Diet & Nutrition

Empowering Healthy Food Choices

Your diet is an important part of your overall health. Your U.S. Renal Care dietitian will help find a nutrition plan to meet your needs. Learn more about eating well and staying healthy while on dialysis.

Nutrition Tips for People on Dialysis

Meet regularly with your renal dietitian. 

  • Renal dietitians specialize in the nutritional needs of people with chronic kidney disease, helping you achieve a healthy, kidney-friendly diet.
  • They work with your doctor and care team to shape your nutrition plan and empower you to make choices that support your health.

Aim to include a protein, grain, healthy fat, fruit, and vegetable at each meal.

  • Choose a palm-sized serving of lean protein such as chicken, eggs, turkey, fish, seafood, pork, or beef.
  • Choose low-potassium fruits and vegetables like apples, berries, grapes, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce, and peppers.

Limit your mealtime fluid to 1 cup (8oz).

  • Kidney-friendly beverages include water, seltzer, coffee, tea, and lemonade.

Limit your sodium intake.

  • Avoid table salt, high-sodium sauces, packaged snacks, processed meats, and canned goods.
  • Limit or avoid fast food, which is often high in sodium.

Cook meals at home.

  • Cooking your own food allows you to control the ingredients in your meals.

Read the ingredient lists on food labels.

  • Avoid phosphates and keep fat content low whenever possible.

Eating well wherever you are

It is possible to maintain a kidney-friendly diet whether you are at home or on the go.

Benefits of cooking at home

  • Cooking at home may be healthier. Often, restaurants prepare food for taste, not health. Meals served at restaurants can be high in fat, calories, sodium, and phosphorus.
  • It may be easier to follow your nutrition plan at home. When you are preparing your own food, you can better control the ingredients and portion sizes.

Tips for Eating Out

  • Plan ahead. Review a restaurant’s menu/nutrition information online.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for adjustments or substitutions. Ask if your meal can be prepared without added salt, for sauces and dressings on the side, and rice or noodles instead of potatoes.
  • Limit fluid. Ask your server not to refill your glass.
  • Be mindful of portion sizes. With your nutrition plan in mind, consider choosing an appetizer as your main course or taking some of your meal home.
  • Desserts at restaurants may not always be kidney-friendly. Avoid desserts made with chocolate, caramel, nuts, or high potassium fruits such as mangos, dates, or apricots.

Additional Resources

Renal Support Network Recipes

Search for recipes

Kidney School Learning Modules

Go to Kidney School

National Kidney Foundation Recipes

Search for recipes