Low Phosphorus Diet

Know Your Phosphorus Levels: What To Eat?

When you are living with chronic kidney disease or renal failure, there are certain guidelines and dietary restrictions that you need to follow. Often, knowing what you can eat is tough to discern through all of the many restrictions.


You can actually find plenty of options to eat despite all of the restrictions if you know what to look for. Most renal patients know that they need to monitor and avoid sodium, but there are other things to look out for as well. For example: potassium, and the lesser known phosphorus.

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Finding Lower Phosphorus Meats

Lower phosphorus meatIf you have kidney disease, whether early or advanced stage, you have to be careful what you eat. One of the main functions of your kidneys is to filter out waste and extra material such as salt and phosphorus. If your kidneys do not function properly, you will need to limit foods that are high in sodium and phosphorus.

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Eating Out for Renal Patients

Eating Out for Renal Patients

Eating Out for Renal PatientsWhile you face plenty of dietary challenges, eating out for renal patients doesn’t have to be one of those challenges. With a little advanced planning and careful attention to detail you can enjoy a great meal even if you’re out on the town. Eating out for renal patients doesn’t have to be a huge challenge if you follow this excellent advice.


Select Your Restaurant Wisely


It’s important to choose restaurants that offer food that’s made to order. These are the facilities most accustomed to special requests and most likely to accommodate your requests to make eating out for renal patients much easier. If you have advanced notice, you can even call ahead of time to discuss menu options with the manager and explain your situation. For people who are sensitive about discussing medical conditions among family and friends this is an excellent option to consider.

Special requests you may consider include asking for salad dressing and/or gravy and sauce on the side or asking for no salt or butter on grilled, baked, or broiled dishes. Getting burgers without cheese and avoiding MSG in Asian dishes. These are crucial when eating out for renal patients as they may not only put you over the limit for phosphorous, sodium, or potassium for the day, but are sure to make you thirsty.

Ask Questions before Ordering


Your server should be able to answer any menu questions you have. At the very least, your server should be able to find out the information for you. Your server’s job, after all, is to make eating out for renal patients, or anyone else, as simple and enjoyable as possible.

Order Drinks in Kid’s Cups


These cups are small and won’t leave you tempted to drink too much during your lunch. Also, knowing that you have such a limited amount will help you ration your drink throughout the meal. The last thing you want is to be so careful when ordering your food is to be undone by drinking too much when eating out. For renal patients it’s really hard to leave liquid in a glass so don’t give yourself the temptation.

Practice Proper Portion Control


eating out for renal patientsMost restaurants are not accustomed to cooking for people in renal failure. While this can be a challenge when it comes to eating out for renal patients, if you pay attention to portions and bring home what’s left for a future meal you shouldn’t have too much trouble staying on track even with super-sized portions. If taking it home is a problem, consider sharing a plate with someone else at the table or asking your server to remove what you will not be eating immediately so that you’re not tempted to overindulge when eating out for renal patients.  Check out this portion control tool!

Eat Dessert First


You’re faced with so many restrictions while eating out for renal patients. Don’t wait to the end of the meal and hope you have room. Take the bull by the horns and eat dessert first. It’s not something you want to do at every meal, but eating out is generally a special occasion. Make the most of it and celebrate. It’s a great way to feel exciting about your eating out without being weighted down with fears or concerns over restrictions.

Little things like this make eating out for renal patients a pleasure rather than a pain. This will add years to the life you have remaining as well as the life you have remaining in those years.

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Renal Diet Restrictions Predialysis

Renal diet restrictions predialysis- What it is all about?

Renal diet restrictions predialysisProgression of the renal disease is tough to understand because it doesn’t hurt – that means you do not have pain once the kidneys are broken. But the damage is done every day when you have issues like diabetes or high blood pressure and you do not get them in check. There are many renal diet restrictions predialysis that must be followed by people suffering with chronic kidney disease. Here are some of them:

Sodium Limitations

Everyone with renal disease should follow renal diet restrictions predialysis and limit their sodium intake to 2,000 mg per day. It will likely be a difficult number to achieve, and you will need to make much more meals at home to get it done.

Sodium is common and it’s not just the sodium that you add to your meals. Sodium found in numerous products, especially in processed foods. It is advisable to eliminate all the additional salt from your diet plan to reduce blood pressure as well as save the renal system. Read the labels on all salt based items to find out how much you can healthily afford to have.

Potassium Restrictions

For a person following renal diet restrictions predialysis, it is important to limit the amount of potassium he eats. In the initial stages of the disease, your renal system may have no problem in handling the amount of potassium that you throw at them. But as you advance within kidney disease, it is necessary to reduce the amount of potassium you consume.

Potassium is a nutrient that controls muscle and nerve function. One most important muscle — the heart – beats at a constant speed because of potassium. Apart from that, potassium is needed to preserve the fluid and electrolyte balance in the body.

For the potassium to perform these functions effectively, blood potassium levels must be kept at between 3.5 and 5.5 mEq/l. The kidneys help keep blood potassium at these levels. Potassium levels which are too high or too low can be dangerous. Your physician will do a blood assessment and tell you if you should reduce the amount of blood potassium in your diet. It’s mostly people with chronic kidney disease who need to check on their potassium.

Phosphorus Limitations

Kidneys help manage the level of phosphorus in our body. If there is a problem in the renal system, eventually you will likely have elevated phosphorus (hyperphosphatemia). In turn increased phosphorus levels decrease the level of calcium in the blood, which causes bone disease.

Often 800-1000 milligrams (mg) phosphorus per day is the limit for somebody following renal diet restrictions predialysis. You should discuss with your physician what amount of phosphorus to have, and then try to reduce the phosphorous intake by lowering the high phosphorus meals that you eat.

Reduce your consumption of protein

Right now you may be like most people who fill half of their plate with chicken, meat or fish. This is too much of protein for an average person, and if you have a kidney disease, it is really an excessive amount. 2-3 ounces of meat are enough for a person to fulfill his/her daily protein requirements. It is enough for an individual to maintain their health.

For example, if you were to have 60 grams of protein for the day, you could eat it as 10 gm for breakfast, 25 gm for lunch and 25 gm for supper. That would be about 1 egg at breakfast and 3 ounces of meat at each of the other meals. It does not sound like much, but you have plenty of other items on your plate.

Following renal diet restrictions for predialysis takes a little work, and I have tried to make it as easy as possible. The goal of this diet is to lower the protein and sodium that you eat to allow your kidneys to continue to do their job in your body. 

Go to our renal diet meal plans here


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What to Eat When Potassium Levels are High.

Potassium levels to highWhat to Eat When Potassium Levels are High.

Do you know what to eat when potassium levels are high? Most people adjusting to low potassium diets have a hard time understanding which foods are good for them to eat when their potassium levels start to rise. Many foods that are generally good for the average person suddenly have sinister repercussions. If you’re one of the many facing renal failure and turning to a low potassium lifestyle as a result, this should answer some of your questions about what to eat when potassium levels are high.


Surprising Foods that are High in Potassium

From the start, it’s important to identify the foods you shouldn’t eat if lower potassium is your nutrition goal. Many foods that have been good for you most of your life, are suddenly not so wise to eat. Instead of figuring out what to eat when potassium levels are high from the beginning, it’s a good idea to figure out why your potassium levels are high in the first place.

Certain fruits and vegetables, for instance, are suddenly off the menu when you begin following a low potassium diet. The following fruits, and their juices, are very high in potassium:

  • ·         Bananas
  • ·         Melons
  • ·         Prunes
  • ·         Papayas
  • ·         Mangos
  • ·         Nectarines
  • ·         Oranges
  • ·         Pears
  • ·         Avocados
  • ·         Dates
  • ·         Figs

There are other fruits that are high in potassium. These are a few of the primary culprits however and a good to avoid.

There are plenty of vegetables on the list as well. While leafy greens are almost always good dietary choices, this isn’t the case when you’re avoiding potassium. This includes kale, turnips, spinach, mustard greens, and chard. Additionally, beans are a big no-no meaning you shouldn’t eat black beans, kidney beans, lima beans, or any other beans. Pumpkins, tomatoes (including juices, sauces, etc.), and squash are on the chopping block too as they contain more potassium than is safe for you to consume.

Here’s What to Eat When Potassium Levels are High

These are a few of the foods that fit under the category of “what to eat when potassium levels are high.” They’re good choices because of their low levels of potassium and you can have them on the menu far more often than alternatives.

Apples, cranberries, grapes, blueberries, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, and more are great fruits to have handy when your sweet tooth attacks as they are lower in potassium than other fruit options.

Great vegetables that make the great for what to eat when potassium levels are high include peppers, radish, lettuce, cucumbers, corn, cabbage, green beans, and celery.

Aside from fruits and vegetables there are other foods choices to consider when exploring what to eat when potassium levels are high. They include bread, nondairy creamers, rice, and pasta.

In addition to asking what to eat when potassium levels are high, you should also find out how to avoid getting your potassium levels so high in the first place. Common sense things like eating foods that are low in potassium and avoiding those that are high in potassium isn’t always enough. You should also practice moderation when eating any foods and go for variety when exploring your menu options.

Get more information on our diet plans for when your potassium levels are high by clicking here.




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Holiday Eating on a Renal Diet

It’s The Holidays!

It’s almost time for the big Turkey Day – Thanksgiving, and many people with kidney disease have been left to wonder what to eat on this holiday.  It probably feels difficult to follow a low protein, or low potassium or low anything type diet on the day that is the poster child for overeating!  Never fear, let me make your day a little easier.

Main Course

You can enjoy the main course – turkey!  It is low in fat (without the skin) and healthy.  Just make sure if you are on a low protein diet that you eat about 3-4 ounces which usually looks about the size of a deck of cards.  Add a little gravy and you are set with this yummy entrée.  If you are on dialysis, you can eat more protein since your diet requires higher levels of protein.  So, eat turkey accordingly.  PS – you can make low sodium broth for use later with the bones.  If you don’t want to make a large bird for the day, try roasted chicken or a smaller turkey breast. 

For gravy, make it from pan drippings and thicken with flour or cornstarch to keep the sodium content low.  Gravy is low in potassium and phosphorus, but packaged gravy is high in sodium.  Watch out, though, pan drippings contain a lot of fat – you need some for the gravy but use caution.  Cranberry sauce is something you can eat – it’s low in potassium and phosphorus and can add a little sweetness to your meal.

Side Dishes for a Healthy Renal Diet

Now, the rest of the food is possibly higher in potassium, but you can work around this.  Balance is the key.  Many people want the candied sweet potatoes, but they are high in potassium.  So eat a small amount of those with a larger portion of green beans.  Green beans are low in potassium and make a delicious choice.  You can take it one step further by leaching the sweet potatoes before cooking.  That way they have less potassium before they ever get cooked.

Start out by peeling the sweet potatoes, cut them into thin slices, and soak for about 4 hours in warm water.  Once you have soaked them, you drain the water and add fresh water to cook them.  Making them candied with some brown sugar or honey and margarine doesn’t add potassium.  Watch out for the amount added if you are a diabetic and need to watch your carbohydrate exchanges.  You could also choose candied or glazed carrots – we have a recipe in this newsletter.

To make a sweet potato casserole for diabetics, you can layer the pre-soaked boiled sweet potato rings with apple rings, add a little dot of margarine over the tops and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Then you can scoop out what you like – you can bake it for a little bit if the apple is not soft enough.

Most of the time, with turkey comes stuffing.  Find out if it was made from scratch or from a box.  Unfortunately, most people take the short cut and it can be high in sodium.  The good news is that it’s probably fine for potassium and phosphorus levels.  Check out a box of Stove Top® stuffing at the grocery store next time and see how much sodium it contains.  If you are in charge, see about making it from scratch and eliminating the seasonings that contain salt.  If you want to add flavor, add celery, mushrooms and carrots – they are low potassium.  And low sodium broth or stock to decrease the added salt.  If you eat the stuffing, skip the breads and rolls.  It’s easy to overeat – and almost everything has sodium.

Your Favorite Part of the Meal – Dessert!

Now it is time for dessert.  The sweet potato pie has the same caution as the sweet potato casserole – it’s really one or the other.  So eat a small slice if you must have both.  Pecan pie is high in phosphorus so just a dab of it as well if you want some.  Low potassium and phosphorus pies are apple and cranberry pies.  While you still need to watch your overall calories if you are a diabetic, they are a good choice.  If you are going to someone’s house, bring one along so you can have a dessert.

You probably are going to eat a larger meal than normal on this day – adjust the amount of your insulin and phosphorus binders appropriately to keep this meal from wreaking havoc on your body.  Other things you can do that day to help make sure you don’t overdo it too much are to eat puffed rice or cream of wheat cereal for breakfast – and eating low potassium fruit with it (if you eat fruit with breakfast).  You might even use non-dairy creamer to lower the potassium even further. 

What to Do With Leftovers

For the other meal of your day, you can have a light turkey sandwich if you aren’t burned out on it.  Otherwise, think about another bowl of cereal or a small hamburger.  Eat that with low potassium vegetables and you should have a great Thanksgiving Day.  Remember that the day is meant to be spent together with others (not shopping like the retail outlets would like us to believe) so most of all, enjoy your company on that day.

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