Children's Hospital Colorado

Healthy Hospital Go Slow Whoa: Tips for Special Diets

Diabetic Diet

People with diabetes need to monitor their carbohydrate intake to help manage their blood glucose. When choosing carbohydrate options, choose whole grains, low-fat milk and yogurt, fruits and non-starchy vegetables. Eating protein with your carbohydrates may help lower the rise in blood sugars after meals and snacks. 

From Red to Green

Tip: Swap your lunch sides. Substitute 1 small apple, orange, or banana for your bag of potato chips for the same amount of carbs but less calories.
Tip: Try swapping a 4oz Otis Spunkmeyer muffin or 4oz Udi’s Gluten-Free plain bagel for ½ cup corn flakes, cheerios, or oatmeal for the same amount of carbs but less calories. 
Tip: Stay away from sugary beverages! Choose unsweetened tea, water, or soda water over fountain sodas and bottled sodas.

Heart Healthy Diet 

Our hearts like nutrient-rich foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber but lower in calories. Aim for a diet high in fruit and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and nuts. Limit your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol while increasing your soluble fiber intake.

Total fat should be about 25-35% of daily calories with saturated fat intake being less than 5-6% of daily calories. In order to prevent weight gain, try not to eat more calories than you can burn each day. Grab your tennis shoes and aim for at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity. 

From Red to Green

Tip: Instead of a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, cheese, and sausage, try ordering scrambled egg whites with 4oz of green chili and ½ cup pinto beans. This will cut down on fat and cholesterol while also adding fiber to your morning.
Tip: If having cereal or oatmeal, try adding a whole piece of fruit to boost the fiber content.
Tip: Try swapping a cheeseburger with fries for a grilled chicken sandwich with a side salad to cut down on fat and cholesterol and increase fiber intake. 

Low Sodium Diet

Whether you have hypertension, kidney disease, or just trying to watch your sodium intake, following a low sodium diet is a healthy choice for many of us. People on a low sodium diet may be restricted to a specific number of milligrams of salt per day. In general, aim for less than 2000 mg a day.

When trying to follow a low sodium diet, it is helpful to avoid highly processed foods, which typically contain high amounts of sodium. Instead, aim for a variety of vegetables, fruit, low-fat dairy, whole grains and nuts/seeds. 

From Red to Green

Tip: Swap your breakfast of biscuits and gravy for scrambled egg whites w/ Canadian bacon and whole fruit. Tip: Make your lunch side lower in sodium by choosing a piece of whole fruit instead of potato chips or French fries.
Tip: Choose a grilled chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread instead of a bratwurst or turkey dog. 

Renal Diet

Many people with kidney disease are advised to limit potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and/or fluids in their diets. Limiting dietary potassium can help keep blood potassium at heart-healthy levels, while limiting phosphorus aids in maintaining healthy bones. Hypertension can be controlled with a low sodium diet, which puts less strain on sick kidneys.

Fruits and vegetables tend to be high in potassium while high-protein foods tend to be high in phosphorus. Some foods, such as dairy products, whole grains, and nuts are high in both, and should be consumed only in very limited amounts. 

From Red to Green

Tip: Processed foods tend to be high in phosphorus and sodium. Replace breaded chicken fingers with grilled chicken breast on a white bun.
Tip: Skip the bacon! It’s typically very high in phosphorus preservatives and sodium. Instead, try substituting colorful bell peppers for an extra crunch!
Tip: Choosing a snack? Substitute Sun Chip or popcorn for nuts.
Tip: Looking for something sweet for the end of your meal? A sugar cookie or vanilla wafer is a delicious lower-potassium/lower-phosphorus alternative to ice cream.