Learn more and get your questions answered in a no-cost kidney education class.
By DaVita® Dietitian Linda M. Harvey
If you have Stage 3 or 4 chronic kidney disease (CKD), your nephrologist (kidney doctor) may advise you to make some changes in your diet. If you are not at a healthy weight, the doctor may suggest that you either gain or lose a few pounds, depending on your condition. Maintaining a healthy weight can help people with kidney disease control and prevent more health problems. When excess weight is lost, blood pressure and blood sugar usually improve. This may delay or prevent more kidney damage. When people need to add calories to their diet, they can halt malnourishment and muscle loss and can gain more energy for everyday activities.
When making changes in diet or lifestyle, studies have shown that changing only one or two things at a time works best. Then, when they become habits, more changes can be made.
Calories give us energy from the food we eat. There are calories in most foods, but there are higher amounts in fast or fried foods, desserts, and snacks like donuts, chips and sodas.
Here are some guidelines to help limit calories:
Reading labels helps. Look for these key words for foods that are lower in calories:
On the other hand, if you need to gain weight, your doctor and dietitian may recommend that you:
Below are cooking descriptions that are usually higher in calories:
Ask your dietitian about the kidney-friendly ways you can add calories to your diet. For instance, gravy may be high in calories but the commercial kind is high in sodium. Your dietitian may recommend a kidney-friendly nutrition drink or bar to help provide extra calories.
There are many recipes on DaVita.com for you to try. These recipes are all good for kidney diets, and they are coded for carbohydrate control, and renal and renal diabetic food choices. The Chicken Fruit Salad recipe is my personal favorite. Here are a few more recipe suggestions:
Lower calorie kidney diet recipes
Higher calorie kidney diet recipes
Limiting or adding calories when you’re on the kidney diet can be challenging. But by using this guide, you can make the proper decisions for your kidney diet prescription. Your dietitian can also help you map out the number of calories you need per day so you can maintain a healthy diet with kidney disease.
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