Kidney Friendly Smoothies

Kidney Friendly Smoothie

You’ve heard the word smoothie before. But what exactly is a smoothie? Well let’s dive in. A smoothie is a beverage that is made by pureeing ingredients in a blender. These ingredients are typically various fruits, vegetables, yogurt, liquids (like fruit juices, dairy or non-dairy milk or water), nuts and/or seeds. And you can still enjoy kidney friendly smoothies.

Smoothie versus juice – how do they differ?

Although both smoothies’ and juices’ primary ingredients are fruits and vegetables, juices consist of fruit and vegetable extracts, whereas smoothies are purees of fruits and or vegetables amongst other ingredients. 

Basically the biggest difference is the fibre. When you extract the fibre you may be missing a big nutrient.

Nutrition considerations

Although both smoothies and juices contain the same micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) but there are a few major nutritional differences between the two:

  • Fibre content – Smoothies will have a much higher fibre content than juices will because the fruit pulps, which are rich in fibre, will not be left behind like they are during juice extraction.
  • Protein content – Smoothies allow for the inclusion of protein sources such as yogurt, milk, and nuts which are not traditionally included in juices. But. withCKD you may be following a low protein diet.

The best ways to enjoy kidney friendly smoothies

Smoothies can be included anytime of the day. But here are two of the quickest ways to get some extra nutrients into your day.

  1. Kidney friendly smoothie for breakfast – Smoothies can make a great breakfast as long as a balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein are included. For some more balanced breakfast ideas check out this post.
  2. Snack – Smoothies can be a great midday snack at work to get your fruits and vegetables in. They are also very refreshing and also a great option for a post-workout snack, or a snack on a hot summer day.

Smoothie storage tips

One of the great things about smoothies is that they can be prepared in advance to grab when in a rush. There are a few different ways to do this! 

  1. If you want your smoothie ready to go, you can put all the ingredients either directly into the blender cup or some other container and blend in the morning. You can also blend it the night before and store in the fridge until morning. If you do prep it the night before you may notice a brown colour. This is called enzymatic browning and does not make it unsafe for consumption but it can reduce nutrient content. To prevent this, store in airtight containers. 
  2. If you prefer using frozen fruits, which will make your smoothies have a thicker texture, you can cut or buy pre cut frozen fruits and then put the desired amount of each fruit for one smoothie into containers or bags and store in the freezer until ready to be used. 

Smoothie preparation tips

  • If you find your smoothies are too thick and not blending well add a little bit of water or other liquid to help thin in it.
  • If you have leftover smoothie, store in an airtight container to maintain freshness and enjoy later on.

How to build a kidney friendly smoothie

When making a kidney friendly smoothie it is important to not include too much potassium, sodium, and phosphorus content, in addition to keeping protein levels relatively low. Read this post here for tips on building a kidney friendly smoothie. Although we want to make sure we limit the micronutrient levels listed above, we want to make sure to include other important micronutrients like iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, and vitamin B9 (folate).

Kidney friendly smoothie additions:

Here are some kidney friendly and micronutrient filled fruits and vegetables for your smoothies:

  • Kale – is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, Iron, and vitamin B9 while having minimal sodium (11 mg/cup), minimal phosphorus (11 mg/cup), and low potassium (73 mg/cup)
  • Blueberries – have significant amounts of vitamin K, vitamin C and manganese while having very minimal sodium, phosphorus, and potassium (118 mg/cup) content
  • Strawberries- are rich in vitamin C, folate and vitamin A while having very low sodium levels, low phosphorus levels (36.5 mg/cup), and low levels of potassium (232 mg/cup)
  • Blackberries- are rich in vitamin C, folate, vitamin K, manganese, magnesium and has very minimal sodium, low phosphorus (32mg/cup), and low level of potassium content (233 mg/cup)
  • Spinach- has significant iron content, vitamin K, folate, vitamin A while having minimal sodium, low phosphorus (16 mg/cup), and low potassium levels (177 mg/cup) when raw

Tips and tricks for adding calories to smoothies

Smoothies can be a great supplement in our diet if we are struggling with unwanted weight loss from chronic kidney disease. Try these tips and tricks for adding a boost of nutrition to your smoothies.

  • Olive oil- 1 TBSP of olive oil will add 120 calories to your smoothie while also adding healthy fats
  • Unsalted almond butter- while only having 3 g of protein, no sodium, low potassium and relatively low phosphorus, it will add 100 calories to your smoothie
  • Mango- 1 cup of mango will add 100 calories to your smoothies, has no sodium, higher potassium content and low phosphorus

Does Today’s Article Speak To Your Struggles?

If you’re looking to feel empowered and supported with your nutrition needs, working with a dietitian can help you gain confidence and understand your kidney-friendly diet.

Want to work together? Connect with Kidney Nutrition here.

Want to learn more about Emily? Learn more here.

This article was written by Rachel Rosenberg, Nutrition Student Volunteer.
This article was reviewed by Emily Campbell, RD CDE MScFN.

4 thoughts on “Kidney Friendly Smoothies”

  1. Great article on smoothies! I love smoothies and I’m excited that it is now in season! I’m going to try a different variation of adding protein to my smoothies, like hemp protein powder, pb powder and silken tofu. I’m going to try apricot smoothie! Yum!

  2. Does blending fruit for a smoothie turn the fruit to added sugars as opposed to remaining a free sugar if come consumed whole? Thus fruit in a smoothie is not a healthy choice due to high sugar content.

    1. Great question! It does not turn it into added sugars. Smoothies can be a healthy choice. We just want to be aware of what we add to them. Often we put a lot more fruit than needed. But with smoothies compared to juices you still have the added fibre benefit.

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