Kidney Diet Tips

Food Trends Made Kidney-Friendly: Part 1

If you are on social media, you have likely seen many new recipes or foods “go viral” this year. However, you may wonder if these foods and recipes are safe for your kidney diet. Here are four food trends and ways to make them more kidney-friendly.

1. Charcuterie Boards

Charcuterie boards are popular appetizers featuring a serving board topped with cured foods such as deli meat, cheese, pickles, bread and crackers. Unfortunately, many of these foods may not be appropriate for a kidney diet. Here are some healthier alternatives you can use to make your own kidney-friendly charcuterie board:

  • Unprocessed, low-sodium chicken, turkey or roast beef (instead of ham or salami)
  • Swiss, cottage, or cream cheese (they’re lower in sodium and phosphorus)
  • Unsalted or low-sodium pretzels, Melba Toast, low-sodium bread sticks or crackers
  • Low-sodium fresh veggies such as celery, cucumber, carrots or bell peppers
  • Low-potassium fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, grapes, or apple slices
  • Hummus and peanut butter (limit portion size and choose low-sodium or homemade versions when available) Recipes to Try

Garlic Oyster Crackers

Addictive Pretzels

Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini

Lemon Pepper Hummus

2. Butter Boards

Butter boards are a recent charcuterie-inspired trend featuring serving boards topped with a thick coating of butter with a variety of toppings. Salted butter is typically used for these boards, but unsalted butter is better for people with kidney disease. You can use kidney-friendly toppings such as:

  • Salt-free seasoning blends
  • Fresh herbs
  • Fruit spreads or jams made from low-potassium fruits (cranberry, raspberry or apricot)
  • Spicy sauces
  • Roasted garlic or honey drizzle

The flavored butter can then be spread onto unsalted or low-sodium crackers, toasted French or sourdough bread, pita bread and much more. Recipes to Try

Salt-Free Cajun Seasoning

Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

3. Plant-Based Proteins

Plant-based foods have become more popular recently. You don’t have to become a vegetarian or vegan, but incorporating more plant-based foods in your meals may have health benefits. (Read “Benefits of Plant-Based Eating in Kidney Disease, Part 1” to learn more.) Beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and soy products are all examples of plant-based protein. These foods are a great source of protein and fiber, but they can contain more phosphorus and potassium than meat. Be sure to ask your dietitian or doctor for tips on how to safely incorporate more of these foods into your kidney diet. Recipes to Try

Vegetarian Egg Fried Rice Chikn Noodle Soup

Vegetarian Italian Wedding Soup

Today’s Kidney Diet cookbook: Plant Based Eating

4. Plant-Based Milks

Milk substitutes are a popular alternative to traditional cow’s milk and may be helpful for people with an intolerance or allergy to dairy. While milk substitutes made from almonds, cashews, soy, rice or oats are not new, there are some new kinds of non-milk “milks.” Recently, sesame, macadamia, potato and pistachio milk have been added to the list. However, since store-bought, plant-based milks are often enriched with calcium or phosphate additives, or may have high amounts of potassium, be sure to discuss with your doctor or dietitian first. Recipes to Try

Homemade Rice Milk

Homemade Almond Milk

Vanilla Milk Alternative

Watch for Food Trends Made Kidney-Friendly: Part 2, where we’ll share even more ideas for making food trends kidney-friendly.

Additional Kidney Diet Resources

Visit and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

DaVita Food Analyzer

DaVita Dining Out Guides

Today’s Kidney Diet Cookbooks

DaVita Kidney-Friendly Recipes

Diet and Nutrition Articles                                                                              

Diet and Nutrition Videos

Kidney Smart® Virtual Classes

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Natalie Sexton, MS, RDN, CSR, LD

Natalie Sexton, MS, RDN, CSR, LD

Natalie is a registered dietitian and Board Certified Specialist in Renal Nutrition. She has and continues to work in many different healthcare settings including acute care hospitals, LTACHs, nursing homes, private practice, wellness companies, outpatient clinics, research, and writing. She stays busy but loves all of her jobs! When she’s not working, she fills her time with family, friends, pets, gardening, crafting, reading, and learning new hobbies.