Kidney Diet Tips

Kidney-Friendly Lucky New Year's Meal

According to some traditions, eating certain foods on New Year’s Day is supposed to bring you good fortune in the year to come. Traditions vary from culture to culture, but the most traditional New Year’s Day foods in the South are black-eyed peas, Hoppin’ John, cooked greens, pot likker soup and cornbread.

Black-eyed peas

Black-eyed peas are thought to be a symbol of wealth since their round shape resembles coins. Warning: beans and peas are high-phosphorus foods! To help keep your phosphorus and potassium at a safe level and protect your bones and heart, limit portions to a 1/2 cup serving. Don’t forget to take your phosphorus binders.

Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John is a classic, black-eyed pea stew made with onions, celery, green bell pepper, chicken broth and a ham hock. Pork is another New Year’s Day staple since many cultures believe that a pig, with its rooting and pushing forward movements, symbolizes progress. To reduce the sodium content, use low (or no) sodium chicken broth and season with garlic, black pepper and cayenne pepper instead of salt.

Cooked Greensdva-collardgreens_0984_small

Leafy greens are a staple New Year’s item because their leaves look like money, thus symbolizing a prosperous or wealthy year. However, some greens may contain too much potassium for patients following a low potassium diet. Low-potassium leafy greens include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, mustard greens and turnip greens. Limit servings to no more than two 1/2-cup servings per day to stay within your potassium goal.

This recipe for Cabbage Borscht includes cabbage and turnips. Show me the money!

Pot Likker Soup

Don’t throw away the broth from your cooked greens just yet! This leftover, nutrient-rich broth referred to as “pot likker” can be added to some onion, garlic, cooked greens, and ham hocks to make a delicious vegetable soup. But, don’t forget, broth or any sort of liquid counts towards your total fluid intake for the day. Be sure to limit your fluid to the prescribed amount if you are on a fluid restriction. Pot likker  contains potassium from the cooked greens. If you are on a low potassium diet limit the amount consumed.


Need something to sop up that pot likker soup? Cornbread is the perfect choice! Cornbread also represents money or wealth because of its gold color. However, boxed cornbread mix can contain extra phosphorus and sodium (salt). Check out this kidney-friendly recipe for Southern-style Cornbread on Do you want more recipes containing these lucky foods? Check out DaVita recipes. While adding these foods to your New Year’s Day menu can bring you a prosperous year, making them kidney-friendly can help make it a healthy year too!

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.