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Renal Failure Diet and Meal Planning

Updated on August 29, 2014

Renal Diet Meal Plans and Planning

Kidney Disease Diet and Meal Plans

Understanding Sodium Content

Sodium is a necessary element for a healthy diet but too much can cause serious health problems. When the kidney’s are not functioning properly there is a build-up of fluids in the system and the toxins from the excess fluids are not being removed through the urine. Limiting your intake of salt in your daily meals is one of the key concerns for a kidney disease diet plan. (Visit our website for your FREE 3 Day Meal Plan). Limiting your salt or sodium intake is much more than just limiting the use of table salt in cooking. Salt seasonings can also contain high quantities of sodium. The following salt and salt seasonings should be used sparingly; table salt, celery salt, onion salt, garlic salt, seasoning salt with 370 mg of salt and lemon pepper with 230 mg of salt. Also flavor enhancers, Lite salt, meat tenderizer and especially bouillon cubes. These dangerous salt sources can be replaced with; blends with low-sodium or salt-free seasoning, onion powder, black pepper, garlic powder, vinegar, lemon juice and especially fresh onion or fresh garlic.

Other foods that hide salt:

Cured foods are always high in sodium content because of the way they are processed. These are meats like salt pork, bacon and ham, Lox and Herring, Other foods are olives of any kind, sauerkraut, and pickles either whole or as a relish. Also, watch out for packaged deli meats like sausage, corned beef, pastrami, hot dogs, spam and deli meat like cold cuts. Look for deli meats that are labeled low-salt or low-sodium if you must have lunch meats. Eating foods like fresh fish, beef, pork, veal, and poultry will be lower in sodium making them better choices than highly processed, cured or packaged foods.

Dairy choices like cheese and buttermilk will be high in sodium so look for natural cheese and limit this to only one once per week. For instance, one ounce of cheddar cheese will contain 176 mg of sodium while once slice of American processed cheese will have 406 mg of sodium. Anything that comes in a can is going to have a lot of added salt like soups, vegetables, vegetable juice and tomato products unless they are labeled low-salt or low-sodium. Homemade soups and cooking fresh vegetables or making your own juices is a much better choice to limit your salt intake.

Any kind of homemade meals are going to be far superior to packaged meals or anything in a can because you will be able to control the salt content as you prepare the meal. When the kidneys are failing, the convenience food preparations are just a luxury you cannot afford. Frozen dinners, fast foods, chili, canned raviolis, commercially packaged mixes, spaghetti and macaroni and cheese in a box will all contain too much sodium for a healthy Kidney disease diet.

Be aware of label ingredients:

When making your food choices, be sure to read the labels carefully. You will be surprised at the amount of sodium that is present in foods that you probably would not suspect are high in sodium or salt. For instance, using lemon pepper for seasoning is a popular choice but the majority of the product is salt. Salt is the first item listed in the ingredients list making it mostly composed of salt (230mg for a ¼ tsp serving size). This means using lemon pepper makes your foods very salty in taste besides adding sodium to the food preparation.

The label will say:

· Reduced sodium which indicates the sodium has been reduced by at least 25 percent

· Very low sodium which means there is only 35 mg or even less in each serving size

· Low sodium means there is 140 mg or even less in each serving size

· Light or Lite sodium means there is at least a fifty percent reduction in the sodium content

· Sodium free means only a trace of sodium is present in each serving size

When reading your label always check the first five ingredients listed. These are the highest quantities of ingredients in the food and if sodium is listed in the first five then it is not a good choice for the Kidney Failure Diet. Ask your physician how much sodium is allowed for your daily intake of foods and liquids. You need to count the sodium mg just like you would be counting calories.

The serving size will vary for different products so this needs to be taken into consideration when making your product choices. Also, the amount of sodium will tend to vary between product brands. Check your labels and compare the sodium contents so you are sure the product brand you choose has the lowest amount of sodium.

Keeping the sodium content low in your diet is just a part of a healthy kidney disease diet plan. To be sure you are eating correctly and making the best choices it is probably easier to follow a well prepared menu plan done by a nutrition expert that takes into account all of the guidelines necessary for creating a variety of tasty and healthy recipes that will support your kidneys.

Chronic Renal Failure Diet

Fluid Needs for Predialysis Kidney Disease (Stage 3)

The fluid needs for predialysis kidney disease (stage 3) are going to be much different than those of a patient with completely health kidneys. Kidneys, once they reach this critical stage, are no longer able to function in their normal capacities. They are continuing to function, however, in a reduced capacity. Dietary needs become even more vital at this important stage in the progression of kidney disease.

They are no longer able to operate as the body's biggest filters removing electrolytes, fluids, and waste from the body. With this in minds it's imperative to pay attention to changing fluid needs for predialysis kidney disease (stage 3) and adjust your daily diet accordingly.

Reduction in Fluid Needs for Predialysis Kidney Disease (Stage 3)

Renal diet restrictions exist for a reason. Without the kidneys serving to filter out the excess fluid in the body, it has a tendency to build up in unhealthy places, such as around the heart and lungs. A predialysis diet is in order to help remove the excess waste products before going through dialysis.

This diet, though, is about so much more than the fluid needs for predialysis kidney disease (stage 3). It's not just necessary to find the right balance of fluids, but also necessary to feed your body an appropriate amount of protein each day. Otherwise, the body will begin breaking down its own tissues in order to get the nutrients it needs.

What are Your Fluid Needs for Predialysis Kidney Disease (Stage 3)?

There isn't a one-size-solution for fluid needs. Different bodies have different needs -- even in a predialysis state. You'll have to work closely with your physician to find the right balance of fluids daily to keep yourself healthy and ready for dialysis when the time arrives though fluid, at this stage, is not generally restricted since the kidneys are still able to function sufficiently to filter some of the waste from your system.

Aside from the fluid needs for predialysis kidney disease (stage 3) patients, is the need to reduce blood pressure. Most patients, at this stage of disease progression, have high blood pressure. Sodium reductions, as a result, are necessary. Other effects of stage 3 chronic kidney failure include extreme weakness and/or fatigue, fluid retention, and sleep problems. Sleep problems are often related to discomfort, muscle cramps, itching, and even restless legs. In some cases, it's not falling asleep that's the problem, but maintaining a restful sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time.

Consider that as you time your fluid needs for predialysis kidney disease (stage 3) and try to plan your fluid intake sufficiently ahead of the time you're planning to sleep so that your sleep is not disturbed by late night runs to the restroom.

The fluid needs for predialysis kidney disease (stage 3) and beyond will vary from one person to the next. It's important to work with your physician to work out a plan that's right for your needs, your disease, and your unique situation as a person going through stage 3 kidney disease.

Renal Diet Menus-Limiting Sodium Intake

Kidney Diets for Excellent Renal Health

Renal Diabetic Meal Planning

Chronic Renal Failure Diets

Chronic renal failure can be life threatening if not taken seriously. When starting a diet for chronic renal failure the registered dietitian should start by limiting sodium, potassium and phosphorus. A good meal planner should have patterns for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also important are snack choices as we all look for snacks during the day.

Chronic Renal Failure

Is Home Hemodialysis Right For You?

Is Home Hemodialysis Right For You?

Dialysis is the most common treatment for patients with advanced kidney failure. The function of dialysis is to help your body by filtering out waste and excess fluid the way your kidneys would if they were working properly.

There are two common types of dialysis: peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis.

Peritoneal dialysis refers to a method where the patient’s abdomen is filled with a solution that draws waste and excess fluid through a catheter. Peritoneal dialysis is a treatment that can be completed at home by the patient if he or she has the ability and manual dexterity. Often, peritoneal dialysis comes with fewer dietary restrictions and medications.

Hemodialysis is a more advanced method where the patient’s blood is filtered through a machine that removes waste, salt, and excess fluids. Hemodialysis requires a stricter schedule for treatment and medications, and often requires dietary restrictions.

Both treatments are effective for treating kidney disease. Hemodialysis, however, is often the preferred treatment for advanced kidney failure. If your kidneys are not performing effectively or if they are not working at all, your doctor may suggest hemodialysis.

Hemodialysis can be done in a treatment center or at home with the help of a nurse or trained loved one, but a strict schedule must be maintained.

Often, hemodialysis is completed at a dialysis treatment center. Patients must travel to the center three times a week for treatments that can last 3 to 4 or more hours. Completing treatments in a dialysis center requires a very strict schedule, as they often have many patients coming in and out for their dialysis treatments. Sometimes having your treatments done in a treatment facility can mean long waits, and long treatments keep you out for extended periods of time. It is sometimes hard to get to and from treatment facilities.

Home hemodialysis can offer you many advantages, including the ability to complete your treatments in the comfort of your own home. Home treatment offers you more flexibility.

The biggest advantage of home hemodialysis is certainly a greater quality of life and control over your own treatments. Home hemodialysis, while still requiring a strict schedule, allows the patient a little more freedom and comfort.

With their doctor’s permission, patients can choose to do long treatments three times a week like they would in a treatment center, or they can choose to break up their treatments into more frequent but shorter shifts.

At home, hemodialysis can even be done during the night when the patient is sleeping. Because the patient is able to control the treatment schedule, a custom treatment schedule is possible.

Home hemodialysis is also becoming more and more popular, so smaller machines and easier set ups are available. A home hemodialysis setup may or may not be covered by your insurance provider, your doctor and the distributor of the machines will be able to help you determine the costs.

Home hemodialysis offers many advantages to patients, but also comes with risks. You will need to weigh these risks with the benefits to decide if home hemodialysis is right for you.

There are serious risks associated with home hemodialysis. A lot of these risks are the same as the risks associated with receiving treatment in a dialysis center, but are heightened by the expertise and training of your caretaker.

Training of a nurse or loved one can often take anywhere from 3 to 8 weeks. Your caretaker will need to be vigilant and ready if any complications arise such as blood pressure emergencies or infection. The most common complications involve air embolisms when air gets trapped in the catheter and is accidentally injected into the blood stream. Most of these complications are the same as in-center treatment but require a level of training to be able to prevent, detect, and act quickly if problems occur.

(Worksheet to follow)

Worksheet: Is home hemodialysis right for you?

Ask yourself and then discuss with your doctor:

1. Do you dislike or are you often unable to make it to an in-center treatment facility?

2. Are you and a loved one or friend willing and able to complete training for use and operation of a home hemodialysis machine?

3. Are you and that loved one or friend willing and able to complete training for the detection and subsequent action that might be necessary if any complications should occur? Or if not, would you be willing and able to hire a nurse to administer your home treatments?

4. Do you and/or your chosen partner have the visual and manual dexterity to complete the tasks as shown to you by your trainer? This includes but is not limited to the handling and insertion of needles and catheters, reading directions and paperwork, and filling out order forms.

5. Are you willing and able to abide by a strict schedule for treatments?

6. Are you able to follow directions closely?

7. Are you comfortable asking for help when needed or when you have questions?

8. Do you have any mental disorders such as dementia or depression that would ever deter you from being able to complete treatments as scheduled?

9. Are you aware enough to know if something is different or wrong with your body, and are you willing and able to call a doctor if such an occasion should arise?

10. Are you confident and motivated to maintain a strict schedule and follow all directions handed to you by your doctors and trainers?

If you answered “no” or are not sure about any of the questions listed above, talk to your doctor.

Home hemodialysis can offer you a level of freedom and quality of living that could be more comfortable than a treatment facility; however it comes with its own risks and responsibilities. Your doctor is the best person to discuss these risks and advantages with. He or she may be able to help you determine if home hemodialysis is right for you. Your doctors are the best people to discuss any reservations or questions you have about your dialysis treatment.


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    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 

      6 years ago from USA

      Excellent hub. Thank you for the great info.


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