Nutrition and Kidney Disease

If you are a kidney patient, you have most likely had a conversation with your doctor about your diet. You might have been instructed to follow a diet low in sodium, potassium, and/or phosphorus.

This page has been designed to help point out some foods to avoid, as well as suggest a similar food that is a better alternative.

While it's not an all-inclusive list, we hope that this tool will help you learn and remember some of the foods you need to stay away from, as well as some good ideas for safer alternatives. Please consult your health care provider for specific nutritional advice.

Low Potassium Diet

* Tangerine
* Mandarin orange
* Apple
1 medium orange has 237 mg of potassium.
1 medium apple has 159 mg of potassium.
* Cooked cabbage
* Turnip greens
* Kale
1 cup serving of cooked spinach has 566 mg of potassium. 1 1/2 cup serving of cooked cabbage has 73 mg of potassium.
*Cucumber
One medium serving of raw summer zucchini squash with skin has 514 mg of potassium.
One cup of sliced cucumber with peel has 153 mg of potassium.
*Apple juice
One 8 oz serving of grapefruit juice has 378 mg of potassium.
One 8 oz serving of apple juice has 295 mg of potassium.
*Raw peaches
*Canned pears
*Fruit cocktail
One cup of canned peaches has 241 mg of potassium.
One medium peach has 193 mg of potassium.
One cup of canned pears has 173 mg of potassium.
*Asparagus
*Cauliflower (cooked)
One cup of cooked brussels sprouts has 504 mg of potassium.
One 1/2 cup serving of cauliflower has 88 mg of potassium.
*Corn
One medium baked potato has 926 mg of potassium.
One ear of boiled corn has 192 mg of potassium.
*Spice blend such as Mrs. Dash (check label for potassium and sodium content.)
*Herbs
*Onions
*Garlic
A 1/6 tsp serving of salt substitute has 530 mg (or more) of potassium.
A 1/2 cup of onions has 126 mg of potassium.
*Blackberries Raspberries and Blackberries
*Blueberries
A 1 cup serving of raisins has 1,196 mg of potassium.
A 1 cup serving of blueberries has 129 mg of potassium.
*Fresh pineapple
*Fruit salad
*1/2 grapefruit
One cup of cantaloupe has 547 mg of potassium.
One cup of pineapple has 175 mg of potassium.

Low Sodium Diet

If you are following a low sodium diet, this page will show you the foods that you most likely need to avoid in your diet.
Click on the food name to find a comparable lower-sodium alternative.

*Salt-free crackers
*Graham crackers
One serving of six salted crackers has 185 mg of sodium.
One serving of two graham crackers has 85 mg of sodium.
*Avoid these as much as you can, or try low sodium deli meats with AHA (American Heart Association) logo on package
1 slice of salami has 382 mg of sodium.
One 2 oz serving of low-sodium turkey breast can have 55 mg. Check label.
*Rolls
*Baking your own bread has less sodium than most store-bought bread
One medium biscuit has 537 mg of sodium.
One french roll has 173 mg of sodium.
*Avoid completely
*Try cooking with lemon juice, garlic or herbs.
1 tbsp of soy sauce has 1,024 mg of sodium.
*Roast chicken
*Turkey
One beef hot dog has 490 mg of sodium.
One 3.5 oz serving of roasted light meat chicken without skin has 70 mg of sodium.
*Grits
*Cream of wheat
*Quaker "Natural Granola"
1 and 1/3 cup serving of raising bran has 320 mg of sodium.
One cup serving of cream of wheat has 7 mg of sodium.
One serving of Quaker "Natural Granola" has 25 mg of sodium.
*Oil and vinegar 
A 2 tbsp serving of fat free ranch has 354 mg of sodium.
A 2 tbsp serving of oil and vinegar dressing has 0 mg of sodium.
*Fresh vegetables
One cup of canned drained mixed vegetables has 243 mg of sodium.
One 1/2 cup raw carrots has 20 mg of sodium.
*Plain white rice
A 1 cup serving of rice pilaf such as Rice-a-roni has 1,180 mg of sodium.
A 1 cup serving of white rice has 2 mg of sodium per serving.
*Swiss cheese
A 1 oz serving of American cheese has 405 mg of sodium.
A 1 oz serving of Swiss cheese has 74 mg of sodium.
*Black beans
*Garbanzo beans
A 1 cup serving of baked beans has 1,068 mg of sodium.
A 1 cup serving of canned lima beans has 810 mg of sodium.
A 1 cup serving of canned black beans has 2 mg of sodium.
*Baked potato
A 1 cup serving of instant mashed potatoes has 697 mg of sodium.
1 medium baked potato has 17 mg of sodium.

Low Phosphorus and Low Potassium Diet

If you are following a low phosphorus and low potassium diet, this page will show you the foods that you most likely need to avoid in your diet.
Click on the food name to find a comparable alternative that is lower in phosphorus and potassium.

*Low fat cream cheese or Brie cheese
1 oz serving of cheddar cheese has 145 mg of phosphorus and 28 mg of potassium.
1 tbsp serving of cream cheese has 15 mg of phosphorus and 17 mg of potassium.
*Unsalted popcorn
*Salt-free pretzels
*Rice cakes
1 oz serving of dry roasted almonds has 139 mg of phosphorus and 211 mg of potassium.
10 pretzels have 68 mg of phosphorus and 88 mg of potassium.
*Low-sodium broth-based soups (Check label on soup)
A 10.8 oz serving of cream of chicken soup has 92 mg of phosphorus and 214 mg of potassium.
One cup of chicken noodle soup has 36 mg of phosphorus and 55 mg of potassium.
*White bread
One slice of whole wheat bread has 64 mg of phosphorus and 71 mg of potassium.
One slice of white bread has 24 mg of phosphorus and 30 mg of potassium.
*Low-fat cream cheese
*Jam or fruit spread
A 2 tbsp serving of peanut butter has 118 mg of phosphorus and 214 mg of potassium.
1 tbsp serving of cream cheese has 15 mg of phosphorus and 17 mg of potassium.
1 tbsp of jelly has 1 mg of phosphorus and 12 mg of potassium.
*Green beans (fresh or frozen)
*Wax beans
*String beans
One cup of prepared lima beans has 178 mg of phosphorus and 530 mg of potassium.
One cup of green beans has 26 mg of phosphorus and 147 mg of potassium.
*White rice
A 1 cup serving of wild rice has 134 mg of phosphorus and 166 mg of potassium.
A 1 cup serving of white rice has 68 mg of phosphorus and 55 mg of potassium.
*Rice cereal
*Corn flakes
1 3/4 cup serving of bran flakes cereal has 150 mg of phosphorus and 170 mg of potassium.
A one cup serving of corn flakes has 20 mg of phosphorus and 32 mg of potassium.
*Grapes
*Low-potassium fresh fruit
A 1 cup serving of raisins has 109 mg of phosphorus and 1,196 mg of potassium.
A 1 cup serving of grapes has 9 mg of phosphorus and 176 mg of potassium.
*A non-dairy product such as Coffeemate.
One 8 fluid ounce serving of nonfat milk has 247 mg of phosphorus and 407 mg of potassium.
One tbsp serving of Coffeemate has 5 mg of phosphorus and 6 mg of potassium.
*Sherbet
*Popsicles
*Sorbet
*Clear soft drinks- ginger ale or sprite
One 12 oz serving of Pepsi has 53 mg of phosphorus.
One 12 oz serving of ginger ale has 0 mg of phosphorus.
*Cream of wheat
*Grits
One cup of instant cooked oatmeal has 176 mg of phosphorus.
One cup of Cream of Wheat cereal has 95 mg of phosphorus.
*White cakes (angel food cake)
*Desserts made with lemon or apple
*Rice-crispy treats
One 1/2 cup serving of instant chocolate pudding has 350 mg of phosphorus and 247 mg of potassium.
One serving of cinnamon apples has 15 mg of phosphorus and 150 mg of potassium.

Additional Resources