Kidney Diet Tips

R is for rice, a kidney-friendly staple

Rice is a food staple for large numbers of people around the world, especially throughout Asia. During milling the bran and hull are removed from brown rice to produce white rice. This process reduces potassium and phosphorus content since the bran is where these nutrients are concentrated. For this reason white rice is a great choice when limiting potassium and phosphorus intake on a kidney diet.

Wild rice, brown rice and white rice are available with white being the most popular. Look for long grain rice if you desire intact rice grains after cooking or select short or medium grain rice for sticky rice dishes like desserts or risotto. Popular rice dishes include crispy or puffed rice cereal, cream of rice, rice porridge, or congee for breakfast and rice pudding for dessert. Steamed rice is the way rice is most frequently served, but stir-fried rice runs a close second. Rice products include rice flour used to make rice milk and many varieties of rice noodles. Rice crackers and rice cakes are tasty rice snacks.

To prepare rice, boil it in an equal amount of water or use an electric rice cooker. Save leftover rice for next-day stir-fry or dessert recipes.

In addition to being low in potassium and phosphorus, rice is naturally low in sodium and rich in carbohydrate. One cup of cooked rice contains approximately 200 calories, 4 g protein, 44 g carbohydrate, 2 mg sodium, 55 mg potassium and 68 mg phosphorus. In comparison, a cup of brown rice has 84 mg potassium and 163 mg phosphorus. A cup of wild rice has 165 mg potassium and 135 mg phosphorus.

There are many varieties of rice such as jasmine, basmati and Calrose. Each variety has different characteristics and flavors. If you are tired of  ‘the same old rice’ try different varieties to experience new flavors.

If you enjoy trivia go to Freerice to answer questions and support rice donations through the World Food Programme to help end hunger. offers many rice-based recipes. Here are some of my favorites:

Arroz Con Leche

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Cranberry and Roasted Garlic Risotto

Dirty Rice

Elegant and Easy Lemon Rice with Vegetables

Rice and Chile Salad with Creamy Vinaigrette Dressing

Rice Pilaf

Shrimp Fried Rice

Vegetarian Egg Fried Rice

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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.