By: Kellsey Reed RDN, LDN, PatientsLikeMe Contributor
When it comes to making breakfast with CKD, there are so many options! Cereal, toast, pancakes, waffles, smoothies, eggs, the list goes on and on. One of the most important things to keep in mind when making breakfast with CKD is to balance out your meal for better blood sugar control and satiety.
The key to making a balanced breakfast for CKD is to include some protein, fat, carbs, and fiber. This makes for a nourishing, well-balanced meal. Studies show that when combining carbohydrate-rich foods with protein, fat, and fiber-rich foods, blood sugars are better controlled. It has also been shown that this combination leads to more feelings of fullness and satisfaction after eating. Let’s think about it. If you eat two pieces of toast for breakfast, you are likely going to be hungry an hour later. If you eat two pieces of toast with a veggie omelet, you will likely be full for a few hours.
Let’s break it down even further:
Managing protein with CKD can be tough. Protein is essential for a well-balanced and nourishing diet, even with chronic kidney disease. Protein helps to keep you full and satisfied, and it helps to balance blood sugars. With that being said, it’s important to not have too much protein when you have CKD. Typically, a low to moderate protein diet of 0.6-0.8gm protein/kg of body weight is recommended for CKD (1). For the general population without CKD, the recommendation is typically 0.8-1.0gm protein/kg of body weight. This varies from person to person, so it’s important to work with a kidney dietitian to make sure you are getting the right amount for your body. Excess protein has been shown to put stress on the kidneys by increasing hyperfiltration and leading to further progression of CKD (1). A plant-based diet has been shown to be beneficial for managing CKD so it can also be helpful to have plant-based sources of protein as opposed to animal-based sources of protein.
For breakfast, try being mindful of how much protein you are having. If you usually have 4 eggs, try having 2 eggs instead and adding some carbs, fat, and fiber along with your eggs for a balanced meal. You could also try having a tofu scramble instead of an egg scramble for a more plant-based option.
Protein sources for breakfast:
- Beans or lentils
- Nuts and nut butters
Fat often gets a bad rap because many people think fat is unhealthy. It is actually quite the contrary! Fat is an essential macronutrient and helps to keep us full and satisfied and helps us to better absorb some vitamins. Without fat in our meals and snacks, we would likely feel more hunger more often. We might not absorb some vitamins as well either. When choosing fats to have in your meals, try choosing fats that are unsaturated. Unsaturated fats are often more heart-healthy and can help to manage your cholesterol better (3). It can be as simple as cooking your tofu or eggs with avocado oil or adding some avocado slices to your toast.
Fat sources for breakfast:
- Nuts and nut butters
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
Low carbohydrate diets are not typically recommended for those with CKD, contrary to popular belief. We actually need carbohydrates to help us have adequate energy in our bodies and brain to function. It’s important to have some carbohydrates in your meals to ensure that you are getting enough nutrition and energy throughout the day.
When choosing carbohydrates for your breakfast, aim for fiber-rich carbohydrates like whole grains. Whole grains have been shown to be more beneficial than refined white products because they have more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. For example, instead of choosing white bread or a high-sugar cereal for your carbohydrates for breakfast, try choosing a whole-grain bread or a lower-sugar and higher-fiber cereal.
Carbohydrate sources for breakfast:
- Whole grain bread
- Whole grain crackers
- Whole grain pancakes or waffles
- Cereal (I like to recommend Kashi brand cereal because they are often higher in fiber and lower in sugar than most cereals)
- Granola (I like to recommend KIND blueberry granola because it’s lower in added sugars than most granolas)
Studies show that high fiber diets can actually help to slow the progression of CKD (4). This goes to show that the more fiber, the better! Start out your day with a high fiber breakfast. To add more fiber to your breakfast, try adding in fruits, veggies, nuts/seeds, or whole grains.
Fiber sources for breakfast:
- Fruits and veggies
- Nuts and nut butters
- Psyllium husk
- Whole grains
Breakfast ideas for CKD
When it comes to making a balanced breakfast for CKD, try aiming for some protein, carbs, fat, and fiber in your breakfast. This will help keep you full for hours and it will help to balance your blood sugars better. Check out these examples below for balanced breakfast ideas.
- Veggie egg scramble with avocado slices and fruit
- Oatmeal with flax seeds, chia seeds, and peanut butter
- Whole grain almond butter pancakes
- Avocado toast topped with arugula and cucumbers with a scrambled egg
- Smoothie with kale, walnuts, berries, and chia seeds
- “Carrot cake” oatmeal with carrots, pecans, flax seeds, and soy milk
- Omelet with veggies and avocado with whole grain toast
- Dairy-free yogurt with nuts, seeds, and fruit (I like to recommend Forager project cashew yogurt because it’s lower in protein than greek yogurt)