National Nutrition Month

Daily kidney diet tips

In observance of National Nutrition Month, the DaVita® dietitian team has compiled an education calendar of daily diet tips. These tips are displayed in DaVita dialysis centers across the nation to help people following a kidney diet enjoy a healthier life.

Print all tips:   English (Icon - PDF PDF 2.7 MB) | Spanish   (Icon - PDF PDF 2.9 MB)

Day 1

Eat a variety of foods from your allowed food list

  • Include a source of protein at each meal, such as eggs, meat, fish and poultry.
Day 2

Remember to take your binders

  • Too much phosphorus can harm your heart and make your bones weak.
  • Binders help keep phosphorus out of your blood.
Day 3

Low or high potassium can be trouble

  • Eat the right amount of fruits and vegetables to keep your potassium normal.
Day 4

Take a renal vitamin every day

  • There are special vitamins made for people on dialysis.
Day 5

Limit your fluid intake

  • Excess fluid affects your blood pressure, causes your heart to work harder and can cause shortness of breath.
Day 6

Limit high-phosphorus foods

  • Some high-phosphorus foods are dairy products, cola, nuts, peanut butter, dried beans or peas, chocolate and liver.
Day 7

Reduce sodium

  • Foods high in sodium can make you thirsty.
  • Avoid frozen foods and dinners, ham, pickles, salty snacks, etc.
Day 8

Control thirst

  • Chewing gum, sucking on hard candy or on lemon wedges can relieve a dry mouth.
Day 9

Eat your meat

  • Protein is important for overall health.
Day 10

Dine out with confidence

  • Choose a restaurant where food is "made to order"; look over the menu and ask how food is prepared.
  • Request "no salt."
  • Share or take home large portions.
Day 11

Enjoy renal diet cookbooks

Some titles include:

Day 12

Get enough protein

  • Choose fish, chicken, turkey and lean red meats.
  • Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids.
Day 13

Hints for fluid control

  • Drink only if you are truly thirsty.
  • Eat less sodium.
  • Chew gum.
  • Spray your mouth with cold mouthwash.
  • Avoid activities that cause you to become overheated or extra thirsty.
Day 14

Ask your personal coach: The registered dietitian

  • Ask your registered dietitian when you have questions or concerns about what to eat.
Day 15

Measure albumin

  • Albumin is one way your protein is measured and should be at least at 4.0.
Day 16

Play it safe with food

  • Prepare, handle and store food properly to keep it safe.
Day 17

Time your phosphorus binders

  • Always take phosphorus binders when you eat.
  • Take them during or immediately after meals.
Day 18

Stay for your entire dialysis treatment

  • Stay for all of the dialysis that your doctor has prescribed. If you skip treatments, poisons can build up in your body.
Day 19

Enjoy herbs and spices

  • Use pepper, garlic or onion powders, basil, dill and other herbs and spices to perk up foods.
Day 20

Avoid starfruit

  • Do not eat starfruit. It is dangerous for dialysis patients and can cause bad symptoms and even death.
Day 21

Get pre-planned kidney-friendly meals

Day 22

Know your dry weight

  • Dry weight is the weight a person is when free of excess fluid.
  • At dry weight, your blood pressure should be within normal range.
Day 23

Plan a home-cooked meal tonight

  • Start with fresh meats, vegetables, salads and fruits.
  • Get kidney-friendly recipes on for inspiration.
Day 24

Buy fresh meats

  • Buy fresh meats, not enhanced or processed ones, to keep sodium intake lower.
Day 25

Limit calcium-fortified foods

  • To get the right amount of calcium, don't use calcium-fortified products.
  • Read food labels carefully.
Day 26

Tell your doctor or dietitian if you use herbal supplements

  • Let your doctor or dietitian know if you use health foods or herbal supplements; some can be unsafe for you.
Day 27

Do not use salt substitutes

  • Most substitutes contain potassium.
  • Season your foods with garlic, lemon juice or herbs and spices.
Day 28

Exercise regularly

  • Be as active as possible.
Day 29

Eat healthy snacks

  • Ask your dietitian about healthy snack ideas.
  • Vanilla wafers and unsalted popcorn or pretzels are a few options to consider.
Day 30

Get calcium

  • Take calcium supplements if prescribed to you by your physician.
Day 31

Visit the web

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