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There's a reason why subscription meal boxes are so popular right now. They're easy, foolproof ways to get a meal on the plate without much planning. However, they can get quite pricy and may not align with a kidney disease diet. So, skip the subscription and make mealtime easier by preparing your food ahead of time.
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Why prepare your food ahead of time?
Before you get started, get a detailed list of food that you can and cannot have from a registered kidney dietitian. Use this list as a roadmap when choosing what foods to prepare for future consumption.
- Reduce impulse eating: No need to order from a restaurant or gorge on unhealthy snacks if all your meals are ready to go.
- Portion control: It's easy to eat more than the recommended serving, but you can easily pre-portion with meal prepping to remove the temptation.
- Helps control sodium consumption: Many premade foods contain a lot of sodium, but you can control the amount added if you cook your food.
- Reduces food waste: If you hate buying food only for it to go bad before you can get to it, meal prepping will be a lifesaver. Everything is cooked, prepared, or frozen to maintain freshness.
How to prepare food ahead of time
There are many ways to go about food prepping, but here are 3 of our favorites.
- Leftovers: This is one of the easiest ways to start food prepping. Next time you make food, double or triple the recipe and freeze the leftovers.
- Prep raw and store: Wash, cut, dry, and store vegetables in the fridge to use throughout the week. To freeze vegetables, first, blanch them by briefly submerging the vegetable in boiling water. Then cool the vegetables off under cold water, shake excess water off, and let them dry completely before freezing. For meat, feel free to cut and season them before packing in a vacuum-sealed bag.
- Batch cooking: Pick a day and dedicate it to cooking multiple meals. Once everything is cooked, portioned, and stored in the freezer, you'll have up to a month or two of meals ready – whenever you want a quick and healthy meal – added bonus: it will be ready to eat in just a few minutes.
To get the most from food prepping for kidney disease, portion the food out before storing it.
8 Recipes to try out
Now that you know the basics, it's time to try your hand at meal prepping. Check with your healthcare professional to make sure you are eating the best foods for your stage of kidney disease, then give these eight recipes a try. They will have your budget, body, and kidneys smiling.
After a great night’s sleep, there's nothing better than waking up to a delicious and nutritious breakfast. These recipes will give you the fuel and energy you need to conquer your day.
Scrambled egg muffins
Give your brain a boost with these quick and filling egg muffins, which are appropriate for people with diabetes, those with CKD stages 1 through 5, people on dialysis, and kidney transplant recipients. Follow the recipe, and once baked, let them cool completely before wrapping them individually in plastic wrap.
Store the batch in a freezer bag where they can last up to 2 months when frozen. To reheat from frozen, wrap in a damp towel and microwave until it's heated all the way through.
Love your kidneys, breakfast cereal
Give your body some love with this easy-to-make, fiber-rich breakfast cereal. Combine all the dry ingredients and then portion the mixture into separate containers. When you want to eat this nutritious breakfast, all you'll need to do is add some liquid (eg, CranEnergey®) and microwave. This cereal is perfect for people with diabetes, those with CKD stages 1 through 5, people on dialysis, and kidney transplant recipients.
These delightful lunches will give you the power to make it through the rest of your day. They're also easy to make and perfect to keep for later in the freezer.
Healthy chicken nuggets
The hardest part about making these crispy chicken nuggets ahead of time is not eating them while they cool off. Frozen chicken nuggets are available in many grocery stores – but these products may be high in sodium and other unhealthy ingredients. Homemade and home-prepared chicken nuggets are suitable for people with diabetes; CKD Stage 1, 2; CKD Stage 3, 4; CKD Stage 5; those on dialysis and kidney transplant recipients.
Reheat as you would store-bought chicken nuggets; bake at 400° degrees until crispy.
Don't let their small size fool you. These Mexican antojitos are as filling as they are tasty. Before freezing, be sure to bring them to room temperature. Then wrap each one individually in plastic wrap before placing them all in a freezer bag.
Reheat in the oven at 425° degrees or microwave until warmed through. People with diabetes, those with CKD stages 1 through 5, people on dialysis, and kidney transplant recipients can enjoy these delightful antojitos.
Skip the overly processed junk food and indulge in this creamy hummus that will keep you feeling full until your next meal.
Pumpkin pepper hummus
Here's a snack you'll keep coming back to again and again. When refrigerated, it'll last about 7 to 10 days, but we doubt there’ll be any left by then. You can also make larger batches and freeze half for later use. Enjoy raw vegetables or low-sodium or salt-free chips and crackers. This dip is a good choice for people with diabetes, those with CKD stages 1 through 5, people on dialysis, and kidney transplant recipients.
If you’re tired at the end of the workday or don’t feel like making dinner, these recipes will be right up your alley.
Roasted onion garlic pizza
People won't believe that this mouthwatering pizza isn't from your local pizzeria. Cook the pizza as instructed, allow it to cool off, and then freeze.
To reheat, place in an oven or toaster oven until it’s crisp and toasty. This pizza is great for people with diabetes, those with CKD stages 1 through 5, people on dialysis, and kidney transplant recipients.
Roasted asparagus and wild mushroom stew
This hearty stew is the perfect dinner for people with diabetes, those with CKD stages 1 through 5, people on dialysis, and kidney transplant recipients. Since the stew will expand when frozen, store in freezer bags with about ½ inch of air left at the top. To reheat, allow to thaw and warm up in the microwave or a pot on the stove.
This aromatic apple spice cake is the perfect way to end your day, especially if you have a sweet tooth. This recipe is great for people with diabetes, those with CKD stages 1 through 5, people on dialysis, and kidney transplant recipients.
Apple spice cake
You don't need to be an awesome baker to make this exquisite apple spice cake. We're positive your friends and family will be begging you for the "secret recipe" so they can also make this delicious and moist cake. So, what’s the secret? It’s just a standard yellow, sugar-free cake mix! Here’s the recipe – but it’s up to you if you decide to share it or not. No worries – we’ll keep your secret should you decide not to share!
Every barbecue requires planning. You may be wondering- How many people are coming? Do I have enough food? When’s the last time I cleaned my grill? The list goes on....