Woman Preparing Vegetables in Kitchen

How to Make Vegetables Taste Good When You Have CKD

By: Kellsey Reed RDN, LDN, PatientsLikeMe Contributor

Broccoli, onions, kale, carrots, the list goes on and on! Vegetables are a crucial part of a kidney-friendly diet because they are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Studies show that fiber intake is so important for overall kidney health and can help to keep the gut healthy when you have CKD. Good gut health is imperative for allowing the kidneys to better do their daily functions, like helping the body to get rid of excess toxins and waste products (3). Sometimes, it can be hard to get enough vegetables in due to the fact that they can be bland and boring.

Health benefits of vegetables for CKD

Studies show that vegetable intake is important for the general healthy population. However, increased vegetable intake is especially beneficial for those with chronic kidney disease. More plant-based diets, diets containing more plant foods like vegetables, have been shown to help improve:

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Insulin resistance 
  • Overall gut health
  • Overall kidney health

Vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fiber has been shown to help improve gut health, which is closely linked to kidney health. Be sure to include at least 3-5 servings of vegetables throughout the day to help optimize your kidney health! If you are new to adding more vegetables to your diet, start off by choosing vegetables that you enjoy first. Then, when you are comfortable with those vegetables, try adding in a few new ones.

Ways to add flavor to your vegetables

It’s important to follow a lower sodium diet for CKD. Instead of adding extra sodium to your veggies, try these tips instead:

  • Instead of salt ➡️ try low sodium or no salt added seasonings like Dash seasoning (my favorite is the Dash “chicken” seasoning) 
  • Instead of using soy sauce ➡️ try using coconut aminos to flavor your Asian-inspired vegetables
  • Instead of high-sodium salad dressings and sauces ➡️ try using herbs, spices, vinegars, and citrus juices to add flavor to your foods 
  • Instead of using a full teaspoon of salt ➡️ try using a pinch of ⅛ teaspoon of salt for a lower sodium intake 
  • Instead of buying high-sodium frozen vegetables ➡️ choose low-sodium frozen vegetables and add your own seasonings
  • Instead of buying regular canned foods ➡️ try buying low-sodium or no salt added canned vegetables

Flavorful vegetable recipes for CKD

Vegetables can sometimes be thought of as bland and boring. Instead of trying to eat a plate of raw vegetables, try adding more flavor to them. You could use things like parsley, basil, cilantro, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, scallions, or chives. These options pack a punch of flavor, without the extra sodium. Below, you will find vegetable recipes that are full of flavor. Remember, everyone with CKD has different nutrient needs. If you need a potassium restriction, please keep this in mind. Please speak with your doctor and/or dietitian before making any changes to your diet. If you are looking for recipes other people with CKD have tried, head over to the PatientsLikeMe CKD forum to share meal-planning ideas! www.patientslikeme.com/forum/ckd/topics

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