Herbs and spices:
Herbs and spices flavor our food while cooking and can be added at any stage of the cooking process for different effects. Herbs and spices add a lot of flavor without adding calories or salt. Spices are dried and herbs can be either fresh or dried. You can find dried herbs and spices in the baking section of the grocery store.
Common herbs and spices:
- Garlic powder (not garlic salt)
- Black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- No salt added chili powder
- Old Bay®
- Curry powder
Non-starchy vegetables are low in total carbohydrates and calories. They have around 5 grams of carbohydrates for every ½ cup cooked and 1 cup raw. A few kidney-friendly non-starchy vegetables are:
- Bell peppers
- Cabbage (green or red)
Starchy vegetables are higher in carbohydrates and calories. These vegetables have around 15 grams of carbohydrates per ½ cup cooked. The most common starchy vegetable, the potato, is high in potassium. Here are a few kidney-friendly starchy vegetables:
- Summer squash/zucchini
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for your health. Your BMI (body mass index) is a measurement that uses your weight and height to determine if your weight is in a healthy range.
Lean proteins are protein sources that are low in saturated fat. These include both animal and plant proteins.
- A serving of animal protein is 3 ounces (about the size deck of cards) and provides you with approximately 21-27 grams of protein.
- 1 large egg provides about 6 grams of protein.
- A serving of plant protein is ½ cup of beans about ½ a tennis ball or the front of your fist. This provides you with around 5-7 grams of protein.
A few kidney-friendly lean protein sources are:
- Egg whites
- Chicken (skinless and boneless)
- Turkey (skinless and boneless)
- Lean beef
- Lean pork
- Soy milk (unenriched)
- Beans (One ½ cup serving has about 7 grams of protein but 200 mg. or greater of potassium)
- Nuts (One 1oz serving has about 5—7 grams of protein but 200 mg. or greater of potassium)
Refined grains have been milled, meaning that the bran and the germ have been removed from the grain, leaving only the endosperm. The endosperm contains mainly carbohydrates and some vitamins and minerals. Grains are refined to have a finer texture and to increase the shelf life.
Enriched grains are refined grains that manufacturers have added back some, but not all, of the vitamins and minerals removed in the milling process.
Whole grains have all their natural parts: bran (fiber), germ (vitamins, minerals, and protein), and endosperm (carbs, vitamins, minerals, and protein). Whole grains are the healthiest grains because they have all their natural vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Types of whole grains:
- Brown rice
- Quinoa (a seed but acts like a grain)
- Popcorn (non-buttered or salted)
- Whole-wheat breads, pasta or crackers