Eating Well on Dialysis

To feel your best and do your best on dialysis, a carefully thought-out meal plan will play a big role. Your dietitian can help you figure out how to incorporate foods you enjoy—and still stay within your dialysis diet guidelines.

While some of the key basics for an end stage renal disease (ESRD) diet are similar to when you were at the earlier stages of kidney disease—lower salt, potassium and phosphorus—there are two key differences: proteins and fluids.

Power up on protein with dialysis

Now that you’re on dialysis, your protein needs are typically much higher. That’s because you lose protein during treatments. 

protein dialysis scale

Include a protein with every meal and snack

There are plenty of great protein choices for your kidney diet: beans, beef, chicken, edamame, eggs, fish, lamb, lentils, tofu, turkey, veal and wild game.

Choosing all-natural, fresh meat is best. Low-sodium, frozen or canned meats (rinsed) are also acceptable. Just limit cured and deli meats to help with reducing your sodium intake.

A typical serving size for protein is a ½ cup or 3-5 oz, which is equivalent to the palm of your hand.


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High-protein snacks for a dialysis diet

Mini meals and snacks can be a great way to fit more protein into your day.
Here are some tasty tips:
Hard boiled eggs kidney diet friendly snack
Snack on hardboiled eggs or have low-salt deviled eggs as a treat.
Pasta salad mix in bowl
Mix hardboiled eggs, tuna, salmon, shrimp or chicken into a pasta salad.
Peanut butter on toast kidney diet friendly
Spread a spoonful of peanut butter on toast.
Protein bars are kidney diet friendly
Eat protein bars or add protein powders to food. Ask your dietitian which ones may be best for you.

Best advice for dialysis diet

Best advice: talk to your doctor or dietitian to create a kidney-friendly meal plan

If it seems hard to know exactly what to eat, you’re not alone. Everyone starts off with questions about what’s okay for meals and how much they can have. So work with your doctor or dietitian to develop a meal plan you’ll enjoy. Touch base with them regularly to see what needs to be adjusted. Knowing the ropes—for your particular dietary needs—will help you eat healthy and thrive.

Learn why it's important to measure and track the fluids
you consume on a dialysis diet.

Get tips on managing fluid intake


Shopping gets easier with a list of kidney-friendly foods to choose.
Foods to Choose for ESRD


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