A renal dietitian’s guide to smoothies

Smoothies

Who doesn’t love a smoothie? It can be overwhelming with how to build a nutritious and delicious smoothie. So here is a renal dietitian’s guide to smoothies.

They are so versatile and can be a quick, nutritious, and delicious breakfast (well really any meal), snack, or event dessert.

And smoothies can be enjoyed all year long!

You’ve probably heard that we should limit juice. So, you may be wondering, how does a smoothie differ.

Let’s break it down for you.

Pros

  • Smoothies can be a great source of fibre in our diet, unlike juices. Fibre, especially soluble fibre from fruit, helps to keep us full, control our blood sugar levels, and can help to reduce cholesterol. Smoothies keep all the fibre of their ingredients. Where with juices, we lose all this fibre in the juicing process.
  • They can be a boost of vitamins and minerals into your day.
  • The protein, carbohydrates, and fats in a smoothie can help to provide you with a balanced meal or snack. But including each of these pieces is important.
  • Smoothies can be handy if you’re on the run. They make a great grab and go meal or snack. In a time-crunch in the morning? Prepare your smoothie the night before and leave it in the fridge overnight for a grab and go option. Looking to do a bit of meal prep? You can pre-portion the vegetables and fruit for your smoothies in zip-top bags and freeze them. Just add liquid and protein and you’re good to go. 

Cons

  • Smoothies can be packed with good nutrients, but they can add up quickly.
  • They are a liquid and can lead to lower satiety. This means we may get hungry again quickly. So, aiming for a balanced smoothie with protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats can help to stop this.

So, you may be wondering, how do I make a smoothie that is nutritious and delicious? Well, let’s break it down.

How to build a kidney-friendly smoothie

  1. Choose a base – water, milk, non-dairy beverage (without phosphorus additives) are the preferred choices. Aim for 1 cup.
  2. Include up to 1/2 cup fruit – this helps to limit to one serving and keep the carbohydrate amounts in check. Choose low potassium if needed.
  3. Add your veggies – like kale, spinach, cauliflower, carrots. Again, choose low potassium if needed. These ½ cup of veggies help to add fibre to keep you full.
  4. Pack in a little protein to keep you full like 1 TBSP peanut butter, nuts or seeds. You don’t need to add a protein powder. With kidney disease, we want to limit how much protein. Generally, aim for about 7-10 g protein per meal, which you can easily get from 2 TBSP peanut butter.
  5. Add some extra flavour like ginger, cinnamon, oatmeal. The world is your oyster!
  6. Look for extra fibre like chia seeds, psyllium fibre, sunflower seeds if needed.

When making smoothies your blender is important. While there are so many out there on the market, let’s leave it to the experts to review. Here is a great post by HGTV about different blenders.

Want to learn more about Emily? Learn more here.

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