Healthy Diet for Kidney Disease

While chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects approximately 11% of adult Americans, for older adults, the incidence rate jumps to nearly 40%. If a loved one in your life struggles with CKD, following the physician’s suggested dietary plan is vital. The aim is to make sure levels of electrolytes, minerals, and fluid remain balanced.

The National Kidney Foundation is a superb resource, with chapters in the majority of states, providing support and educational material to both patients with CKD as well as the family members who take care of them. They provide the following nutritional information which outlines a healthy diet for kidney disease (but always check with your loved one’s doctor before adjusting his / her diet):


Carbohydrates are a great source of energy for those who have to follow a low-protein diet, as well as providing necessary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These include breads, grains, fruits and vegetables, as well as sweets, such as cookies/cakes, honey, sugar, hard candy, and jelly (limiting chocolate, bananas, nuts, and dairy).


The physician or dietitian may suggest a low-protein diet, but proteins continue to be essential, and can be obtained through fish, poultry, eggs, pork, or even egg whites or protein powders.


The levels of these minerals are checked frequently in individuals with chronic kidney disease. Phosphorous levels in particular that are too high may cause the body to utilize calcium from the bones, decreasing their strength and increasing the possibility for a break. It is advised to avoid high-phosphorous foods, such as yogurt, milk, and cheese, but heavy cream, margarine, butter, ricotta, and brie cheese contain lower levels and may also be approved as part of the older adult’s dietary plan. Calcium and vitamin D supplements may be necessary to prevent bone disease as well.


Reducing sodium in the diet is helpful not merely for kidney health, but to control high blood pressure also. To help reduce sodium intake, look for foods labeled “low-sodium,” “no salt added,” “unsalted,” etc., and try to avoid adding salt while cooking, seasoning food prior to eating with sodium-free seasonings such as herbs or lemon.


Potassium levels should also be watched closely in those diagnosed with CKD. As many fruits and vegetables contain high degrees of potassium, it is safest to choose those from these options:

  • Fruit: apples, peaches, pears, grapes, pineapple, tangerines, watermelon, berries, plums
    • AVOID: dried fruits, oranges, nectarines, kiwis, bananas, honeydew, prunes, cantaloupe, nectarines
  • Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, celery, eggplant, green beans, peppers, yellow squash, lettuce, zucchini, and onions
    • AVOID: avocado, asparagus, tomatoes, potatoes, winter squash, pumpkin, and cooked spinach


Low iron and anemia are typical in those diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Foods with high iron content include liver, pork, chicken, beef, lima and kidney beans, and cereals with added iron.

Home With You Senior Care, providers of home care in Ellicott City and the surrounding areas, will help by planning, and preparing healthy and balanced, nutritious meals in accordance with any prescribed dietary plan, and we’ll even tidy up the kitchen afterwards! We are also available to offer pleasant companionship which will make life with CKD easier. Reach out to us at 410-756-0959 to learn more about the top-rated home care in Ellicott City and surrounding areas.