Protein is an essential part of your diet when you are on dialysis. Dialysis treatment depletes some of the body’s natural protein, so it is important to replace the lost protein through the foods you eat. This will assist your body in achieving the amount of protein it needs to fight infection and repair muscles.
At Mount Baker Kidney Center, your protein level will be checked as part of your monthly labs and is shown on the lab “report card” as albumin, one of the body proteins. The goal for albumin is 4.0 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. Your dietitian will help you identify how much protein you should be eating each day to achieve your goals.
The Importance of Planning Ahead
Many people on dialysis find that they are too tired to shop and cook meals after their treatments. Planning meals and making a shopping list ahead of time helps you to be sure that you have foods in your house to cook. If you do some of the meal preparation during the times you have more energy, you will have healthy food ready to eat when you are hungry. For example, roast a whole chicken, and then use the meat for several meals.
High Protein Meals
Getting enough protein in your diet can be a challenge. We recommend that you eat two ounces of protein both before and after each dialysis treatment. The sooner you can eat after each treatment, the sooner your body will replenish the proteins that were lost during dialysis. It is also important to eat two to three high protein meals every day. If your albumin is less than 3.5 g/dL, chances are you are missing more than one meal.
Breakfast is an important meal for people on dialysis. It is important to eat one to two ounces of protein in the morning. Eggs are a great option and are easy to prepare in many different ways. The egg white is all protein; no fat or cholesterol.
Suggestions for breakfast proteins:
- Scrambled eggs
- Breakfast burrito (eggs, veggies, cheese, potatoes rolled in a tortilla)
- Tofu scramble
- Sliced turkey on toast
- Hard cooked eggs or egg salad on toast
Proteins for lunch and snacks:
- Grilled tuna sandwich
- Homemade hamburger
- Roast turkey sandwich
- Chicken and rice soup (reduced sodium or homemade)
- Peanut butter and jam sandwich
- Baked chicken
- Sloppy joes (made with low-fat ground meat)
- Tuna salad with crackers
- Egg salad sandwich
High protein dinner plan:
Start your dinner menu with meat such as beef, chicken or fish and add a starch such as pasta or rice. Complete the meal with two vegetables such as a salad and steamed broccoli.
- Grilled salmon or halibut
- Oven fried chicken
- Beef stroganoff
- Pork chops
- Homemade beef or turkey tacos
- Pot roast with vegetables