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Eat, Drink & Be Healthy

Eating out doesn’t have to mean taking a vacation from your meal plan. Most restaurants offer kidney-friendly meal choices. Just be sure to ask how the food is made. If possible, speak with the chef directly because they created the food. Ask him or her to stay clear of the salt shaker—and ask what dishes are lower in salt. Family members may even choose to join in solidarity by also ordering kidney-friendly meals. Looking at the menu online and calling the restaurant ahead of time to ask about menu items is also a good idea.

Please don’t forget to bring your phosphate binders. Phosphate binders are medications that bind with dietary phosphorus in order to eliminate the phosphorus from the body, which helps keep phosphorus levels in balance for dialysis patients.
Make smart menu choices.

Smart menu choices include:

  • Salads (ask for dressing on the side and, ideally, use simple oil, vinegar or lemon juice)
  • Vegetables (low to moderate potassium) 
  • Fruits (low to moderate potassium)
  • Breads dipped in olive oil or smeared with a little salt-free butter
  • “Simply” grilled or baked foods, prepared so you can ask the chef to nix the salt and then up the flavor with fresh herbs

    See specific foods to choose for ESRD
Foods to avoid.

Avoid high-sodium menu choices such as:

  • Soups 
  • Heavily marinated items 
  • Cream sauces and gravies 
  • Soy sauce 
  • Salad dressings 
  • Deep-fried foods 
  • Salt-cured meats (including cold cuts, sausage, bacon, etc.) 
  • All salt (including sea salt, garlic salt, etc.)
Foods to avoid.

Avoid high-potassium choices* such as:

  • Dried fruit (raisins, prunes, dried apricots, figs)
  • Avocados
  • Mangos
  • Papayas
  • Cantaloupes
  • Kiwis
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Tomato sauce or stewed tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Cooked spinach 

* Depending on your dialysis treatment and overall health, your potassium needs will vary. Talk to doctor or dietitian to find out how much potassium is right for you.

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