How much we eat can be as important as what we eat. But when it comes to portion sizes, it can feel like the world is working against us. Restaurant servings for one can be enough for a family to share. Even the plates we use at home have gotten bigger! When working on keeping your kidneys healthy, it adds another piece to the portion puzzle.
Luckily, you can retrain your eyes ― and your stomach ― to recognize what “enough” looks and feels like.
Balance Your Plate
A balanced plate consists of veggies and fruits, lean proteins, and carbs. It may also include a little healthy fat. Keep in mind, because you may need to limit certain nutrients like potassium, sodium, and phosphorus, it may be harder to stay within the balanced plate guidelines. That’s okay! Use it as a rough guide to help structure your meals.
Start with a 9-inch plate. If your plates are larger, simply fill your regular plates to the 9-inch mark. Try to make healthy choices for each category!
50% Fruits and Veggies (or half of your plate)
Some tasty options are asparagus, cauliflower, kale, peppers, eggplant, green beans, and cucumber, apples, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and grapes. And there are many more! Load up on your favorites — just be sure to stay within your kidney health guidelines.
Remember, if you’re eating to manage blood sugar, count starchy veggies and fruits as carbohydrates.
25% Proteins (or a quarter of your plate)
Approximately 3-6 ounces: Fish, eggs, skinless poultry, lean meat, low-fat part-skim cheese, tofu, low-sodium beans, and unsalted nuts and seeds, which are all great sources of lean protein. Incorporating plant proteins into your meals helps cut down the amount of protein you’re eating.
25% Carbs (or another quarter of your plate)
This could include ⅓-½ cup of whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats, whole wheat pasta, or an empanada, a small tortilla, or a slice of bread.
Just remember that carbs can raise your blood sugar. For people with diabetes, enjoy carbs in small portions.
Healthy Fats = Just a Bit
Enjoy small portions of nuts, or extra-virgin olive oil for a little extra flavor ― and more nutrients. If you are experiencing unintentional weight loss, adding extra healthy fats to your plate will help you consume extra needed calories.
Talk with your doctor or Livongo expert coach about how to safely include these foods in your diet.
Having a snack between meals can make you less hungry during the day. This will also keep you from eating too much at meals. The best time for a snack is when you’re actually hungry! Choose a nutritious snack that is high in fiber, like hummus with sliced cucumbers.
Perfect Portion Sizes, Any Time
Measuring food is a great way to know how much you’re really eating. But what about when you’re away from your kitchen and don’t have a food scale or measuring cups? Just use your hands!