National Nutrition Month

Daily kidney diet tips

In observance of National Nutrition Month, the DaVita® dietitian team has compiled an education calendar of daily diet tips. These tips are displayed in DaVita dialysis centers across the nation to help people following a kidney diet enjoy a healthier life.

Day 1

Eat a variety of foods from your allowed food list

  • Include a source of protein at each meal, such as eggs, meat, fish and poultry.
Day 2

Remember to take your phosphorus binders

  • Too much phosphorus can harm your heart and make your bones weak.
  • Binders help keep phosphorus out of your blood.
Day 3

Low or high potassium can be trouble

  • Eat the right amount of fruits and vegetables to keep your potassium normal.
Day 4

Take a renal vitamin every day

  • There are special vitamins made for people on dialysis.
Day 5

Measure for success!

  • Fluid ounces allowed should equal fluid ounces you drink.
  • Measure and track fluid intake for your health.
Day 6

Avoid star fruit

  • Do not eat star fruit (carambola). It is dangerous for dialysis patients and can cause bad symptoms and even death.
Day 7

Reduce sodium

  • Foods high in sodium can make you thirsty.
  • Avoid frozen foods and dinners, ham, pickles, salty snacks, etc.
Day 8

Got yogurt?

  • Greek yogurt is the best choice for a protein boost.
  • Limit to 4 ounces/day to control potassium and phosphorus.
Day 9

Today's kidney diet includes 100% whole grains

  • 100% Whole Grain + Healthier
  • Look for the 100% whole grain stamp on the package
  • Be sure whole grain is the first ingredient.
Day 10

Dine out with confidence

  • Choose a restaurant where food is "made to order"; look over the menu and ask how food is prepared.
  • Request "no salt."
  • Share or take home large portions.
Day 11

Enjoy kidney-friendly cookbooks

Day 12

Snacking can be healthy

  • Unsalted popcorn or pretzels.
  • Fresh berries.
  • Canned tuna with low-sodium crackers.
  • Fresh vegetables with dip.
Day 13

Control thirst

  • Drink only if you are truly thirsty.
  • Eat less sodium.
  • Chew gum.
  • Suck on hard candy or lemon wedges.
  • Rinse mouth with cold mouthwash.
  • Avoid activities that cause you to become overheated or extra thirsty.
Day 14

Ask your personal coach: The registered dietitian

  • Work with a personal coach-your Renal Dietitian. Healthy rewards come with kidney-friendly meal planning teamwork.
Day 15

Measure protein

  • Albumin is one way your protein is measured. It should be at least 4.0 mg/dl.
Day 16

Play it safe with food

  • Prepare, handle and store food properly to keep it safe.
Day 17

Add whole grains to your kidney diet

  • It will help increase fiber and micronutrients which can improve cholesterol and constipation.
Day 18

Stay for your entire dialysis treatment

  • Stay for all of the dialysis that your doctor has prescribed. If you skip treatments, poisons can build up in your body.
Day 19

Going salt-free can be very tasty!

  • Use salt-free and potassium-free spice blends in your cooking.
  • Use fresh herbs and spices to flavor your meals. 
Day 20

Got coconut milk?

  • Best choices are coconut milk blends, for example Coconut-Almond milk.
  • 100% coconut milk and coconut water are very high in potassium and phosphorus - and should be avoided.
Day 21

Get  kidney-friendly recipes

  • Get access to 1,000+ free recipes at DaVita.com/DietHelper.
  • Recipes include nutrients and helpful kidney diet tips.
Day 22

Is JUICING allowed for dialysis patients?

  • Juice blends may have too much potassium, fluid or sugar.
  • Check labels for ingredients and potassium content.
  • Count juices toward your daily fluid and fruit and vegetable allowance.
  • Ask your dietitian for safe juicing guidelines.
Day 23

Healthy meals begin in your kitchen

  • Homemade meals are healthier than restaurant and fast food meals.
  • To begin, start using DaVita Diet Helper on DaVita.com for help with:
    • Meal planning
    • Food and fluid tracking
    • Recipes
    • Learning how to cook
Day 24

Buy fresh meats

  • Buy fresh meats, not enhanced or processed ones, to keep sodium intake lower.
Day 25

Fast, frozen and packaged foods usually contain phosphorus additives

Day 26

Taking vitamins, supplements or herbs?

  • Please let your healthcare team know to prevent possible reactions with other medications and altered blood test results.
  • Be sure to bring all vitamins, supplements and herbs you take to your medication review.
Day 27

Do not use salt substitutes

  • Most substitutes contain potassium chloride.
  • Season your foods with garlic, lemon juice, herbs and spices.
Day 28

Exercise for success

  • Feel better, look better, sleep better
  • Have more energy
  • No health club necessary. Try stepping in place or go for a walk.
Day 29

Slow eating helps maintain a healthy weight

  • Take small bites.
  • Slowly chew your food.
  • Put down your eating utensils after every bite.
Day 30

Variety is the SPICE of life! 

  • Choose from a variety of foods and food groups when meal planning.
  • Always make sure that foods fit into your kidney-friendly meal plan.

Day 31

Time your binders

  • Take your phosphorus binders with meals and snacks as prescribed.
  • Take them within 10 to 15 minutes of eating.

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