Go to DaVita.com

Kidney Diet Tips

Archive for Potassium

October 1, 2015

Kidney Diet Tips: Pumpkin and Kidney Diets

PumpkinsRevisiting this post from 2013 and wanted to share with you again.

Yesterday a  farmer friend delivered a fresh pumpkin to my mom’s front porch. Yes, it’s that time of the year— the beginning of fall harvest, cooler evenings, and soon-to-be leaves turning vibrant colors in celebration of another year passing.

As we were discussing what to do with the pumpkin, the question came up “How does pumpkin fit into a diet for stage 3 CKD?”  To answer, I’ve gathered  some kidney diet tips facts and figures on pumpkin  to share with you. Read more…

June 23, 2015

Summer Potassium Control

By guest blogger DaVita Dietitian Daniel Solomon, RD, LDN

iStock_000009822887_Small Produce

Summer time reminds us of picnics, cookouts, festivals, visits to the beach, traveling, and more.

Food is plentiful at many of these fun activities, but along with it comes a wide assortment of foods high in potassium – sweet potato, tomato, yogurt, banana, orange, nectarine, papaya, avocado, cantaloupe and honeydew, grapefruit, and mango to name a few. These foods can be tempting if you are on a low potassium diet. Read more…

March 21, 2014

Tips for keeping a healthy potassium level

fruit and vegetables

Potassium is a mineral that keeps your heart beating at a normal rhythm as well as controlling the body’s other muscles. Therefore, because people with kidney failure can’t effectively eliminate excess potassium, it is usually limited on the dialysis diet. So how does someone on the dialysis diet keep potassium at a healthy level?

Generally, people on peritoneal dialysis are able to eat as they normally would because the peritoneal dialysis treatments are performed daily. People on home hemodialysis usually do dialysis treatments 5-6 times a week, making it easier to keep a normal potassium. People who are on in-center hemodialysis generally have 3 treatments a week, leaving more time for potassium levels to rise between treatments. Instruction on how to better control their potassium through the hemodialysis diet is helpful in keeping normal potassium.

People with chronic kidney disease who are not on dialysis may experience high potassium levels. Learning about which foods in their usual diet have the most potassium and making some adjustments can help keep potassium in the normal range.



Some tips for managing potassium include: 

Following these tips can help people on dialysis keep their potassium at a healthy level.

Kidney diet resources from DaVita.com


February 10, 2014

Kidney Diet Double Ps -Potassium and Phosphorus

SONY DSCPeople on dialysis have heard more than once to watch their phosphorus and potassium consumption on the kidney diet. When it comes to Potassium, Phosphorus and the Dialysis Diet, this may be the biggest challenge for many dialysis patients. First, remembering the difference between the two Ps. Read more…

April 10, 2012

Kidney Diet Tips: How Much Potassium in Salad Greens?

What’s not to love about a cold salad served in a chilled bowl with your favorite salad dressing? Today’s kidney diet tips will help if you’re following a low potassium diet but love salad greens.  As you can see from the chart below, all the salad greens listed are less than 200 mg potassium for a 1 cup portion.  Mix and match the ones you like best. The goal is to stay below 200 mg potassium for one salad.  If you want a larger portion, select the lowest potassium greens, arugula and green or red leaf lettuce.

Salad Greens Portion Potassium Phosphorus Sodium Protein
Arugula 1 cup





Butterhead 1 cup





Endive 1 cup





Green leaf 1 cup





Iceberg 1 cup





Looseleaf 1 cup





Red leaf 1 cup





Romaine 1 cup





Watercress 1 cup





Unfamiliar with some of these greens? Go to Cooks Thesaurus foodsubs.com,  to see pictures.

Salad greens are naturally low in sodium, but the wrong dressing can really boost the sodium content. When selecting a salad dressing buy low sodium commercially prepared dressing. Better yet, homemade salad dressings are easy to make,  inexpensive and contain no additives. Try one of these DaVita.com salad dressing recipes:

Basic Salad Dressing

Cranberry Dijon Vinaigrette

Creamy Vinaigrette

Italian Dressing

Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing

Tarragon Vinaigrette

 Kidney diet resources from DaVita.com

September 30, 2011

Cantaloupe Recall- Kidney Patients Considered High Risk

Once again a message was sent out to alert consumers about contaminated food—this time cantaloupe.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 72 people are ill and 13 people have died from eating listeria contaminated cantaloupe.

Listeria is an illness-causing bacteria similar to salmonella and E. coli, but more deadly. Most of the past listeria outbreaks are related to soft cheese and deli meats, but in the past 2 years there have been several produce-related outbreaks. Symptoms of listeria include fever, muscle aches, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. In some cases victims are unable to speak. Read more…

September 22, 2011

Potassium and kidney diets: benefits and cautions

The renal diet….it’s confusing…and the rules don’t apply to everyone the same way. Today I want to look at potassium and who needs a restricted low potassium diet, who can benefit from eating more potassium-rich foods, and what the goals are for low, normal and high potassium.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans includes a chapter on foods and nutrients to increase. Potassium is on this list because the average American diet does not include the recommended servings of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, milk and milk products. Research actually shows that a low sodium, high potassium diet helps reduce blood pressure and risk of stroke by 21%. Reduced risk of kidney stones and decreased bone loss are also listed as benefits of a high potassium diet. Read more…

July 30, 2011

Low potassium potatoes for your kidney diet: no soaking required

Potatoes are a staple in the American diet. We love hash browns or home-style fried potatoes with breakfast; french fries with burgers; baked potatoes topped with butter, sour cream, vegetables or chili and cheese; potato skins with the same toppings; stewed potatoes and mashed potatoes with gravy. No wonder the potato is so popular with so many ways to prepare them.

Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, a good source of vitamin C, B6 and provides 2 grams of fiber. One 4-3/4″ x 2-1/3″ diameter potato with skin contains 1080 mg potassium. That’s over half the daily goal for a potassium restricted diet.

People withe chronic kidney disease or on dialysis who require a low potassium diet can still eat potatoes by using a technique to reduce potassium. Although potassium is not totally removed, it is lowered enough to safely include a small portion and keep your diet kidney-friendly.

Double-cook technique for reducing potassium in potatoes 

Use this newer technique to remove potassium in 30 minutes or less.

  • Peel potatoes and cut into thin slices, diced small or shred for hash browns.
  • Place potato pieces in a pot of water and bring to a boil.
  • Drain water then add fresh water.
  • Bring water to a boil and cook potatoes until tender.
  • Drain water and prepare potatoes as desired.

The double cook method reduces potassium below 200 mg for a 100 gram portion (2/3 cup). Another well known technique for reducing potassium in potatoes is to cut up and soak potatoe pieces in water. To learn more about this technique read the article “Lowering Potassium in Potatoes” in the Diet and Nutrition Section of DaVita.com.

Try one of these kidney-friendly potatoe recipes low in potassium, sodium and phosphorus. Use the double cook method instead of soaking.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Individual Frittatas

Low Potassium Style Stewed Potatoes

Mrs. B’s Pierogies

Picnic Potato Salad

Roasted Vegetable Salad

Slow Cooker Pot Roast wit Low Potassium Potatoes

Kidney diet resources from DaVita.com

June 24, 2011

High Potassium Foods to Limit on the Kidney Diet

High potassium is a concern for people with chronic kidney disease and those on dialysis because it is very dangerous. Extremely high levels can make your heart stop, and the scary part is you do not feel anything until potassium is quite high.

Symptoms of high potassium include tiredness, weakness, muscle cramps and irregular heartbeat. Read more…

March 16, 2011

Is watermelon safe for a kidney diet?

This week a question came up about watermelon in the dialysis diet. Some patients are told to avoid watermelon while others are told it’s ok to include. Why the mixed messages? It has to do with 3 issues—portion size, potassium and fluid.

  • Portion: The typical portion is a wedge of watermelon—equal to about 3 cups. For a dialysis diet that includes limited potassium and fluid, a wedge of watermelon contributes too much potassium and fluid. Most dietitians advise limiting watermelon to a 1 cup serving. Instead of cutting a wedge, cut the watermelon into bite-size pieces and measure into a cup.
  • Potassium: Knowing how many fruits and vegetables to eat and the best portion size is essential to controlling potassium intake. A wedge of watermelon contributes 560 mg potassium but a smaller 1 cup serving contains only 180 mg potassium. Since a one cup portion of watermelon is smaller than a typical portion, try measuring your servings until you can successfully guesstimate a 1 cup portion. You can also cut your portion into small triangular pieces as sometime seen when watermelon is placed on a salad bar or used as a garnish. Most other melons are much higher in potassium compared to watermelon. For this reason watermelon is usually the only melon included in a low potassium diet plan.
  • Fluid: It’s easy to exceed your fluid goals if you don’t count watermelon as part of your fluid intake. That’s because watermelon is 92% fluid and has little fiber. A wedge of watermelon has close to 3 cups of fluid!  For dialysis patients on a fluid restriction, watermelon is limited to 1 cup and may be counted as a replacement for fluid if water weight gains are a concern.

Nutritionally, watermelon is a good source of vitamin C, beta carotene and lycopene, a phytochemical with antioxidant activity that may protect against cancer. As mentioned, when consumed in small portions it is also low in potassium, and naturally very low in phosphorus and sodium.

Once available only during summer months, watermelon is now available year round in most large markets. Consider adding watermelon to your favorite fresh fruit salad. Make summer salsa with watermelon as a replacement for tomato. For a special refreshing watermelon treat, try Watermelon Cooler from the DaVita.com kidney-diet recipe collection.


Kidney diet resources from DaVita.com

    Search blog


    Subscribe to
    this blog

    Enter your email address:

    Share this blog

    About this blog

    Learn about the renal diet, get tips, and stay informed. Learn more

    Monthly Recipe Alerts

    Image: Recipe Alerts Sign up at DaVita.com for a monthly update on new kidney-friendly recipes.
    Sign up for recipe alerts »

    Discussion forums

    Image: DaVita 
        Discussion forum Join in or just read what others are saying.
    Check out the forums »


    Image: Your Kidneys Empower and educate yourself about kidney disease, kidney disease symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
    See YourKidneys.com »

    RSS Feed

© 2004-2013 DaVita Inc. All rights reserved. Web usage privacy | Privacy of medical information | Terms of use | FAQs | RSS
This site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from a physician.
Please check with a physician if you need a diagnosis and/or for treatments as well as information regarding your specific condition. If you are experiencing urgent medical conditions, call 9-1-1