Kidney Diet Tips

Is Rice an Acceptable Food for a Kidney Diet?


Plain white rice is a great choice for kidney diets because it is generally low in sodium (2-3 mg), potassium (12-50 mg) and phosphorus (11-45 mg). The same half cup serving of rice contains approximately 100 to 120 calories, 22 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams protein and 0 grams fat.

For people with diabetes, the carbs can add up, so it’s best to measure cooked rice and balance with other carbohydrate foods at a meal. 1/3 cup cooked rice is equal to one starch or carbohydrate serving.

Brown rice and wild rice are higher in potassium and phosphorus than white rice. Why? Because the bran is where most of the potassium and phosphorus are found. A single tablespoon of rice bran contains 124 mg potassium and 110 mg phosphorus. Once bran is removed, the refined white rice is a perfect fit for a renal diet.

Many rice products are acceptable for kidney diets—rice cakes, rice cereal, rice crackers, rice bread, plain rice vinegar and rice milk beverage (the ones without added calcium and phosphorus). Always read labels for sodium—it’s high in many processed rice products. Seasoned rice mixes, fried rice, Spanish rice, rice noodles, rice and bean mixes and rice pilaf contain 400 to 800 mg sodium for a single serving. Ramen soup, also made from rice noodles has up to 1500 mg sodium a bowl.

Lower sodium rice recipes are available on several kidney recipe websites. Check out these recipes on

Autumn Wild Rice,-pasta-and-breads/a/278

Caraway Cabbage and Rice,-pasta-and-breads/a/443

Dirty Rice,-pasta-and-breads/a/502

Elegant & Easy Lemon Rice with Vegetables,-pasta-and-breads/a/554

Rice Pilaf,-pasta-and-breads/a/591

Spanish Rice,-pasta-and-breads/a/457

Rice Pudding

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.