Good food routine #1

Be sure to get enough energy

Our body needs energy to function properly. If we don’t give it enough energy, we get tired, we lose motivation and concentration, and are more susceptible to infections. Of course, we get the energy we need from the food we eat.

Does dialysis change my body’s energy needs?

It actually does. Dialysis is something that requires a certain amount of energy, and this amount is added to the regular amount of energy your body needs. Your physician will be able to tell you just how much more energy you need.

What is the best source of energy for me?

The most important source of energy for your body should be carbohydrates. Their main function is to store energy in your body. Some of the carbohydrates can be absorbed quickly, like those that can be found in sugar. Other, more complex carbohydrates take longer to break down, and thus provide energy over a longer period of time. They can be found in pasta, rice or brown bread.

And what about fat?

In many regions of the world, fat sounds like a bad source of energy. But it is actually the most efficient one. Fat also has other important roles: it helps build healthy cells, and it enables us to absorb vitamins. The best and heart healthy sources of fats for you are dairy products, fatty fish, and oils. In case you find it difficult to put on weight, do not shy away from fat rich foods or try adding some oil to your meals.

How important are proteins for my body?

Another source of energy can be proteins. Since they are very important parts of our cells, they are vital to our nutrition. Proteins can be found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products and potatoes.

I am a diabetes patient. Are there specific suggestions for me?

Because of your diabetes, your carbohydrate intake needs to be tightly controlled in order to manage your blood glucose levels. All carbohydrate containing foods (including bread, cereal, pasta, rice, starchy vegetables, fruits, juices and many desserts) increase blood glucose levels. Your medication needs to be adjusted according to the total amount of carbohydrates you eat and your level of activity.

I don’t feel hungry very often. Is there something I should do?

Most dialysis patients have a reduced appetite. So even if you don’t feel hungry, make sure that you get three meals per day and two snacks in between. You really need the energy.

There are some simple ways to stimulate your appetite. For example, adding a little bit of cinnamon to a sweet dish – like mint or ginger, cinnamon stimulates appetite naturally. A little bit of physical activity also works well. Go for a little walk, or do some easy exercises at home. It also helps lift your spirits, and being in a good mood also increases your appetite.

What can I do if I am out and about?

When you are travelling, or leaving home for several hours, be sure to pack some suitable food. High-energy snacks such as sandwiches with egg or ham are a great addition to your three meals a day. This is also advisable for your dialysis day – try eating a snack during the first hour of your treatment!

Remember

  • your body needs enough energy to function well
  • 3 meals and 2 snacks per day
  • physical activity increases your energy needs
  • if you need to gain weight, add more fat rich foods to your diet
  • be active, get some fresh air and keep your spirits up

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