By Kelvin Au, Nutrition Student, and Dani Renouf, RD, MSc, CDE
Do you find eating healthy hard and time-consuming? Tired of eating expensively? Eating healthy is often portrayed as a chore that takes effort, money and most importantly time to accomplish. However, this is not always the case! Below we provide top tips to prepare kidney-friendly recipes while keeping time, cost, and level of ease in mind.
- Use The Healthy Plate
This is a great visual tool to help you plate foods in the proper proportions so that you are getting the most nutrition, flavour, and energy out of your meals. As most on a kidney friendly diet may need to control their sodium, protein, and possibly potassium and phosphorus levels, using the healthy plate method can help achieve that balance.
- Aim for a Mediterranean style of eating.
The healthy plate is 1/2 vegetables, 1/4 protein, and 1/4 starch and looks like this:
This means including about 3 servings of fruit per day (1 serving = 1/2 cup or size of tennis ball) 4 servings of vegetables (1 serving = 1/2 cup), choosing vegetarian proteins like beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds more often than red meat, and taking fish which contains healthy oils for your heart, along with olive oil and canola oil which are also heart healthy choices. To reduce cooking time, you can choose salads, canned beans or salmon, or make a sandwich on whole grain with nut butter and a piece of fruit for your meal. Meals don’t always need to require cooking to be enjoyable!
- Limit your use of convenience foods.
Most of the time, sodium, potassium, and phosphate additives are the source of concern for people following a kidney friendly diet, so trying to lower your intake of packaged and prepared foods helps you to achieve better laboratory values and overall health as well as energy. Eating packaged foods often leads to paying more for foods that are not as nutritious, so using your grocery budget for bulk whole grains (like brown rice or whole wheat pasta), dried beans or legumes, low fat dairy, and frozen vegetables offers a great deal more value than buying foods prepared.
Finally, cooking in batches is a great way to make meals ahead of time that are healthy and delicious.
This baked chicken strip recipe can be prepared in batches and frozen after cooking for a future meal. If you wish, you can replace the chicken with either tofu or fish for variety. (Recipe source: Davita)