Snacks and Sack Lunches for Dialysis and Pre-dialysis Patients

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By: Mathea Ford

Mathea Ford is a Registered Dietitian who specializes in providing nutrition information for people who are learning more about a kidney diet.  She is an author of several highly reviewed books available on Amazon as well as Kindle and maintains a renal diet blog at 

Pre-dialysis patients are those people who have kidney damage and it ranges from the initial stages to very limited function based on eGFR values. Even though they are not yet undergoing dialysis, it is already important for them to watch what they eat so as to cut down the workload of their kidneys and help maintain the remaining kidney function. General guidelines include reducing protein intake and controlling blood pressure to slow down kidney failure. In addition, a low sodium diet is important and managing any related conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.

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Some of the snacks that you can enjoy include fresh fruits and vegetables, since they are generally low in sodium and protein. Examples of fruits and vegetables that you can eat include apples, blueberries, carrots, cherries, cranberries, grapes, strawberries, bell peppers, and lettuce. Aside from those, you can eat bread sticks, bagels, low sodium crackers, muffins, and rice cakes, provided that these foods are unsalted.

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Those who are undergoing dialysis, on the other hand, should eat more high protein foods because they usually have low albumin levels. Still, the sodium intake, phosphorus, and potassium intake should be kept to a minimum. Fluid intake should likewise be limited to what your doctor prescribes.

Some great snacks for people undergoing dialysis include fresh fruits and vegetables like the ones mentioned previously. Higher sugar foods may also be recommended in order to help in weight gain and boosting calorie intake. Such high sugar snacks include gelatin, shortbread and sugar cookies, vanilla wafers, sherbet, and marshmallows. High protein snacks include chicken salad, hardboiled eggs, and roast beef.

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If you are going to prepare sack lunches or snacks, here are some great ideas that you may want to consider:

  • Grape, Apple, or Wild Berry Pop Tart
  • Nutri-grain ® type bar, mixed berry
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • Grape or cranberry juice
  • ½ toasted bagel with margarine or jam
  • Unsalted popcorn
  • Whole wheat tortilla roll with sliced turkey, red pepper strips, and lettuce
  • Creamed tuna on English muffin
  • Grilled or broiled chicken sandwich with mustard or mayonnaise, lettuce, and onion
  • Whole wheat pita with mixed greens, grilled chicken, light Caesar dressing, baby carrots, and an apple
  • Beef or Chicken strips with bell peppers and white rice
  • 12 Vanilla Wafers
  • 4 squares of Graham Crackers
  • ½ sandwich with 2 ounces of meat and mayonnaise – buy low sodium deli meat

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For leftover foods, store them inside the freezer or refrigerator so that they can still be eaten the next day.  Also, if you are transporting them with you to an appointment or work, make sure you have an ice pack to keep them cold. Make sure to reheat these leftover foods in a microwave, or if a microwave is not available, some packed leftovers can still be enjoyed cold, such as chicken, turkey, roast beef, hard boiled eggs, or coleslaw.

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