Kidney Diet Tips

F is for Fish

Choose a meal from the sea—fish provides high quality protein, a nutrient encouraged in limited amounts in a pre-dialysis diet and increased in a dialysis diet.

Fresh fish is naturally low in sodium, fat and cholesterol—even the fatty fish are low fat compared to many red meat cuts. Potassium and phosphorus content varies with the fish variety–catfish, cod, orange roughy, sea bass and sole are among the lowest. Salmon contains higher amounts of potassium and phosphorus but can still be worked into a kidney diet by combining it with lower potassium sides and adjusting phosphorus binders if needed. It’s best to avoid fish canned with bones—some salmon, sardines—because phosphorus is very high. Tuna fish is probably the most popular canned fish. Choose the low sodium canned or rinse in water for at least one minute to reduce sodium by 30 to 50%.

Salmon and other fatty fish like mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids, shown to protect against heart disease, stroke and possibly help decrease chronic inflammation when consumed 2-3 times a week.

Fish is easy to prepare—try it grilled, baked, microwaved, fried or poached.
Some popular fish recipes on include:

Sara Colman, RDN, CDCES

Sara Colman, RDN, CDCES

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 30 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 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.