Kidney Diet Tips

K is for Kale– A healthy green for a low potassium diet

Kale(This post is part of a series focusing on healthy foods for kidney diets.)

One challenge people with chronic kidney disease face when following a low potassium renal diet is choosing healthy lower potassium vegetables.  Cooked greens are often placed in the limit or avoid category and assumed to be high in potassium. Indeed, some greens, like beet greens, spinach and chard contain over 400 mg potassium per in a 1/2 cup serving.

Kale is a lower potassium cooked green. Potassium content ranges from 150 to 210 mg for 1/2 cup raw or boiled. Of course sticking with a 1/2 cup portion is important. You may be tempted to eat more of this tasty green, but remember a large serving can double or triple potassium intake.

This hardy leafy green vegetable is from the cabbage family. It has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and contains sulphoraphane, an anti-cancer plant chemical. Kale is a good source of vitamin K, beta carotene, vitamin C and calcium.

There are several popular ways to prepare kale:

  • Boil, drain and season with vinegar or mustard and red pepper flakes
  • Sauté it with garlic and onion; season it with low sodium sausage or low sodium bacon
  • Add kale to mixed vegetables or soup
  • Mix kale with cooked pasta, olive oil, bell peppers, garlic and seasonings
  • Cut kale crosswise into thin slices and add to a salad.

The next time you’re looking for a way to expand your kidney diet choices, try kale as a healthy addition to a low potassium diet.

Need help with your kidney diet? Checkout DaVita Diet Helper, the only online meal planner available for chronic kidney disease and dialysis diets.

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.