By Akhila Gullapuram MS, RD
A balanced diet is a key component to feeling healthy and looking great even when on dialysis. Only, you need to know what will create a balanced diet when on dialysis! Also the definition of balanced diet when on dialysis will be based on the imbalances in your body. It will revolve around foods related to correcting imbalances with phosphorus, calcium, potassium, sodium, fluid, and protein most of the time. Many other nutrient imbalances are corrected through your medications and dialysis. Getting your blood tests monthly as recommended and reviewing them with your dietitian and doctor, can help you know regarding your imbalances. Changing your food pattern after talking to your dietitian will help you get your blood test reports better next month.
A good way to keep the balance of the nutrients is possible when you learn to cook healthy at home. Nutritional control of nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, fluids, protein can be individualized to the needs. Eating out often will have poor nutritional control as you cannot choose the ingredients and the way they cook food. Cooking healthy meals at home doesn’t have to be challenging or time-consuming. Check our recipe section for cooking foods at home.
People on dialysis are at higher risk for heart diseases. Hence cooking healthy is very essential step to good health.
Tips to cook healthy:
1. Watch on the way you prepare your food
- Use the methods of cooking which need very less oil such as steaming, sauteing, baking, boiling, roasting.
- Use non stick pan.
2. Enhance the taste with spices and herbs
- Do not add salt while cooking food. Ask your dietitian, the ways, foods can retain natural flavor and taste good even without salt. She will individualize based on your needs.
3. Watch the fat intake
- When cooking poultry, take out the skin and trim the extra fat.
- Use mix of oils such as sunflower, safflower, rice bran, olive oil sparingly and avoid coconut and palm oil.
- Indian sweets cooked in reheated oil and pure ghee are high in saturated fat. Reheated oil can be carcinogenic.
- When deep frying occasionally, use good quality oil and maintain proper frying temperature to minimize absorption of excess oil. Foods to be fried should be at room temperature. After frying, place the fried foods on the plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil.
4. Keep a check on the ingredients you use
- Use mix of low potassium and medium potassium vegetables as suggested by your dietitian.
- Use dairy only as suggested for cooking to keep your phosphorus under control. Know your phosphorus needs from your dietitian.
- Use water for cooking as recommended.