Dialysis Diet
Planning

When you’re on dialysis, eating right makes a real difference in your health. Choosing recommended portions of kidney-friendly foods and drinks can help reduce the amount of wastes and fluids that build up in your blood between treatments.

Your dietitian will work with you to build your personal dialysis meal plan. Think of your meal plan as a roadmap to eating well—following it will help you reach your kidney health goals. As you use your plan, be open with your dietitian about what’s working, what’s not and your cravings. Tweaks to your plan are definitely expected—and important. Your meal plan is meant to be a lifestyle, not a diet, so it needs to be something you can stick with and enjoy.

Why your dialysis diet plan needs to be personalized

Making a personalized dialysis diet meal.
Some basics apply to everyone on dialysis, like increasing protein while cutting back on salt and phosphorus. Your own dialysis meal plan will be tailored to your personal tastes as well as your specific health needs, prescribed dialysis treatment and schedule.

Peritoneal dialysis or home hemodialysis may affect your daily diet

With home dialysis, you may have fewer food or fluid restrictions than someone who does dialysis 3 times a week in the center. Why? Home dialysis is done more frequently, so waste, toxins and fluids have less time to build up in your body.

Diabetes and other health factors

Many people on dialysis also have diabetes or other health conditions to consider. Your doctor and dietitian will take into account all of the factors that may impact your meal plan, as well as your medications.


Make your dialysis diet plan work for you

Planning your dialysis meals can set you up for success, whether you're figuring out what you'll eat for the day, the coming week or a special event. Here are some tips for dialysis diet planning.

  • Shop smart. Before you head to the store, download the low-potassium shopping list or flexible-potassium shopping list, as recommended by your dietitian. Add the foods you like to your meal plan and shopping list, so you’ll be sure to make healthy choices. 

    While you’re shopping, you'll also want to check food labels. Look for foods with no added phosphates in the ingredient list. Words that contain PHOS, like sodium phosphate or phosphoric acid, mean that the food has added phosphorus—which can make it harder to maintain a healthy phosphorus level. Get more tips for smart kidney-friendly shopping.

  • Plan ahead for dining out. You can enjoy eating out and still stick to your dialysis diet. It just takes a little more planning. Look online for the menu and make smart choices before you go. To help with portion sizes, you may want to order an appetizer, ask for a half portion or immediately put half of your entree aside to take home. Learn more ways to stay on track while eating out.

  • Have healthier celebrations. Festive events and holiday meals packed with tempting treats can challenge anyone who has specific dietary needs. You’ll feel a lot better if you indulge wisely. Before a party, ask your dietitian for tips to help you stick to your meal plan. Check out our tips for eating well during the holidays.

  • Do the cooking yourself. As often as you can, prep your meals yourself. That way, you’ll have total control over the ingredients. Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated. Get started with some flavorful recipes.

FIND YOUR NEW FAVORITE RECIPE

Kidney-friendly cooking just got tastier! Get big-and-bold flavorful recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks and desserts on a kidney diet.

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BALANCING 
POTASSIUM

Potassium is an important mineral that’s in many foods.  Too much OR too little potassium could put your health at risk, so getting the right amount in your dialysis diet is essential.

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MORE FLAVOR, LESS SALT

Cooking with herbs and spices instead of salt can help bring dishes to life–and make them more kidney-friendly. We’ll help you get started.

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POWER UP ON 
PROTEIN

When you're on dialysis, it's a good habit to eat some protein for every meal and snack. Talk to dietitian about how to get the right amount of protein for you.

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