Lifestyle Changes: 6 Tips for Adopting a Kidney Diet

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis from a physician.

When you've been diagnosed with kidney disease or told that you need dialysis, you face making considerable changes to your everyday life, including starting a kidney diet. Here are six tips to help make a kidney diet fit into your life.

1. Talk to a renal dietitian

Your renal dietitian, along with your kidney doctor, will help you figure out what foods and beverages are best for your individual needs.

2. Track your nutritional values

One way to make following a kidney diet easier is to track your nutritional values on the DaVita Health Portal (if you are a DaVita® patient) or ask that they be printed for you at your next doctor visit. You can discuss your results with your dietitian to make sure you are within your target range for certain nutrients.

3. Get extra help with recipes

Thinking about planning kidney-friendly meals can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. has more than 1,200 kidney-friendly recipes for every meal from breakfast to dinner. Each recipe was developed by DaVita dietitians with the kidney diet in mind, which means they have lower levels of sodium, potassium and phosphorus. You can search for recipes by diet type (CKD non-dialysis, dialysis, diabetes, etc.), cuisine type (Southern, Asian, Italian, etc.) and more. Sign up for a free myDaVita account to save your favorite recipes in one spot.

4. Read labels when you go grocery shopping

Check food labels to view the sodium, potassium and phosphorus contents, as these are nutrients that should be limited in a kidney diet. Unfortunately, not all nutrition fact labels are required to list nutrient amounts for phosphorus and potassium, so use the Food Analyzer on to get the missing nutrition information for the foods you eat.

5. Flavor your meals without the salt shaker

Limiting sodium intake is essential to the kidney diet. A low-sodium meal plan helps regulate blood pressure and reduces fluid retention in the body. Ask your dietitian about herb blends, spices or lemon juice to help flavor your favorite foods.

6. Eat out with a game plan in mind

If you know you're going out to eat, try to consume less sodium during the rest of the day. A typical meal at a restaurant has more sodium than foods you cook at home. Also, look up the restaurant menus online to find foods that are closest to your diet requirements. And consider portions-share a dish with others or ask your waiter to box half of your entrée when it gets to your table. See our Eating Out Guides for information about which foods to avoid, and what the healthier options are.

Change can be good when it comes to your kidney health

Whether you work, travel or have activities to tend to, a change in your lifestyle, and the way you think about food, is a hurdle that you can overcome. You can make the transition easier by talking to your dietitian, accessing 1,200+ kidney-friendly recipes on and learning more about how the kidney diet can fit into your lifestyle. Here's to your health.