Kidney-Friendly Foods from the Pacific Northwest

The great outdoors don’t get any greater than in Washington. DaVita dietitian, Brenda, enjoys the natural beauty of her home state on a daily basis. “Occasionally, during my commute to the dialysis center (which follows the Yakima River) I get to see bald eagles soaring, deer crossing the river, or coyotes hunting for breakfast,” shares Brenda. In addition to the well-known vacation spots in Washington, such as San Juan Islands, Walla Walla (wine country), Ocean Shores and, of course, Seattle, Brenda provides a tour of her state from a native’s perspective.

Wild Pacific Northwest salmon

Celebrate the salmon during the Wenatchee River Salmon Festival in Leavenworth, Washington during the month of September. Whether these popular fish are swimming upstream or in a tasty sauce on your plate; salmon is ever-present in the Pacific Northwest. It has been the staple food for Native Americans, early French fur traders, European settlers and now modern-day residents. This versatile and healthy fish can be baked, broiled, boiled, fried, poached, grilled, pickled, smoked, canned and eaten raw. You can serve it with lemon shallot butter, mint pesto, peach chutney, cilantro sour cream, teriyaki glaze, coconut milk, ginger crust, molasses and mustard, Jack Daniels® cream sauce, blackberry reduction, olive oil and garlic, Texas barbecue sauce and Szechwan spices, just to name a few. Brenda’s favorite salmon recipe, Salmon Steaks with Herb Dressing, is a great addition to the dialysis diet.

Apple orchards and other fresh fruits

Boasting close to 300 days of sunshine each year, the Pacific Northwest crops supply approximately one third of the apples to American grocery stores. This is in addition to 160,000 tons of Bartlett pears, 34,000 tons of sweet cherries, plus prunes, plums, grapes, apricots, peaches, figs and quince. Even after much of the fruit is exported from the region, local roadside fruit stands and wild varieties remain for the locals to enjoy. Living in central Washington provides easy access to inexpensive and delicious produce. With such a seasonal diversity of fresh fruits, it’s no wonder local dishes include these flavorful ingredients in appetizers, soups, desserts, sauces, garnishes, chutneys and even brandies.

Apple Country Tours provide an opportunity to sample the fruit and get an appreciation of how it is grown and prepared for your local grocery. The customized bus tours take you through the scenic Wenatchee Valley allowing you to see and experience working family orchards, antique packing line demonstrations and commercial packing line methods used today. Brenda’s recipe for Apple Tostada is a sweet treat to remind you of your time in the apple orchards. This recipe is recommended for all the renal diets.

Berries off the beaten path

Maybe after touring the apple country it’s time for a little hike. After all, Brenda believes strongly in exercise, “The single most important thing patients can do to improve their health is to increase their amount of physical activity as they are able. Physical activity can do so much for a person’s psychological outlook, which in turn can affect their capacity to be an active participant on their health care team,” she advises. Brenda also suggests you bring a basket for berry picking on your hike. Oregonand Washington are blanketed with an abundant supply of fresh berries. A few hours hike in almost any direction can yield a basket filled to capacity with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, gooseberries, boysenberries, Marionberries, tayberries, huckleberries, cranberries, or lingonberries. Ninety percent of the raspberries in North America come from Oregon and Washington. These berries are often included as an interesting flavor counterpoint to a variety of meats and seafood. Most purists agree, however, that nothing beats the classic combination of fresh berries and a small amount of cream to keep it renal friendly.

Colorful springtime blooms

If you’re in Washington in springtime, you’re in luck. Skagit Valley is home to rows upon rows of colorful tulips, daffodils, lilies and irises blooming with brilliant color. March is when the daffodils make their first appearance, while the tulips come to life in April. Set in a tranquil valley, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is a month long event held yearly in April. It is a place to experience some of nature’s finest beauty. The blooming lasts well into May, when irises and lilies make their appearance. La Conner and Mount Vernon are two towns that fill with visitors for the festival and accompanying events, such as the Street Fair, Tulip Parade, Art Shows, Quilt Walk and a salmon barbeque. Along with all the fun, you can add to the main industry of Skagit Valley by purchasing some tulips bulbs. If you can’t take the fresh flowers home with you, just take pictures of the display gardens and the colorful fields.

The Columbia River Gorge

One of Washington and Oregon's prime destinations is the area around the great Columbia River. Brenda tells us, “Our state folk song is Roll on Columbia, Roll On — and, yes, I sing the chorus every time I pass the Columbia River,” she confesses. The area has an array of activities and attractions to satisfy many visitors’ interests. Columbia Gorge Riverside Lodge is an excellent location to access all the Gorge has to offer, including: biking, berry picking, fishing, golfing, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, camping, white water rafting, wind surfing, winter activities and catching views of Mount St. Helens.

Washington wine country

In 1969, when the wine boom was sweeping California, there were only two wineries in Washington State. Since then, however, the state has crept into second position (behind California) as an American wine producer. The majority of Washington's vineyards are located east of the Cascades, where desert-dry soils and hot summers produce near-perfect growing conditions. The major regions in Washington include Yakima, Columbia Valley and Walla Walla. West of the Cascade Mountains, in the damp proximity of the Pacific Ocean, lays the Puget Sound where the focus is on cooler-climate varietals, such as chardonnay and pinot noir.

The Upper Yakima Valley Day Wine Tour is a fun, full-day tour that takes you to a handful of wineries in the Yakima Valley. The tour makes stops at Sheridan Vineyard, Masset Winery, Maison de Padgett, Windy Point Vineyards, Yakima Cellars and Kana Winery. This excursion is just the thing for those who want to get to know wine a little better and who like a variety of red, white and sweet wines.


No discussion of the food culture of the Pacific Northwest would be complete without mentioning coffee. This area was the launch pad of Starbucks® whose trendy coffeehouse culture has been embraced by America and the world. Visit a Starbucks for a cup of signature House Blend and conversation with the locals. You may get to meet some of the interesting people that make Brenda’s job so enjoyable. She says, “My patients all have very unique perspectives on the world based on their upbringing. I really enjoy listening to stories about their past. For example, one Native American woman used to tell me about life on the reservation when she was young and how she enjoyed going to the powwow, playing stick games and going to dig roots near Mt. Adams with her family.”

Perhaps Washington State is on your list of places to visit. If so, Brenda hopes you visit some of the places she recommends. But, whether you wander to Washington or stay close to home, you can enjoy some of her regional recipes and get a good taste of the Pacific Northwest and still stay on track with your kidney diet.

Pacific Northwest Menu for a dialysis diet


  • Apple Onion Omelet
  • 1 slice cracked wheat toast with butter
  • 1 tablespoon mixed berry fruit spread
  • 1 cup fresh-brewed House Blend Starbucks® coffee
  • Cream & sweetener




Nutrient Analysis


Calories: 482
Protein: 15 g
Carbohydrate: 47 g
Fat: 26 g
Cholesterol: 350 mg
Sodium: 394 mg
Potassium: 523 mg
Phosphorus: 285 mg
Calcium: 128 mg
Fiber: 3.9 g
Fluid: 1 cup


Calories: 466
Protein: 21 g
Carbohydrate: 46 g
Fat: 22 g
Cholesterol: 42 mg
Sodium: 453 mg
Potassium: 490 mg
Phosphorus: 236 mg
Calcium: 46 mg
Fiber: 2.7 g
Fluid: 2 cups


Calories: 1033
Protein: 38 g
Carbohydrate: 103 g
Fat: 51 g
Cholesterol: 95 mg
Sodium: 607 mg
Potassium: 848 mg
Phosphorus: 427 mg
Calcium: 139 mg
Fiber: 3.4 g
Fluid: 1 cup


Calories: 243
Protein: 2 g
Carbohydrate: 52 g
Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 116 mg
Potassium: 328 mg
Phosphorus: 41 mg
Calcium: 24 mg
Fiber: 3 g
Fluid: 1 cup

Day Total

Calories: 2224
Protein: 76 g
Carbohydrate: 248 g
Fat: 102 g
Cholesterol: 487 mg
Sodium: 1570 mg
Potassium: 2189 mg
Phosphorus: 989 mg
Calcium: 337 mg
Fiber: 13 g
Fluid: 5 cups

The above contains average nutrient values for menu portions. Your actual intake may vary based on portions and brand differences.

Your individual nutrient needs may be higher or lower than this sample menu. Always consult your dietitian and refer to your individualized meal plan to determine the amounts to eat.