Restricting your daily intake of Sodium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Protein & Fat in your food is the cornerstone of a Renal Diet Plan. Renal Dietitians are trained to help kidney patients identify which nutrients to restrict or increase in their daily diets, and by how much, based on our individual kidney health status. This means you will need to adjust your food & condiment portions to remain within your daily nutrient allowance. So how do you go about it?
We have previously shared a comprehensive yet detailed list of Kidney-safe foods and their guilt-free portions with CKD in tow.
HOWEVER, IMPLEMENTING THIS DIET PLAN ALSO COMES WITH ITS OWN SET OF ISSUES
Most Renal Diet Lists often mention vague quantities such as “1 Cup” or “2 Teaspoons” or “1/2 Tablespoon”.
So, when it comes to incorporating these revised nutrient allowances in our daily Renal Diet, we often find ourselves in the midst of a very practical problem. Look around your kitchen and you will probably find your kitchen shelves lined with Cups, Spoons & Ladles of various shapes & sizes!
Which one size is the right fit after all?!
Secondly, even if lists from your renal dietitian mention precise quantities such as 150 mL or 100 grams, how do you really “measure” your ingredients?!
With these “implementation” issues in place, before you even know it, your mind tends to give up on your resolve to follow your dietitian’s advice “to the tee”. Overall, it only ends up being a hostile decision for your kidneys.
Wouldn’t it just be easier to have a Separate Set of kitchen equipment just for you so that you don’t remain vague about your nutrient intake while cooking at home?
Presenting below the 3 must-have kitchen tools for a kidney-friendly, low sodium life!
You may already have some of these items available in your kitchen especially if you bake, but maintaining a separate set of these solely for your use ensures stricter hygiene standards.
1. Measuring spoon-set
Purpose: To precisely measure Salt, Spices, Condiments & Oils during cooking.
Salt and condiments used to flavour food are some of the commonest ways in which excess Sodium can sneak into our bodies. Using measured portions is always a good way to keep that in check.
What to consider when buying a Measuring Spoon Set?
- Utility: The more the number of “measurements” in the spoon-set, the better. A good range would include spoon-sizes of 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) to 1 tablespoon (15 mL).
- Material: Something that would not “leach-out” over time. Avoid plastic, silicone or Teflon. Prefer Stainless Steel.
2. Measuring (Graduated) Cups
Purpose: To measure your fluid intake (water, milk, oil, soup, juice, smoothies) in both “Cup” and “fluid ounce” units.
Soups (especially the readymade / packed soups) are high in Sodium. Similarly, fruit & vegetable juices are more Potassium-rich than their whole variants. Both these minerals need to be restricted in a Kidney Diet Plan. We have explained this further in our Renal Diet section.
Using a graduated cup to measure out your portions before consumption is a smart way to keep both your Sodium & Potassium intake in check.
What to consider when buying Measuring Cups
- Accuracy: Go for 1 “graduated”, transparent cup with visible markings. Avoid approximate cup sizes with no indicated measurements.
- Precision: Precision means how small of a quantity, the cup can measure accurately. Standard measuring cups can precisely measure quantities as low as 1/4 cup (around 60 mL). For quantities, lower than that, use a measuring spoon set
- Range: The greater, the better. Standard range goes from 1/4 cup to 2 cups.
- Material: Borosilicate glass or laboratory-grade Pyrex glass are the best options. Avoid plastic or silicone. Stainless steel is a great material, but because it isn’t see-through, it scores less from the Utility point-of-view.
- Temperature Resistance: Microwave and Freezer-safe materials are the best. However, please still avoid applying sudden temperature variations to improve durability. Eg: Avoid heating a measuring cup over a stove or in the microwave right after taking it out of the refrigerator.
- Ease of Cleaning: Materials such as Borosilicate glass, Pyrex glassware and Stainless steel are dishwasher-safe and do not leach out with dishwashing liquid detergents either.
3. Thick-bottomed stainless-steel pan for Leaching
Purpose: Low Sodium & Potassium intake forms an integral part of a kidney-friendly diet plan. So, in addition to being precise with cooking ingredients, your medical team would also recommend “Leaching“ the high Sodium & Potassium vegetables (and sometimes meat) before cooking.
Leaching requires you to use a thick-bottomed pan without a lid. Now, most of you already have these utensils in the kitchen. But just in case you live away from your family and have not had the opportunity to stock up your kitchen inventory with one of these versatile pans, get one now. We recommend using stainless steel pans for your Kidney-friendly Kitchen. Steel is well-suited for this purpose because steel is both relatively inexpensive & “chemically safe” with boiling water despite prolonged use.
What to consider when buying this item?
- Material: Always choose a material that is less likely to “leach-out” into the food/water being cooked in it. Stainless Steel and Borosilicate Glass are good choices. Steer clear of pans lined with Teflon, Silicone, Cast iron or Copper for the purpose of leaching food.
- Durability: Thickness of the base is an important consideration from the Durability point-of-view. A 5 millimetres (or 0.5 centimetres) thick base is a good reference standard.
These three kitchen tools are the bare basic necessities for mastering nutrient restriction & becoming an efficient Renal Diet follower. Do choose to ramp up your Kidney Kitchen “Arsenal” today!
In case you are interested in securing your kitchen to a complete Kidney Fortress, we have put up a detailed guide on the criteria and the kitchen equipment that will help you streamline your daily kitchen activities in a kidney-friendly manner. Find the Kidney Kitchen guide in the link below:
Hope the information nuggets are of your help.
Till then, stay well and be kind to your kidneys. They deserve every bit of it.
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