Grab and Go
Top 5 Kidney-Healthy Snacks to Pack in Under 5 Minutes
The kidneys are only the size of a fist, yet they pack quite a punch in keeping the body healthy. They filter the blood, remove waste and extra fluid and regulate blood pressure and red blood cell production. To protect these hard-working organs, it's important to limit or avoid eating any foods that will damage them. That means eating a diet that can help control blood pressure, blood sugar and help maintain a healthy weight, according to the National Kidney Foundation. So loading up on foods that are low in sodium, low in added sugars, high in fiber and low calorie will protect the kidneys.
March is National Kidney Month, March 8 is World Kidney Day and for those on the go, the National Kidney Foundation offers quick, kidney-friendly snacks that can be packed in five minutes or less and require little or no refrigeration. Here are the Foundation's top 5 picks for those seeking to protect their kidneys from damage (these snacks are NOT for those already on dialysis):
- Unsalted nuts, such as almonds, walnuts or peanuts. These are very low in sodium, high in protein and fiber and they contain the healthy kind of fat that doesn't raise cholesterol. Nuts are also very low on carbohydrates so they're an excellent snack choice, even for diabetics. Moderation is key so a good handful a day would be recommended. If you already have kidney disease, a diet high in protein is not recommended so check with a dietitian or doctor about appropriate snacks.
- Fruits, both fresh and dried are also an excellent choice. So many fruits keep well even in warmer weather, including apples, oranges, bananas, pears and peaches. Those containing edible skins and seeds will contain more fiber. Fruits are virtually sodium free and an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.
Dried fruits, such as raisins, prunes and figs, are a good choice because they usually come without any added sugar and preservatives and are naturally sweet. They are also a good source of fiber. Dried fruits and nuts can be thrown together for a homemade trail mix--no need to add the little candies that are found in so many store-bought versions.
- Lowfat soymilk is a good source of protein as well as calcium and vitamins and minerals. Look for it in a shelf stable form—no need for refrigeration!
- Fiber bars can provide around 35% of the daily recommended fiber and can also be fairly low in sodium. By checking the nutrition facts label, you can compare and select those that contain 100 mg of sodium or less and are low in saturated and transfats.
- Fresh whole or cut up vegetables, such as cherry or grape tomatoes bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and cucumbers need little or no refrigeration if eaten the same day they are cut. Brightly colored vegetables are good sources of fiber, are low in fat and sodium and high in vitamin C, lycopene and/or lutein, which are natural antioxidants.
For more information on diet and the kidneys visit the National Kidney Foundation's website at kidney.org