Kidney-Friendly Foods from Georgia

Georgia has always been famous for its charming southern hospitality, food and drink. No meal served there on a warm day would be complete without a cool glass of lemonade, and this regional recipe sampler has the coolest of them all—Minted Lemonade! All recipes have been modified to reduce potassium and phosphorus making them kidney friendly.

DaVita dietitian, Mary, is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but over thirty years ago she fell in love with her adopted state when she married a Georgia boy and he brought her home to meet the folks. The rest, as they say, is history.

Mary attended Georgia State University in the state capitol of Atlanta, and says she always had an interest in how nutrition affects people. Having a brother, a niece and a nephew who are all nephrologists, it seems that the renal field “runs in the family.” Mary has been working in her clinic for over four years.

Mary points out that Georgia has the largest population of chronic kidney disease patients in the nation, and the largest number of clinics. Atlanta doesn’t get much snow, but ice storms are periodic. “An ice storm makes it impossible to go anywhere, so the emergency diet is important.”

Challenging food temptations of the region include biscuits, cornbread and Coke®. Local delicacies include ham, bacon, greens seasoned with fatback and grits. Central Georgia is famous for its peaches and watermelon, while pecans come from South Georgia, and shrimp are liberally harvested from the coastal waters.

Mary says that the most challenging aspect of her job is dealing with people who do not understand the need for nutrition. But seeing those people get better as they attain better knowledge of kidney-disease nutrition is very rewarding. Mary describes her approach as “very straightforward” and tells her patients that the single most important thing they can do to improve health is to control phosphorus. Another effective motivational technique is “determining what is important to a patient and showing them they can still enjoy life.”

“Three or four days after I started working at DaVita, I came in and saw the patients whispering and laughing,” says Mary. I asked the charge nurse what was going on and she said, ‘They have a nickname for you already. It’s Dr. Phil. You tell it straight and don’t pull any punches.’ I laughed right with them. They had me figured out, quickly.”

“What I enjoy most about working for DaVita is the real team,” says Mary. “They believe in quality care. I have a great bunch of people to work with.”

Mary concludes with a few interesting tidbits about Georgia. Ray Charles, Jimmy Carter and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. hailed from Georgia. The state bird is the Brown Thrasher, the state flower is the Cherokee rose and locals are fond of saying, “Y’all come back.” Even the Girl Scouts originated in the stately city of Savannah.

Mary warmly invites you to try one or all of the recipes that make up her gastronomic Georgia sampler: Rachael’s Dilly Chicken, Mustard Seed Rubbed Pork Tenderloin, Peach Crisp, Mary’s Cherry Pie and Minted Lemonade. Y’all come and try it now!”

Georgia menu for a dialysis diet


  • 1/2 English muffin with 2 teaspoons margarine
  • 1 teaspoon Muskadine (grape) jelly
  • 1/2 cup low-cholesterol egg product
  • 1 cup grits
  • 1/2 cup coffee
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 2 tablespoons nondairy creamer




  • 1/2 cup grape juice and 6 vanilla wafers
  • 1 cup watermelon cubes
  • 1/2 cup water for medications

Georgia menu nutrient analysis


Calories: 602
Protein: 20 g
Carbohydrate: 74 g
Fat: 25 g
Cholesterol: 2 mg
Sodium: 452 mg
Potassium: 438 mg
Phosphorus: 171 mg
Calcium: 136 mg
Fiber: 1.2 g
Fluid: 2 cups


Calories: 730
Protein: 33 g
Carbohydrate: 83 g
Fat: 29 g
Cholesterol: 94 mg
Sodium: 632 mg
Potassium: 827 mg
Phosphorus: 372 mg
Calcium: 179 mg
Fiber: 5.2 g
Fluid: 1 cup


Calories: 628
Protein: 24 g
Carbohydrate: 79 g
Fat: 24 g
Cholesterol: 173 mg
Sodium: 663 mg
Potassium: 680 mg
Phosphorus: 236 mg
Calcium: 147 mg
Fiber: 5.1 g
Fluid: 1 cup


Calories: 262
Protein: 3 g
Carbohydrate: 49 g
Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 105 mg
Potassium: 416 mg
Phosphorus: 50 mg
Calcium: 23 mg
Fiber: 1.2 g
Fluid: 1 cup

Day Total

Calories: 2216
Protein: 80 g
Carbohydrate: 285 g
Fat: 84 g
Cholesterol: 302 mg
Sodium: 1852 mg
Potassium: 2361 mg
Phosphorus: 829 mg
Calcium: 385 mg
Fiber: 12.7 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.