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Can My Family Eat Foods Made for the Kidney Diet?

By DaVita® Dietitian Shaun K. Riebl, MS, RD, LD/N

Being on the kidney diet can make you feel restricted and alone. “Family meals” may be designated for the people around you with healthy kidneys. Then there is “my kidney-friendly meal.” This can make you feel isolated, even when you eat at the same dining table. But it does not have to be like this; the entire family can enjoy a meal that is healthy as well as kidney-friendly. Discover how mealtime – from breakfast to dessert – can be planned out with the kidney diet and the rest of your family in mind.

Breakfast foods for you and your family

Some mornings you may want to make something special for the family. Although phosphorus is high in foods such as waffles and pancakes, there are great breakfast alternatives that the entire family can enjoy, such as the recipe Make Ahead Pancake or Waffle Batter for a Crowd. To make the batter even more healthy and tasty, add berries such as blueberries or strawberries. For a beverage, serve yourself unenriched rice milk and pour skim milk for the rest of the group without kidney problems. Although your beverage is different, you are still in compliance with the kidney diet and sharing the same meal as your family.

These are some other recipes your entire family can munch on in the morning:

Lunch meals for you and your family

Whether you are making lunch for work or for the kids when they go to school, packing a healthy bagged lunch can be easier when you make the same thing for everyone. Use whole grain white bread that is not fortified with calcium to make sandwiches for you and the family. Choose from excellent sources of protein, such as tuna, eggs or chicken, and top with romaine lettuce and cucumber slices. Here are some favorite lunch recipes you and your family can make ahead of time and enjoy throughout the week:

In order to get through the long day, it’s good to pack snacks with a sack lunch. For something crunchy, try the kidney- and family-friendly Snack Mix. Low potassium fruits such as grapes, strawberries and sliced apples are great for a sweet treat that’s loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Dinnertime for you and your family

After a long day at the office or in a classroom, dinnertime for many is a time when the family can share their days over a tasty meal. Here are some recipes you can make for your kidney diet and the rest of the family:

In some households, the day isn’t complete without dessert. Why not finish off the meal with some Easy Low Phosphorus Fudge? If you and your family want something lighter, try the easy-to-make Angel Strawberry Delight. Listed are more sweet offerings:

The kidney diet isn’t for everyone

It can be great to share meals with your family, but sometimes not every recipe is suitable for each person’s dietary needs. Certain minerals such as potassium or calcium that may be limited in your diet are good for family members who have healthy kidneys. Children usually need foods that contain dairy, protein, fiber and other healthy choices to help them grow, but are not good for a person with kidney disease. Family members with diabetes, heart disease, digestive disturbances or other medical conditions may need to eat different foods to meet their individual needs. Before you and your family decide to eat kidney-friendly meals together, consider each person’s nutritional requirements and make some adjustments to meet those needs. For example, you might prepare a kidney-friendly, low-potassium main dish, and then family members can add extra fruits or vegetables to their meals. For more help, talk to your doctor and dietitian about mealtime adjustments for family members sharing your kidney diet meals.


Being on the renal diet when trying to eat with your family may have you feeling isolated. Luckily with the resources and recipes available at, you can prepare tasty snacks and meals everyone in your family enjoys. With a little extra planning, mealtime might feel less hectic and more enjoyable for everyone.

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