Kidney Diet Tips


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O is for Onion–low in potassium, high in flavor for your kidney diet

iStock_000002391948Onion      Regardless of if you consider it a seasoning, a vegetable serving or a sandwich topper, onions are one of the most versatile vegetables included in a kidney friendly diet.

Onions are low in sodium, potassium and phosphorus, regardless of the color or variety.

  • One 1/4-inch slice from a large onion contains 2 mg sodium, 55 mg potassium and 11 mg phosphorus.
  • ½ cup chopped, raw onion contains 3 mg sodium, 117 mg potassium and 23 mg phosphorus.
  • ½ cup chopped raw scallions, tops and bulb contains 8 mg sodium, 138 mg potassium and 18 mg phosphorus.
  • ½ cup tiny whole onions, boiled contains 8 mg sodium, 106 mg potassium and 2 mg phosphorus.

Health benefits of the onion comes from plant chemicals  such as flavonoids, phenols and quercetin, which are associated with anti-inflammatory and  antioxidant actions, cholesterol lowering and cancer protection.
Add a punch of healthy onion flavor to your kidney diet by trying some of these ideas:

  • Sauté chopped onion in olive oil to add to vegetables, soups, casseroles and meat dishes
  • Serve sliced raw onion on sandwiches, burgers and salads
  • Caramelize onions to top cooked meats or make onion soup
  • Make onion rings
  • Mix onion pieces in with bell peppers, mushrooms and zucchini to roast in the oven or cook on the grill
  • Use powdered or minced onion to flavor any savory dish
  • Serve fresh green onions on the side to compliment any meat or poultry dish
  • Make pickled onions by marinating thin slices in vinegar with a little sweetener if desired. has over 600 kidney-friendly recipes. Here are some low potassium, low phosphorus, low sodium recipes that use onions to boost flavor:

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DaVita Diet Helper

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 20 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 currently 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.