Snacks for a Kidney Diet
Some people eat three meals a day. Some eat six small meals. For others, one meal may blend into the next. But whether you’re a regimented eater or a constant “grazer,” at some point, you’re likely to eat a snack. When you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), whether you’re in the early stages or on dialysis, it doesn’t mean you have to forego snacks. But it does require a bit of planning so you can feel good about including snacks on the kidney diet.
Snacking when you’re on the kidney diet
Snacking is okay on the kidney diet as long as you make healthy choices. Rather than eating food that is high in sodium, such as a small bag of potato chips, a better option is a piece of kidney-friendly fruit.
You also need to consider how much you eat overall. Snacking does not need to be synonymous with guilt. If your physician encourages you to increase your calorie intake, your renal dietitian will discuss the best snack choices for you. Snacks can make up for low-calorie intake when your appetite is not so great.
Kidney-friendly snacks at the grocery store
Go through any cookie or cracker aisle of your local grocery store and you’ll find a wide array of snacks. However, if you have CKD you should limit or avoid certain ingredients that may be present in snack foods. Your doctor or dietitian may recommend that you limit your intake of phosphorus, potassium, sodium and calcium if your kidneys are no longer able to keep these minerals in balance. By educating yourself and with the help of your healthcare team, there are many kidney-friendly, healthy and tasty snacks available.
Go to the produce section where you can find kidney-friendly foods for a good snack option. Here are some foods good for kidney health:
- Carrot sticks
- Dried, sweetened cranberries
- Red bell peppers
- Red leaf lettuce
To change things up, you can also snack on other options not found in the produce section. Check nutrition labels and avoid any items that contain added phosphorus.
- Animal crackers
- Bread sticks
- Graham crackers
- Low-sodium crackers
- Low-sodium or unsalted tortilla chips
- Muffin (avoid bran and chocolate muffins, as well as ones with nuts)
- Rice cakes
- Unsalted pretzels
- Unsalted popcorn
Some high sugar snacks help boost calorie intake and may be recommended if you are losing weight due to a poor appetite. If you have diabetes, consult your doctor before consuming sugary snacks. For some patients, diet restrictions may cause unwanted weight loss. These snacks can help provide extra calories if needed.
- Fruit pie
- Hard candies
- Jelly beans
- Shortbread cookies
- Sugar cookies
- White or yellow cake
- Vanilla wafers
If you have low albumin, your dietitian may recommend extra protein, snacks for you. If you take phosphate binders, you may be instructed to take them with protein-containing snacks to control phosphorus.
- Cottage cheese
- Chicken salad
- Eggs (hard-cooked, deviled, in a salad or egg whites)
- High-protein supplements (drinks or bars; check with your dietitian about the best choices)
- Sliced roast beef or turkey
- Tuna salad
Kidney-friendly snack recipes
Below is a small sample of some of the many snack recipes available on DaVita.com:
Enjoy snacks on the kidney diet
If you eat in moderation and make smart choices that are compatible with your kidney health needs, you can enjoy guilt-free snacking. Learn what snack foods are good for your kidney diet with the help of your doctor or dietitian.