What you choose to eat and drink has a huge impact upon your health. If you are dealing with kidney disease it is even more important than ever to be mindful of what you eat. With just a few basic adjustments to the standard American diet, you can be assured that your food choices are helping you to manage your disease. Adjusting your diet can sound daunting, but with these tips you’ll find that you can easily reduce your sodium and sugar intake while keeping the wonderful flavors of the food you love to eat. The only thing that could be easier is donating your carto the Kidney Cars Foundation.
#1 Cook from Scratch
There’s just no denying the deliciousness of a home-cooked meal. Our busy lives have made them the stuff of legends and myth, but the truth is that meals made from scratch don’t often take much longer than the high sodium, high sugar prepared foods on the super market shelf. Homemade soups and casseroles can be created with less expense, more flavor, and a lower cost.
#2 Gradual Reduction
Our taste buds can become acclimated to certain tastes. For those of us who love super salty or sweet foods it can be difficult to cut back or go cold turkey from the flavors we are accustomed to. But salt and sugar don’t really have flavors of their own, they are simply enhancers of flavor. By gradually reducing the amount of sugar and salt you use on your food your taste buds with become accustomed to the lower amount and you won’t feel the outrageous craving for either one. With sugar, try one scoop less in your cereal or drink until you are down to just a minimal amount. With salt, begin with not salting your food when you cook it, wait until you are at the table to eat it.
#3 Taste Your Food Before Adjusting the Flavor
Most people salt their food by habit rather than taste, sprinkling it on before they even take a bite. This habitual use of the salt shaker or the sugar spoon can lead to high glucose and sodium levels. Take a bite or two of your soup or salad before you get out that salt shaker. If you still find yourself using more than your doctor recommends, try using a salt shaker that lets out a smaller amount of salt. This little mind trick will let you shake that salt as many times as you are accustomed to, while only adding half of your normal amount to the food you’re eating.
#4 Use Fresh or Frozen
Avoid using canned fruits and vegetables in your cooking. Canned foods tend to have a much higher salt and sugar content making it a source of "hidden" sodium. Frozen vegetables are typically frozen at peak freshness and have more flavor than canned. Fresh fruit is also more flavorful than canned. When possible, use fresh. If you must use canned fruits or vegetables, always wash them under running water. This can reduce the sodium level by up to 40%.
#5 Use Herbs
One of the tastiest ways to reduce sodium intake is to use other herbs instead of salt when flavoring food. Onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, rosemary, summer and winter savory and basil are just a few options to give your dishes full, rich flavor without damaging your body.
#6 Use Fruit to Sweeten
In the mornings, if you are used to adding several spoons full of sugar to your oatmeal or cereal, try adding a sliced banana, strawberries, or apples and cinnamon instead. The sweet flavor of the fruit will replace the sugar and add in an additional punch of flavor.
These simple steps can have you eating healthier and giving your body a boost in no time.