Snacks for Diabetics & Renal Failure Patients

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Blueberries on a wooden table. (Image: Gizelka/iStock/Getty Images)

People with either renal failure or diabetes already have strict nutritional guidelines necessary for optimal health. If you have both diseases, choosing which foods to eat or avoid can be confusing. Not only must you restrict certain nutrients for kidney health, such as sodium, potassium and phosphorus, but you must also consider carbohydrate consistency for blood glucose control. A registered dietitian can help guide you toward developing a diet plan customized to meet your individualized needs.

Sweet Snacks

Several foods can be included in a renal, diabetic diet that may satisfy your sweet tooth. Fresh fruit that is low in potassium can make for a healthful option. These fruits include apples, strawberries, pineapple, grapes and plums. Top with a dollop of sugar-free whipped topping to make a dessert out of them. Sugar-free gelatin and ice pops are other sweet snack ideas, although be sure to count them toward your daily fluid intake if that is something you need to monitor. Animal crackers, vanilla wafers and graham crackers are kidney-friendly snacks that you can include in moderation but may contribute high amounts of carbohydrates if you do not control portions.

Savory Snacks

Renal patients must pay particular attention to the sodium content of their foods. Savory snacks lower in sodium include unsalted breadsticks or pretzels, air-popped popcorn seasoned with a sodium-free herb blend and Melba toast with light cream cheese. Other healthy options include cut-up fresh vegetables, such as celery sticks, cucumbers, carrots and cauliflower with a low-fat salad dressing for dipping.

Portable Snacks for Dialysis

If you are on hemodialysis, you may need a portable snack during the time-consuming process. Snacks that transport well and are appropriate on a renal, diabetic diet include a tortilla wrap with tuna or egg salad, homemade trail mix made with dried apples, dried pineapple pieces and rice and corn cereal, rice cakes or one-half of a bagel with light cream cheese.

Snacks to Avoid

Some snacks provide too many nutrients that are otherwise restricted on a diet for people with diabetic kidney disease, such as too much potassium, sodium, phosphorus or carbohydrates. If you can see particles of salt sprinkled on top of a snack food, it is generally a good idea to stay away from it. Instead, look for low-sodium or no-salt-added versions of these snacks. Chocolate, nuts and dark colas contain high levels of phosphorus. Limit these foods and opt for clear diet sodas instead. Check labels and consult with a dietitian about any foods you are unsure of.

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