Books to Help You With Pre-Dialysis Meal Planning Basics

pre-dialysis meal planning basics
Great Pre-Dialysis Cookbook!

For kidney patients dealing with end stage renal disease and the impending probability of dialysis, it can be a daunting prospect. It can be hard to know what is coming next, or how to deal with the restrictions your doctors or nutritionist recommend. It can even be tough to know what questions to ask to get started.

One of the biggest questions a lot of renal patients have is what they are and are not supposed to eat. There are so many restrictions for dialysis patients, especially for those getting ready for or already undergoing dialysis. With such long lists on what not to eat, it can be hard to figure out what you can eat.

Learning to eat around so many restrictions also brings up another issue. How exactly do you build meal plans based on these new recommendations for eating? How do you get started learning all new recipes and a new way of cooking?

Luckily, there are books available to teach you pre-dialysis meal planning basics. These books come recommended by doctors, nutritionists, and specialty health websites.

Davita Cooking Collections

The Davita website, which is a website devoted to education and information about kidney disease and kidney failure, has free downloadable cookbooks on their websites. They also have over 800 kidney friendly recipes, many of which are deemed appropriate for pre-dialysis as well. Each recipe is clearly marked as to what state of renal disease the recipe is safe for.


The Kidney Friendly Diet Cookbook: Recipes For A Pre-Dialysis Kidney Disease Lifestyle

This easy to follow and informative cookbook was written by a registered dietician. People who have tried these recipes have remarked that the recipes were easy to follow and were enjoyable. Most recipes are “family friendly” and are geared towards cooking for multiple people, but easily broken down for one or two people.

Cooking For David: A Culinary Dialysis Cookbook

This book is great for those people that loved cooking before being on a pre-dialysis diet, and would like to continue to love cooking. It focuses a lot on foods that you can eat instead of what you can’t. This is because this book was inspired by someone that the author used to cook for. She felt awful that all of her recipes would come out so bland and boring after omitting all of the salt and other ingredients that weren’t kidney safe. So she set to work testing hundreds of recipes, 160 of which made it into this book.

There are so many resources available for pre-dialysis patients everywhere to learn about meal planning and recipes. The internet is a great place to find resources and Amazon is an easy way to find books. You can find so many easy to follow and delicious recipes and meal plans, making meal planning the easiest part of dialysis. Remember to speak to your doctor if you have any questions about your diet, or if you plan on making changes to your diet. Your physician and/or nutritionist is always the best person to make recommendations or approve changes for you.

For more resources check out my other blog posts.

I love hearing from you about what you think and questions you have.  Please post a comment with any questions or comments about pre-dialysis meal planning basics!

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. [Read more…]

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. [Read more…]

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.

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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