Kidney Diet Tips

DaVita Diet Helper “How to” Part 3: Using the Meal Planner to plan your own meals

Today’s post covers using the Meal Planner feature of DaVita Diet Helper to plan meals for a day, week or month. Pre-planned meals take the worry out of what to eat on a kidney diet, but planning your own meals allows you to select foods you like and plan from what’s on hand in your pantry and refrigerator. There are two ways you can use DaVita Diet Helper to plan your own meals. You can use the database to add recipes and foods in the Meal Planner section for each day, or you can first create meals using the “My Meal Creations” feature, then add the meals in the Meal Planner. I prefer the second option because the meal ingredients are entered only once and saved for future meal planning. This works great for meals that consistently contain the same items.

To plan your own meals in the Meal Planner first go to “View Day” for the day you are planning.  Remove the pre-planned, DaVita suggested meals by clicking on the delete icon for each meal occasion.

Diet Helper Add ItemsNext, click the Add Item button. The box that opens allows you to search for a recipe or food from the Diet Helper database or you can select an item from My Favorites, My Foods, My Meals or My Recipes—items you add to your personal DaVita Diet Helper database.

Select the foods, recipes or meals you want to plan for each meal occasion. After you have planned meals for the day, scroll down to the Nutrition Facts at the bottom to compare actual nutrients to your target nutrients. If necessary you can make adjustments in portions or items selected to be sure you are within your goal for important nutrients like protein, phosphorus, potassium and sodium.

Diet Helper Nutrients

Next, click on any of the recipes in your meal and select ‘printer-friendly version’ to print the recipe. You also have the option to include nutritional information on your recipe. Continue the above steps until you have planned your meals for the week or time period desired. Use the Monthly Meal Plan feature to print a menu that includes the meals you have planned.

A second way you can use DaVita Diet Helper to plan meals is to first create your meals using the My Meal Creations feature. I will detail how this feature works in a future post, but it’s easy to figure out. From the Diet Helper dashboard or drop down menu select “My Meal Creations”, then “Add New Meal”.  Plan and save your meal. Now return to the Meal Planner and instead of typing in the foods and recipes for your meal simply select the meal from “My Meals”.

DaVita Diet Helper makes planning kidney diets easy—and you have a choice to plan your own meals or use the meals already planned to meet your daily nutrient targets.

The next DaVita Diet Helper “How to” covers creating your own recipes and meals using the My Creations feature.

Resources from

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 20 years experience working with people with diabetes and kidney disease. She is co-author of the popular kidney cookbook "Cooking for David: A Culinary Dialysis Cookbook". Sara is currently the Manager of Kidney Care Nutrition for DaVita. She analyzes recipes and creates content, resources and tools for the kidney community. In her spare time Sara loves to spend time with her young grandson, including fun times together in her kitchen.