Healthy Eating For Kidney Dialysis Diet With Renal Disease

If you or a loved one are undergoing hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis due to chronic kidney disease, it is crucial to maintain a healthy diet.

Dialysis is a procedure which removes metabolic waste products from the body and provides an artificial replacement for lost kidney function in people with renal failure.

Renal failure is a medical condition in which the kidneys lose their normal functionality to filter and excrete toxins from the body.

Kidneys help to filter toxins from the blood, control fluid levels and regulate levels of sodium, potassium and phosphorus. If you need to know more about the renal failure diet, this is the post for you.

Healthy breakfast - Spinach, Poached Egg, and Tomatoes

In patients with renal failure, dialysis can help the body by performing these functions. Normally, kidneys filter the blood continuously, but dialysis is done on a schedule.

Because of this, it is important for patients to follow a dialysis diet between dialysis treatments, because if not followed, waste products can build up to toxic levels.

While it may seem overwhelming at first, making dietary changes can greatly improve your health and quality of life. By seeking guidance from a kidney dietitian and making personalized changes to your diet, you can ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need while avoiding foods that can exacerbate your condition.

A key aspect of a kidney dialysis diet is limiting high salt, high potassium, and high phosphorus foods while incorporating high protein foods and low potassium fruits and vegetables. This may require some adjustments to your usual eating habits, but with the right resources - like a renal dietitian - and support, it is achievable.

Why low protein diet in kidney disease? Diet is very helpful when trying to slow the progression of kidney disease and during times of dialysis treatment to ensure you are getting enough protein, preventing complications of waste buildup, and improving your quality of life.

In this article, we will explore the dietary guidelines for individuals undergoing dialysis, nutrient considerations such as fluid restrictions, as well as potassium and phosphorus limits. We will also look at tips for reading nutrition labels.

Depending on your stage of kidney disease, you might have followed some of these restrictions prior to being placed on dialysis by your healthcare provider.

By following these guidelines and consulting with your healthcare provider when necessary, you can take control of your health through healthy eating habits while undergoing hemodialysis treatment. Wondering if eating while on dialysis machine is ok?

Jump to:

What Is A Dialysis Diet?

End stage renal disease (ESRD) is a severe stage of chronic kidney disease in which the kidneys are no longer able to function at a level necessary to sustain life, leading to kidney failure. This can occur from either a gradual decline in kidney function, or as a result of a sudden and severe injury to the kidneys.

The primary function of the kidneys is to filter out waste products from the bloodstream, and when ESRD develops, these wastes build up in the body and can cause damage to other organs.

Do you have questions about kidney transplant? Treatment for ESRD typically involves dialysis or a kidney transplant. Dialysis is used to filter waste and excess fluid from the blood, while a transplant is used to replace the damaged kidneys with a healthy one. Both treatments are important options to maintain patient health and quality of life.

Meal planning is critical in ensuring you're getting the nutrients you need while avoiding those that can further damage your kidneys or complicate your condition.

The dialysis diet regulates the amount of daily consumption of protein, sodium, potassium, phosphorus and fluids. Dialysis patients are advised to consume a diet which is high in protein and low in sodium, potassium and phosphorus. And, patients are also advised to restrict fluid intake between treatments on a dialysis diet.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you're eating well while staying healthy with renal disease.

For More Recipes and Ideas --->> Get Your Free Meals and Recipes That Are Perfect for Pre-Dialysis Diets, Pre-Dialysis with Diabetes, or Dialysis Diets.

Poached egg with tomato and peas on wooden background.

Dietary Guidelines

When it comes to planning meals for those with kidney issues, it's crucial to follow specific guidelines that limit certain foods and fluids while ensuring a balance of necessary nutrients.

This means working with a dietitian to create a personalized meal plan that takes into account your unique needs and health conditions, like heart disease or diabetes. There are plenty of meal plans to check out, including this 7 day meal plan for kidney disease.


It is important to eat the right amount of protein, because more protein intake builds up waste products in the blood and less consumption may cause protein deficiency and muscle loss.

Patients on peritoneal dialysis need more protein because a large amount of protein is lost in the discarded peritoneal fluid. Generally, patients are advised to eat more high-quality protein. Good sources of high quality protein include egg, poultry, lamb, beef, pork and fish.

Patients on dialysis should aim for 1.0–1.2 g/kg/day of dietary protein intake.


Patients should restrict sodium intake on a dialysis diet because extra sodium can result in fluid retention and high blood pressure.

Sodium is abundant in table salt, canned and processed foods. Patients are advised to limit processed cheese, packed chips, smoked meat, pickles and soups.

Aim to limit sodium intake to less than 2000 mg per day.


The daily intake of potassium needs to be controlled to prevent high potassium levels in the blood [Hyperkalemia], which is common in dialysis patients. High potassium levels in the blood can cause problems with heart functioning and can lead to a life threatening condition called cardiac arrhythmia.

Potassium is found in many fruits and vegetables, it is an essential mineral for proper muscle functioning and heart rhythm.

To keep potassium levels in check, patients should limit the amount of potassium rich foods such as milk, yogurt, potatoes, tomatoes, citrus fruits, bananas, dry fruits, legumes, nuts, and beans.

It’s important to keep daily potassium consumption at less than 3000 mg per day. There are also tons of kidney friendly desserts, low potassium desserts to try!


Dialysis treatments may not remove phosphorus effectively from the blood, so dietary intake of phosphorus should be restricted. High phosphorus levels in the blood can draw calcium out of the bones, causing weakness of bones.

Phosphorus is found in protein-rich foods such as dairy products, meat, legumes, nuts and beverages like cocoa, sodas (soda and kidneys), and beer.

It is best to limit your phosphorus intake to less than 800 to 1000 mg per day. 

Food To Include

Maintaining a strict dietary regimen is crucial for individuals undergoing dialysis treatment, and the inclusion of low potassium and low phosphorus foods holds paramount importance.

High levels of potassium and phosphorus can lead to serious complications in individuals with compromised kidney function.

Incorporating low potassium foods such as can help prevent the risk of irregular heart rhythms and muscle weakness.

Similarly, emphasizing low phosphorus options helps to alleviate the burden on the kidneys, promoting better overall health.

By prioritizing these dietary choices, individuals on dialysis can effectively manage their condition and enhance their well-being.

Low-Potassium Foods

Stick to low-potassium foods like apples, cauliflower, berries, cucumbers, green beans, and white rice to balance your nutrient intake and support your kidney health. It's important to limit potassium intake because high levels can cause muscle weakness and heart problems. You can even turn apples into delicious desserts.

When meal planning, focus on incorporating these low-potassium options into your diet as much as possible. Here are some recipe ideas and snack options that feature low-potassium foods:

  • Grilled chicken with a side of roasted cauliflower
  • Apple slices with almond butter for a protein-packed snack
  • White rice stir-fry with mixed vegetables

When cooking, try flavoring your meals with herbs and spices instead of salt to keep sodium levels in check. You can also experiment with flavorful substitutes like lemon juice or vinegar.

Additionally, consider using cooking techniques like grilling or roasting to bring out the natural flavors in food.

Remember that eating well is crucial for managing kidney disease. Consult with a dietitian for personalized advice and guidance on creating a kidney-friendly diet plan that works best for you.

Low-Phosphorus Foods

Consuming high levels of phosphorus can lead to complications in kidney dialysis patients. However, there are many delicious low-phosphorus options available that can make meal planning a breeze. Some staples to include are food items like rice, bread, lean meats, and vegetables.

One way to incorporate more low phosphorus foods into your diet is by choosing healthy snacks. Fresh fruits like apples, grapes, and peaches are great options since they typically contain less phosphorus than dried or canned fruit.

Additionally, air-popped popcorn is a low-phosphorus snack that can be seasoned with herbs or spices for added flavor. When grocery shopping, keep an eye out for packaged snacks specifically labeled as 'low-phosphorus.'

Cutting back on processed meats like bacon and sausage can also help lower your overall phosphorus intake. Finally, incorporating recipe suggestions from various kidney-friendly resources available online can ensure that you're consuming delicious meals that won't harm your kidneys.

Incorporating more low-phosphorus foods into your diet doesn't have to be difficult or boring. With healthy snacking options, mindful grocery shopping habits, cooking tips, and recipe suggestions at hand - it's easy to enjoy tasty meals without worrying about the possible complications of eating the wrong foods.

Foods to Avoid

When it comes to a dialysis diet, knowing which foods to avoid is just as crucial as knowing what to include. Individuals undergoing dialysis must steer clear of high potassium and high phosphorus foods, as these can pose significant risks to their health.

High potassium foods can elevate potassium levels in the blood, leading to heart rhythm disturbances and muscle weakness.

Similarly, high phosphorus foods can contribute to elevated phosphorus levels, putting strain on the kidneys and potentially causing bone and heart problems.

By diligently avoiding these foods, individuals on dialysis can maintain better control over their condition and promote overall well-being. There are foods to avoid with kidney disease!

Raw pork steak

High-Potassium Foods

You don't want to overload your body with too much potassium. High-potassium foods such as avocados, potatoes, tomatoes, and should be limited in your diet to support your kidney health.

To replace these high-potassium foods, try incorporating potassium alternatives such as apples, cauliflower, and white rice into your meals.

It's important to remember that not all fruits and vegetables are created equal when it comes to potassium content. Stick with low-potassium options such as berries, grapes, cucumbers, and carrots while limiting or avoiding high-potassium fruits like bananas and oranges as well as high-potassium vegetables like spinach and tomatoes.

With careful attention to your diet, you can maintain healthy potassium levels even with en stage renal disease.

High-Phosphorus Foods

Now let's talk about the high-phosphorus foods you should be aware of and limit in your diet to protect your kidneys. Foods that are high in phosphorus can contribute to bone and heart problems, which is why it's important to control your intake of these foods.

Some examples of high-phosphorus foods include dairy-based products like milk, cheese, and yogurt; nuts and seeds; whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat bread; and chocolate, as well as processed meats.

To help with phosphorus control, there are some meal planning strategies you can use. First, try to eat smaller portions of high-phosphorus foods less frequently throughout the week.

For example, instead of having a big bowl of oatmeal every morning for breakfast, try having a smaller serving every other day or adding some low-phosphorus fruits like apples or berries to mix things up.

Another strategy is to focus on kidney-friendly recipes that incorporate healthier alternatives for high-phosphorus ingredients. Cooking tips like using rice or almond milk (almond milk side effects on kidneys) instead of regular milk or substituting Greek yogurt for sour cream can also help reduce your phosphorus intake.

Healthy snacking is another way to stay on track with your kidney-friendly eating plan while controlling your phosphorus levels. Kidney friendly snacks like unsalted popcorn or raw veggies with hummus are low in phosphorus but still satisfying between meals.

Just be sure to read nutrition labels carefully when choosing packaged snacks as they may contain hidden sources of phosphorus additives.

With the right knowledge and resources at hand, managing your diet while living with renal disease doesn't have to be difficult – start exploring new recipes and healthy snack options today! You may even want to check out this renal diet education handout.

Fluid Restrictions

Dialysis helps to regulate fluid levels, but between the treatments fluid intake should be monitored. Excessive fluid intake can result in fluid retention which can lead to high blood pressure and edema.

Fluid intake can be monitored by checking a patient's weight regularly and comparing it with their dry weight. Dry weight is the patient's weight immediately after dialysis.

Any food that is liquid at room temperature contains water which includes soup, jello, and ice cream. Many fruits and vegetables contain lots of water such as melons, grapes, apples, oranges and lettuce. Consumption of all these foods should be monitored because they add to fluid intake.

Your dietitian will likely recommend a specific daily fluid intake based on your individual needs.

To control thirst, try sucking on ice chips or consuming small amounts of cold water throughout the day instead of drinking large quantities at once. It may also be helpful to limit salty or spicy foods that can increase thirst.

Monitoring your weight regularly is another important aspect of fluid management. Sudden weight gains could indicate excess fluid retention, while significant losses may suggest dehydration.

Fluid intake tracking can aid in managing your hydration levels effectively. You can keep track of what you drink each day by using a logbook or smartphone app. It's essential to stay within the recommended limits set by your healthcare team to avoid further damage to the kidneys and other organs caused due to excess fluid accumulation in the body over time.

By following these tips and working closely with your healthcare team, you can manage your fluid intake effectively while living with advanced kidney disease. Take the time to educate yourself on the fluid restriction guidelines for CKD.

Diabetic Patients

As a hemodialysis patient with diabetes, you need to be extra mindful of your kidney-friendly eating plan while keeping your blood sugar levels under control.

With the help of your dialysis care team and kidney dietitian, you can create a meal plan that meets both sets of requirements. Meal planning is crucial for diabetic hemodialysis patients.

Carbohydrate counting is an important tool in managing blood sugar levels, as carbohydrates are broken down into glucose during digestion.

By monitoring the amount of carbohydrates consumed at each meal and snack, you can ensure that your blood sugar stays within a healthy range. This can also help prevent complications such as nerve damage, vision loss, and further damage to blood vessels.

In addition to meal planning and carbohydrate counting, medication management and blood sugar monitoring are key components in managing diabetes.

Your doctor will prescribe medications based on your individual needs and may adjust them over time as necessary. Regularly checking your blood sugar levels using a meter allows you to track how well these medications are working and make any necessary adjustments to your diet or exercise routine.

Working closely with your dialysis care team can help you stay on top of all aspects of diabetes management while maintaining optimal kidney health.

Reading Nutrition Labels

Don't let confusing nutrition labels sabotage your efforts to stay in control of your diabetes and kidney health. Interpreting labels can be overwhelming, but it's essential to understand what you're putting into your body.

Start by checking the serving size and servings per container. This information will help you control portions and make mindful eating choices.

Next, look at the nutrient amounts listed on the label. Choose foods that are low in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars. Instead of high-calorie snacks, opt for fresh fruits or renal diet vegetables as a snack option. When checking for carbohydrates, focus on those with fiber content as they have less impact on blood sugar levels.

Meal planning tips can also help make reading labels easier. Before heading to the grocery store, plan out your meals for the week ahead of time. This will help you stick to a healthy diet and avoid impulsive purchases that may not align with your dietary needs.

Portion control is critical when managing diabetes and kidney disease; use measuring cups or a food scale if necessary to ensure accurate portion sizes.

Incorporating these tips into your daily routine can help improve your overall health while living with diabetes and kidney disease. Remember to always consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle habits.

FAQs for a Dialysis Diet

How can a kidney-friendly diet help manage kidney disease and slow down damage?

A kidney-friendly diet can help manage kidney disease and slow down its damage by reducing the workload on the kidneys and minimizing the risk of complications.

It focuses on controlling protein, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus intake. Restricting protein reduces the production of waste products, easing the burden on the kidneys. Lowering sodium helps manage blood pressure.

Limiting potassium and phosphorus intake prevents imbalances that can harm the kidneys. A healthy weight, proper hydration, and blood sugar management are also important.

Working with a healthcare professional or dietitian to develop a personalized plan is crucial. A kidney-friendly diet promotes better kidney health, slows down disease progression, and enhances overall well-being.

What are some examples of lean proteins and healthier fats that are recommended for a kidney-friendly diet?

Lean proteins and healthier fats are important components of a kidney-friendly diet. Examples of lean proteins include skinless poultry (such as chicken and turkey), fish and egg whites. These protein sources are lower in phosphorus and help reduce strain on the kidneys.

Healthier fats can be obtained from sources like avocados, olive oil, and nuts (such as almonds and walnuts). These fats provide essential nutrients without adding excessive sodium or phosphorus to the diet.

Incorporating these lean proteins and healthier fats into meals can support a balanced kidney friendly diet plan and contribute to better kidney health. It's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized recommendations based on individual dietary needs and kidney function.

How can portion control and mindful eating habits be helpful for dialysis patients?

When it comes to managing your kidney dialysis diet with renal disease, portion control and mindful eating habits are key. By visualizing smaller portions on your plate and taking the time to savor each bite, you can enjoy your meals while still sticking to your dietary needs.

Being aware of what you're putting in your body is also important - read food labels, plan ahead for meals and parties, and talk to a dietitian about getting the right balance of nutrients.

With these dietary habits, you can take control of your health and feel confident in making choices that'll support your well-being.

What are some common festive events or holiday meals that can be challenging for patients with dietary needs?

Patients with dietary needs may find certain festive events or holiday meals challenging to navigate. Traditional holiday meals often feature dishes that are high in sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and unhealthy fats.

For example, a Thanksgiving feast may include dishes like turkey (high in protein and phosphorus), gravy (high in sodium), mashed potatoes (high in potassium), and pumpkin pie (high in phosphorus).

Similarly, holiday parties may offer foods like cured meats, cheese platters, and rich desserts that can be problematic for individuals with dietary restrictions.

It's important for patients to plan ahead, communicate their dietary needs with hosts or family members, and consider healthier alternatives or modifications to enjoy the festivities without compromising their health.

Consulting with a healthcare professional or dietitian can provide personalized guidance and strategies for navigating these occasions.

Healthy Eating is Essential For Those On Dialysis

Maintaining a healthy diet is of utmost importance for individuals undergoing dialysis due to chronic kidney disease.

Dialysis is a crucial procedure that helps remove waste products from the body and replace lost kidney function.

By following a dialysis diet, patients can prevent the buildup of waste products to toxic levels and improve their overall health and quality of life. This diet involves limiting high salt, high potassium, and high phosphorus foods, while incorporating high-quality protein sources and low potassium and phosphorus fruits and vegetables.

Working with a kidney dietitian and following dietary guidelines can help individuals on dialysis take control of their health and effectively manage their condition.

Similar Posts