed.
  • Come to all your dialysis treatments and stay for your prescribed time.

Dealing with strange tastes or no taste at all

  • Marinate meat, fish and chicken in salt-free marinades.
  • Try to eat cold foods, such as kidney-friendly recipes for chicken salad, egg salad or tuna salad.
  • Brush your teeth regularly, and rinse with mouthwash.
  • Use herbs and spices on your food to bring out the flavor.
  • Talk to your dietitian for ideas on seasoning food without using salt.

Dealing with feeling full too fast

  • Try to eat five or six small meals during the day.
  • Eat high-protein food first, such as meat and eggs.
  • Take your time eating by savoring each bite.
  • Take breaks during mealtime.
  • Chew slowly and well.
  • Avoid high-fat foods, fried foods and rich sauces.
  • Do not drink liquids with meals.
  • Sip liquids between meals.
  • Eat regularly planned meals and snacks.

Dealing with being too tired to eat

  • Eat well on your “good” days.
  • Eat your biggest meal at the time of day that you have the most energy.
  • Prepare and freeze meals ahead of time.
  • Use convenient, ready-to-eat foods.
  • Let friends or relatives help make sure you eat when you’re lacking energy.
  • Try Meals on Wheels or a similar service.
  • Keep high-protein snack foods on hand to help boost your energy.
  • Get eight hours of sleep each night.

Work with your doctor, nurse and dietitian for more helpful ways to deal with appetite problems.