You Hungry? 4 Ways Dialysis Can Impact Appetite

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When you no longer have functioning kidneys and rely on dialysis treatments to do the work, it can have an impact on your appetite. You might lose interest in eating, or start skipping meals. But you need the right mix of calories and macronutrients to stay healthy.

Here are 4 tips for dialysis patients experiencing a loss of appetite:

1. 'I'm Not Hungry'

You need calories, vitamins, nutrients, and healthy food to survive. Create a plan to eat small snack-sized meals four to six times a day. Pick foods high in protein like eggs, beef, fish, and poultry. Making it to all your dialysis treatment appointments will help, too.

2. 'Nothing Tastes Good'

You might be tempted to reach for the salt-shaker, but don’t do that. When you’re on dialysis, it’s important to avoid or limit sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. So how do you adapt if food tastes weird or doesn’t have any flavor at all?

Salt-free or low-sodium marinated fish, chicken, and beef can give your tastebuds a wake-up call (try the Honey BBQ Chicken Breast Patty with Broccoli & Sweet Potatoes). So can salt-free herbs and spices. Brushing your teeth and rinsing with mouthwash a couple times a day can help, too.

3. 'One Bite and I'm Already Full'

Maybe you used to enjoy big meals. Your appetite can change when you’re on dialysis. If you tend to feel full fast, eat snack-sized meals more often throughout the day. Stick with foods high in protein, like beef, poultry, eggs, and fish. You’ll find lots of renal diet foods on the dialysis-friendly menu.

Take your time to chew and enjoy your food. Avoid foods high in fat, fried in oil, or drenched in sauces. And drink water or low-calorie beverages between meals, instead of with food.

4. 'I'm Too Tired to Eat'

Do your best. Sometimes dialysis treatments can leave you feeling tired or exhausted. Plan ahead, and stock up on easy-to-make meals. Pick your favorites from the menu (all made from fresh ingredients), and you can literally have a meal ready in minutes. Making sure you get adequate sleep will also help reduce feeling tired or fatigued.