Smoothies have long been considered the perfect solution for grabbing a nutritious snack on the go, and Kelly’s Kool-Aid® Smoothie is no exception. Kelly, a renal dietitian from Missouri, has created a refreshing treat that is a protein enhancing snack on the dialysis diet.
Before becoming a dietitian, Kelly once considered a career as a chef. “I enjoy eating, cooking and baking,” she says. She credits “fate or a higher power” for leading her to dietetics instead, and draws on her skills in the kitchen to create yummy recipes for patients on the renal diet.
“I try to help patients understand that the renal diet is a necessary part of the treatment plan,” she says. “I explain that it won’t be easy, and is a major adjustment, but that over the long term they will find new favorite foods.”
The Kool-Aid® Smoothie is a perfect example of Kelly’s creative approach to cuisine. The vanilla flavored, nondairy creamer and powdered egg whites are low in cholesterol and phosphorus, and pump the smoothie full of protein and creamy richness. Kelly’s recipe can be made with either pre-sweetened or sugar-free Kool-Aid. This gives flexibility in managing carbohydrate intake for people with diabetes.
After receiving her master’s degree in dietetics and nutrition at the University of Kansas, Kelly relocated to rural Missouri with her husband, and lives on a working farm out in the country. She says that the hour-long, daily commute is one of the perks of working at DaVita. “The drive allows me to get up early, listen to lots of music and have lots of thinking time,” she adds.
A renal dietitian for nearly ten years, Kelly has been with DaVita since 2005, and credits the organization for teaching her how to help patients find enjoyment in life even when they are dialyzing. “The most rewarding aspect of my job is when patients tell or show us how we make dialysis better for them.”
Kelly also enjoys the emphasis on teamwork at her dialysis clinic. “We have an excellent team,” she states, and adds that she and her coworkers work hard at maintaining their commitment to that spirit. “It takes an entire team to be effective,” she observes. “DaVita is a great company, and provides wonderful resources to make our jobs easier. They really go above and beyond to make us come together. Reaching for the same goal makes a huge difference. Patients’ outcomes not only improve, but they respond and interact more, and seem more satisfied.”
Kelly has a “laid back” attitude that helps her patients feel comfortable asking her advice at any time. She encourages patients to actively participate in their wellness, and invites them “to be part of the team, to tell us why a certain approach doesn’t work for them, or to let us know what they think would work better.”
As part of Kelly’s collaborative approach to kidney care, she regularly creates recipes, and samples products aimed at boosting protein and lowering phosphorus in the kidney diet. “Sometimes patients are on their guard, afraid it may taste bad, but overall, most do try,” she says. “My team is really good about trying things first, and encouraging the patients.”
Delicious, kidney-friendly and easy to prepare, Kelly’s Kool-Aid® Smoothie has been tried by her team and now they are inviting you to try it too.