Maintaining a balanced diet is important for everyone, but it is even more crucial for people with chronic kidney disease. Cooking in your home kitchen and preparing food from scratch is a great way to help you eat right. The following tips will help you eat healthier as you manage your CKD. Always work with your dietician to choose the right foods for you, as each person requires different levels of nutrients.   

Choose & Prepare Foods With Less Salt & Sodium

Reason: It helps control your blood pressure. Your diet should include no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day.
  • Buy fresh food more often. Sodium is added to many packaged foods.
  • Use spices, herbs, and sodium-free seasonings in place of salt.
  • Check the Nutrition Facts label on food packages for sodium. A Daily Value of 20% or more means the food is high in sodium.
  • Try lower-sodium versions of frozen dinners and other convenience foods.
  • Rinse canned vegetables, beans, meats, and fish with water before eating.

Eat The Right Amount & The Right Types of Protein

Reason: To help protect your kidneys.
  • Eat small portions of protein foods. A good way to control your portions is to “meal-prep” or to prepare your meals in advance using Tupperware and a scale to measure the weight of each ingredient.
  • Protein is found in foods from plants and animals. Talk to your dietician about how to choose the right combination for you.
  • Animal-protein foods include chicken, fish, meat, eggs, and dairy.
  • Plant-protein foods include beans, nuts, and grains.

Choose Foods That Are Healthy For Your Heart

Reason: To help keep fat from building up in your blood vessels, heart, and kidneys.
  • Grill, broil, bake, roast, or stir-fry foods, and avoid deep-frying.
  • Cook with nonstick cooking spray or a small amount of olive oil instead of butter.
  • Trim fat from meat and remove skin from poultry before eating.
  • Heart-healthy foods include lean cuts of meat, like loin or round, poultry without the skin, fish, beans, veggies, fruits, low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese.

Choose Foods With Less Phosphorous

As your kidneys slow down, you may be instructed to eat foods that are lower in phosphorous and potassium. Your health care provider will use lab tests to watch your levels.   Reason: To help protect your bones and blood vessels.
  • Many packaged foods have added phosphorous so it’s best to avoid packaged foods in general. If you are going to consume a packaged food, look for phosphorous—or for words with PHOS—on ingredient labels.
  • Deli meats and some fresh meat and poultry can have added phosphorous. Ask the butcher to help you pick fresh meats without added phosphorous.
  Foods lower in phosphorous include:
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Breads, pasta, and rice
  • Rice milk (not enriched)
  • Corn and rice cereals
  • Light-colored sodas
  Foods higher in phosphorous include:
  • Meat, poultry, fish
  • Bran cereals and oatmeal
  • Dairy foods
  • Beans, lentils, nuts
  • Colas

Choose Foods That Have The Right Amount Of Potassium

Reason: To help your nerves and muscles function properly.
  • Salt substitutes can be very high in potassium, always read the ingredient label. Check with your provider about using salt substitutes.
  • Drain canned fruits and veggies before eating.
  Foods lower in potassium include:
  • Apples, peaches
  • Carrots, green beans
  • White bread and pasta
  • White rice
  • Rice milk (not enriched)
  • Cooked rice and wheat cereals, grits
  Foods higher in potassium include:
  • Oranges, bananas
  • Potatoes, tomatoes
  • Brown and wild rice
  • Bran cereals
  • Dairy foods
  • Whole wheat bread and pasta
  • Beans and nuts