As a chronic kidney disease patient, keeping your distance from others is necessary to reduce your chances of getting COVID-19. Maintaining a two-week supply of food means you won’t need to leave your house as often and potentially come into contact with virus carriers.
You might be wondering what types of shelf-stable items are safe for your kidneys, especially since many of them are sodium-rich. The Nephrology Associates of Cincinnati have assembled a guide to find foods that are generally low potassium, low phosphorus, and low sodium for CKD patients. Everyone’s kidney-friendly diet varies slightly based on their condition, so always consult with your care team if you’re uncertain about what’s safe for you to eat.
Prep your pantry
Before getting your two-week supply of groceries, scan your pantry, fridge, and freezer for expired items to throw away. Clear a space to store a few jugs of distilled water.
Fruits and vegetables
Kidney disease patients should be consuming two to three ½ cup servings each of fruits and vegetables every day. Look for sealed fruit containers of applesauce, fruit cocktail, pears, mandarin oranges, and peaches. Select only containers that have no added sugar, and drain the juice before eating. You can also enjoy your fruit fix by drinking cranberry, apple, and grape juices.
When searching for canned vegetables, be sure to buy only low-sodium or no salt added cans. Before eating canned carrots, corn, green beans, sweet peas, or water chestnuts, drain the liquid and rinse the vegetables in a strainer. Another option is to look for these vegetables in the frozen section – just take care to season them with herbs and spices rather than salt.
A good way to stock up on chicken and turkey is to buy them fresh and wrap each pack in foil to freeze until you’re ready to eat it. Put frozen meat in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours to defrost before cooking. Individually-wrapped frozen salmon is another healthy protein to keep on hand.
Non-meat sources of protein like dried pinto beans are deceptively easy to prepare and require no sodium to achieve great flavor. Simply measure out the amount of beans you want to cook and soak them in a bowl of water overnight. Be sure to check the bag’s instructions for the required amount of water. Too much water can make the beans soggy. The next day, they’ll cook on the stovetop in under an hour with little supervision. If you’re in a hurry, use canned beans with no added sodium.
Fats and dairy
Dairy sources like dry milk solids, evaporated milk, and shelf-stable milk alternatives (rice, soy, almond) will keep in your pantry until you’re ready to use them. Milk alternatives will need to be refrigerated once they’re opened. Keep dairy consumption limited to ½ cup per day.
As usual, stick to unsalted butter or margarine and olive or canola for cooking. Unsalted nut butters also make a tasty snack or breakfast on a piece of toast.
If cereal is part of your breakfast routine, stick to unsalted puffed wheat or rice options like Cornflakes, Honey Bunches of Oats, and Rice Krispies. Steer clear of cereals high in fiber.
White, sourdough, and light rye are all acceptable choices of bread. White pasta and white or brown rice are a shelf-stable option to add to any meal.
In these stressful times, you might feel inclined to indulge in a sweet treat. Vanilla wafers, graham crackers, jellybeans, and hard candies can all be kidney-friendly if eaten in moderation.
This is a challenging season for all of us. The Nephrology Associates of Greater Cincinnati are here to help you through it. Please reach out to your care team if you need anything at all. We are rooting for you, and we will get through this together.