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Ask the Dietitian: How can I set my child up for success at school?

Question:

My child has kidney disease and is going back to school soon. I’m concerned about my child eating the right food and taking their binders at school. Do you have any tips or suggestions?


Answer:

Navigating the school cafeteria can be tricky for most kids especially those living with chronic kidney disease. In addition to the food options and making sure they fit the diet prescription, there is the social element and wanting to fit in with peers. If you have access to a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) who specializes in kidney disease you can work with them to create a plan. This may include reviewing the cafeteria menu and selecting appropriate options, providing sack lunch options and snack options, and discussing ways to engage with the school to make sure the diet and medication management are a part of the child’s educational plan. If you do not have access to an RDN, you can still review the cafeteria menu in advance with your child and discuss which foods are good to choose. You can supplement some of the foods offered with some kidney-friendly snacks from home. Discuss with your child and the school how to best manage taking the phosphorus binder. It may be that the medication is kept with the school nurse and the child will see the nurse after lunch to take their binder. With the right plan your child will be set-up for successful meals when at school.


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