Renal Diet Menus

Contributor: Elise Deming, RDN
Celery, garlic, carrots and red peppers

While there are no specific renal diet menus for kidney, or renal disease, following some basic dietary guidelines can help to slow the progression of the disease leading to an improved quality of life.

Renal Diet Menus

Renal disease requires a special diet to limit fluids and certain waste products that build up within the bloodstream between kidney dialysis. Liquid, phosphorus, potassium and sodium need to be controlled through a restricted diet to help lessen the workload on your kidneys. Along with limiting your intake of phosphorus, potassium and sodium, here a few basic guidelines while on a renal diet plan:

  • Limit liquids to 6 cups a day
  • Limit milk products to 1/2 cup a day
  • Limit vegetable servings to 2 servings a day
  • Limit fruit to 3 servings a day
  • Eat moderate amounts of carbohydrates and proteins each day

Phosphorus

Avoid nuts, beans, seeds and lentils. Other foods high in phosphorus are beef and poultry, organ meats, processed meats, dairy products like hard cheese and yogurt, fish and seafood and whole grains, such as wheat and bran. Chocolate, beer and some soft drinks, such as cola are also rich in phosphorus.

Potassium

Potassium sources are richest in fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Avoid bananas, oranges and other fruit and vegetables with rich sources of potassium, such as apricots, potatoes and raisins. Avoid nuts, beans, seeds and lentils on a low potassium diet.

Sodium

Try to eat natural low sodium foods. Avoid salt and salt substitutes rich in sodium; moreover, salted, canned and cured meats should be avoided or soaked in order to remove excess sodium. Certain soy products contain high amounts of salt, such as miso. Salted snacks, such as pretzels, canned soups and almost all processed foods, including condiments and sauces contain food additives rich in salt.

Phosphorous/Potassium Combination Foods

Foods high in both phosphorus and potassium pose the greatest risks, and are better avoided as much as possible: Chocolate, dairy products, whole grains and nuts, seeds and beans.

Fruits and Vegetables With Low Levels of Potassium

What is left to eat after the aforementioned long list of off-limit foods? Below are edible low-potassium foods to enjoy on a renal diet plan:

  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Bell Peppers
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Chili Peppers
  • Cranberries
  • Coconuts
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Green Beans
  • Lemons
  • Lettuce
  • Lime
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Papaya
  • Passion Fruit
  • Pineapples
  • Plums
  • Radish
  • Raspberries
  • Soybeans
  • Snow peas
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Zucchini

Low Phosphorous Foods

Phosphorus is one of the most abundant sources of minerals found in the human body. Many foods contain phosphorus, too. However, all vegetables and fruits are low in phosphorus. Other foodstuffs with lower levels of phosphorus include the following:

  • Biscuits
  • Coffee
  • Cream cheese
  • Cream of wheat
  • Croissants
  • Eggs
  • English muffin
  • Feta cheese
  • Fish
  • Low-salt dry cereals
  • Miracle Whip
  • Non-dairy creamers
  • Oatmeal
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Poultry
  • Rice milk
  • Sausage
  • Sherbet
  • Soft cheeses
  • Sour cream
  • Tea
  • Unsalted popcorn
  • White bread
  • White pastas
  • White Rice

Renal Diet Sample Menu

Breakfast

  • 1 poached egg
  • 1 biscuit with unsalted butter, or cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup vanilla rice milk

Lunch

  • 2 ounces chicken breast
  • 2 slices French bread with Miracle Whip
  • 1 cup tossed salad with oil, vinegar and basil
  • 2 ounces feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grapes
  • 1 cup tea with lemon

Dinner

  • 4 ounces grilled tuna steak
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1/2 cup snow peas, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots
  • 1 cup coffee with rice milk

Snack or Dessert

  • 1/2 cup lemon-lime sherbet

Additional Resources

If you are seeking recipe ideas or renal diet menus, below are some very helpful resources for eating well while living with kidney disease. Consult with your renal dietician about your medical history and dietary requirements before starting a new diet plan.

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Renal Diet Menus