“The CKD 10”: Foods to Enjoy and Limit for Kidney Health

Posted on Thursday, March 10, 2022

How much potassium have you had today? And how about phosphorous? Most people don’t think twice about either essential mineral, but for people living with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), managing potassium and phosphorus intake is critical. When you have CKD, your kidneys aren’t as effective at removing waste from your system and minerals like phosphorus and potassium can build up in the blood, leading lead to heart problems and weakened bones.  

If you have CKD your doctor may recommend a kidney-friendly, or “renal” diet, that provides the nutrition you need from foods that are easy for your kidneys to process. Renal diets can be challenging to manage at first because they must balance many factors from nutrient levels and portion size to protein types and even fluid intake.

And the process is not always intuitive because some foods that are healthy for most people may pose problems for people with CKD. Bran cereal is a good example. It’s a classic “health food,” but it’s also high in phosphorous, so it’s not ideal if you have CKD.

As always, the first step is to talk with your doctor to learn what diet is right for your condition. A dietitian is a great advocate to have if you’re living with CKD.

Renal diet basics

Here are some fundamentals for most people following a kidney-friendly diet:

  • Choose lower-sodium foods and don’t add salt to your meals or while cooking.
  • Manage your portion sizes, especially of protein. A serving of protein is three ounces or the size of your palm.
  • Opt for fresh foods you prepare yourself versus packaged foods that can be high in sodium.
  • Cook with healthy fats including olive oil or corn oil and try to avoid saturated fats like butter and lard.

The lists below give you an idea of foods generally found on renal-friendly diets, and some of the foods that most people living with CKD should limit because of their salt, potassium, or phosphorus levels.

The “CKD 10” to enjoy:
  • Unsalted popcorn
  • Unsalted pretzels
  • Apples
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Rice, wheat or corn cereals
  • White rice
  • Lean chicken
The “CKD 10” to limit:
  • Melons
  • Bananas
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Red meat
  • Packaged baked goods
  • Bran cereal
  • Spinach
  • Canned soup
  • Dark colas

People living with CKD can simplify mealtime by getting renal-friendly meals delivered to their homes from Mom’s Meals®. Choose from a variety of fully prepared, refrigerated menu options based on dietary recommendations associated with different stages of CKD. Here’s more information.

Sources:

https://www.kidneyfund.org/living-kidney-disease/healthy-eating-activity/kidney-friendly-eating-plan

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/eating-nutrition/nutrition-advanced-chronic-kidney-disease-adults

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