Kidney Diet Tips

Kidney Diet Meal Planning Made Easy

Thinking of meal planning is an overwhelming task for most, especially when factoring in different diets, restrictions and personal food preferences. Taking the time to plan and prep meals can also be difficult between the numerous appointments and dialysis. Despite the initial commitment, meal planning can help to reduce the stress of figuring out daily meals while ensuring healthier diet choices and saving money.

Meal Planning Tips

The key to successful meal planning is making a plan and staying on course. Here are some tips for planning your meals:

  • Determine a time frame (weekly, monthly)
    • Use a calendar or notepad to plan
    • Include appointments and commitments
    • Make list of favorite meals and foods
  • Ask your dietitian for meal ideas
    • Incorporate traditional family recipes and meals
    • Utilize for over 1,200 kidney-friendly recipes
    • Join the myDaVita community and get access to our cookbooks and the ability to save your favorite recipes.
  • Review weekly grocery store ads and take advantage of sales
    • Use the local sales feature on the DaVita Diet Helper grocery shopping list

Weekly Meals

It may be easiest to start off planning weekly meals. First, dedicate time each week to meal planning and take in to account the busiest days of the upcoming week. If your schedule allows, starting on the weekend can help so that you can have extra time for meal preparation. Remember to count in days you may be away from your home and need to dine out.  Knowing what’s to come in the week ahead can help determine the number of meals to include in your plan.

Next, start making a list of meals using the tips above. It is best to plan easier meals or leftovers on busier days. If there is a day with extra time, use that for cooking ahead for the week or adding freezer meals. Take in to consideration special dietary needs such as additional protein and/or low sodium, potassium and phosphorus. Many traditional family recipes can be modified to fit the kidney diet. To save money you can also review the local grocery store ads and incorporate sale items into your menu planning. 

Meal planning, like many new tasks, can be overwhelming at first so don’t give up! Start off slow and work your way into it. If you are a caregiver, look on for meal plans and kidney-friendly recipes to help with planning meals for your loved one. Read “Caregiver Stress and Chronic Kidney Disease” for some tips to help if you feel overwhelmed at times. Once you are comfortable with meal planning it will make life easier and help you and your loved ones to eat healthier. In addition, it allows extra time to do the things you love.

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.

Jessica Triggs, MPH, RDN

Jessica Triggs, MPH, RDN

Jessica has been a registered dietitian for over 10 years with nearly all of that time working with the renal population. She is passionate about the power of food in improving the health of our communities. She grew up on a farm in Kansas and enjoys gardening and incorporating farm fresh foods in to a healthy diet for her family. Jessica and her husband have two young daughters with whom they enjoy traveling.