Protein is important to help us fight infections and build muscle. We need to eat protein from plant or animal sources to help keep us healthy. But when we have CKD, we want to limit our protein amounts to help preserve kidney function, so what about protein bars and CKD? Can these be included?
For those on dialysis protein is even more important and we need to increase our protein. Not eating enough protein on dialysis or limiting protein too much with CKD can cause muscle break down. So, let’s take a look at the best protein bars and CKD.
Why do we need protein?
Protein comes in a variety of forms, but at the end of the day it contains amino acids. And your body can’t produce amino acids, so that is why you need to get it from our food. If you do not eat enough protein you may:
- Feel tired or have lack of energy
- Have weight loss
- Experience muscle wasting
- Increased risk of infections
Sources of protein
We can get protein from plant or animal sources.
- Soy like tofu, edamame
- Beans or legumes like chickpeas, lentils, black or kidney beans
- Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP)
- Dairy products like cheese, yogurt, or milk
How much do I need?
A serving of protein is about the size of a deck of cards, so about 2.5 – 3.0 oz for animal protein or ½ – ¾ cup or about the size of a fist for plant proteins. Your kidney dietitian can help you determine how much protein you need. Your hands are a great tool for measuring portion sizes, they are with you at all meals and are a consistent size. This resource from UnlockFood.ca is a great reference for portion sizes using your hands.
Protein bars and CKD
With CKD, we want to follow a low protein diet, but I often get asked what are some easy protein bars to help when unable to stop for a meal. Pairing half a protein bar with some fruit or veggies can be a quick snack if needed. So, here are some examples of protein bars that can fit the bill.
Quest Bar: Lemon Cake, Blueberry Muffin
Simply Protein: Lemon Coconut, Cinnamon Pecan
OneBar: Birthday Cake, Blueberry, Cinnamon Roll
When looking for a protein bar, consider these things:
- Less than 8% sodium
- No phosphorus additives
- Less than 100 mg potassium
Do you have questions about protein and your diet?
Do you need some support with planning nutritious and delicious meals? Well, Emily offers personalized meal planning and grocery shopping lists to help support you on your kidney nutrition journey and building your confidence with managing your nutrition needs. Connect with Emily here.
Want to learn more about Emily? Learn more here.