Blog post

Why home-cooked meals are building blocks for your health

FamilyCook Productions explains why cooking at home is an important step in caring for your health - and keeping your meals interesting and delicious!
Two homemade corn tortillas on a cutting board

When you have kidney disease, what you eat and drink plays a big role in your health. Understanding and following a kidney-friendly food and fluid plan every day can feel like a full-time job. Many people with kidney disease look at the long list of foods that they have been told to avoid or reduce and just stop eating them completely. As a result, they stick to a lot of the same, safe recipes and meals from week to week. Not surprisingly, meals become less enjoyable, driving people to buy pre-packaged foods at supermarkets rather than cooking.

Nearly every prepared food you buy — even the ones on your list of safe foods — likely comes with additives, including phosphorus and sodium, which you have likely been told to watch if you have kidney disease. Unlike buying processed food at the grocery store, preparing your own meals allows you to control your ingredients and add loads of delicious flavors to your dishes, without having a negative impact on your health.

Take commercial corn tortillas, for example. The ingredient list on the label often includes phosphoric acid, a phosphorus additive that allows the tortillas to be stored on the supermarket shelf for longer — for the manufacturer's benefit, not yours. Your body absorbs nearly 100% of this added phosphorus. When you eat phosphorus that is not added artificially, though, your body only absorbs between 40-60%. The more processed and packaged the food — bread, tortillas, sodas and bottled drinks, cereals, crackers, meats, frozen meals and highly processed cheeses — the more likely it is to contain added phosphates, sodium and other unnecessary additives.

We at FamilyCook Productions have been contributing delicious recipes to Kidney Kitchen® since the American Kidney Fund launched it in 2019. We have a deep understanding of food and behavior from our many years of work in culinary nutrition, and because of that, we understand how experiences with food — good and bad — directly affect someone's desire to eat or prepare meals. While you may be hesitant to make corn tortillas at home from scratch, it is actually easier, more enjoyable and healthier than you may think! Check out our recipe for corn tortillas with a cooking demo video on Kidney Kitchen!

You can use the Find Recipes search on Kidney Kitchen to find nearly 700 kidney-friendly recipes, or browse through our FamilyCook Productions Kidney Kitchen collection for more of our recipes, including our homemade bread, crepes with passion fruit, tomato sauce, creme fraiche and popcorn raisin balls. All of these recipes are free from added phosphorus, sodium and other unnecessary ingredients.

At FamilyCook Productions, we believe home-cooked meals are building blocks for your health. They are what our ancestors relied on for centuries and what our bodies were designed to eat. They are also cheaper. Your health, taste buds and wallet will thank you for making them! 


FamilyCook Productions

FamilyCook Productions is a national leader in teaching kitchen programming for obesity prevention and treatment, offering turn-key programming to hundreds of schools, community organizations, public health departments, SNAP-Ed providers and hospitals across the U.S. The organization was founded by award-winning culinary author-educator, Lynn Fredericks, author of Cooking Time is Family Time (1999) and, with FamilyCook’s longtime dietitian, Mercedes Sanchez, Get Your Family Eating Right(2013). Fredericks and Sanchez devise a range of flavorful, easy-to-prepare, international recipes for the American Kidney Fund’s Kidney Kitchen®.