Simple Summertime Menus for a Kidney Diet

Summertime usually means more time for activities and outdoor events and less time in the kitchen, especially on hot days. The DaVita® dietitian team created a special menu plan that incorporates easy-to-make recipes for a kidney diet. Use these daily menus to jump-start your summer days and keep cool.

Simple summer menu: Day 1

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

  • Cool Cucumber Soup
  • Sliced turkey on sourdough bread1/4-inch slice of tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise or mustard
  • Homemade lemonade made with
  • Lemonade Base(6 ounces)

Day 1 tips:

  • Most kidney diets allow one serving of dairy per day. A small portion of Greek yogurt is packed with high-quality protein to complement the bagel.
  • Soup should be counted as part of your fluids if you need to prevent excess fluid weight gain. Count one serving of Cool Cucumber Soup as four ounces of fluid.
  • See if your deli carries low-sodium deli turkey. A healthy option is to buy a fresh turkey breast to bake and slice; package into single servings and freeze until ready to use.
  • Lemons are in season so make several batches of lemonade base to freeze in ice cube trays.
  • Use an electric rice cooker. It produces less heat than the stovetop burner and takes the guesswork out of making perfectly cooked rice. Jazz up steamed rice by cooking it in a mixture of low-sodium broth and water, or add your favorite low-sodium herb seasoning blend.
  • Watermelon is acceptable on a kidney diet if you limit the portion to one small wedge (approximately one cup). If you overdo it, fluid and potassium levels can get out of control.

Simple summer menu: Day 2

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

  • Crunchy Couscous Salad
  • Grilled halibut or salmon fillet
  • Hawaiian roll with butter
  • Fresh sliced peach with whipped topping
  • Cran-apple juice (8 ounces)

Day 2 tips:

  • Instead of relying on fast food chains for breakfast, make a simple egg and sausage breakfast sandwich at home. It’s quicker than waiting in the drive-thru, plus it saves on extra sodium and money.
  • Fresh berries freeze well. Stock up when they go on sale so you always have a high-antioxidant fruit on hand.
  • Couscous is low in sodium, potassium and phosphorus and cooks quicker than other grain products.
  • Many chefs have a go-to, quick-to-cook fish recipe. Check on DaVita.com to find a grilled fish favorite.
  • Eat peaches instead of nectarines, which are higher in potassium (unless you need to add potassium to your diet).

Simple summer menu: Day 3

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3 tips:

  • When recipes such as Stuffed French Toast make more than you need, consider making only half a recipe or freeze extras for a quick meal later.
  • Small amounts of vine-ripened tomato won’t jolt your potassium intake if you’re careful with how much you eat. Stick to a 1/4-inch slice on sandwiches or two to three cherry tomatoes on salad.
  • Slushy beverages are thirst-quenching and last longer. Limit the amount you drink with meals and use the rest when taking pills between meals or at bedtime.
  • Corn has more phosphorus compared to other vegetables, but it’s not off limits. Just watch your portion size and how often you eat it—especially that tempting sweet summer corn. 
  • Many nondairy creamers and other milk substitutes contain phosphate additives, and the amount varies greatly by brand or even within a brand. Rely on your dietitian’s recommendation to select brands lowest in phosphorus.
  • It’s easier to limit your sodium intake when you make meals from fresh foods at home and limit processed foods in cooking. Checking labels for sodium and sticking to lower sodium products will help keep sodium in check.

Kidney-friendly summer snacks

Food is like fuel, so you can’t run on an empty tank. That’s where snacks come in to hold you over until mealtime. Try these delicious choices that are filling and tasty.

Addictive Pretzels

Fig, fresh (1)

Carrot and celery sticks (3 each, 3 inches long)

Grapes (1/2 cup)

Cherries (1/2 cup)

Onion Herb Flatbread Crackers with Peachy Dip

Easy Summer Fruit Dip

Spicy Crunch and Munch Snack Mix

Nutrient ranges for 3-day menu plan (without snacks)

  • Calories: 1560-1800
  • Protein: 68-82 g
  • Carbohydrate: 170-223 g
  • Fat: 51-70 g
  • Cholesterol: 55-339 mg
  • Sodium: 1350-1646 mg
  • Potassium: 1675-1875 mg
  • Phosphorus: 764-846 mg
  • Calcium: 285-463 mg
  • Fiber: 11.2-16.3 mg

Plan your menus all summer long

You can figure out more ways to mix and match kidney-friendly meals using the DaVita Diet Helper. It helps you plan, prepare and track recipes all in one easy place. Have a fun and finger-lickin’ good summer!

Related kidney diet articles on DaVita.com

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