Kidney Diet Tips

Soup and Salad: A Perfect Combination

A common misconception about the kidney diet is that it is bland and limited. One way you can achieve a varied diet that supports your dietitian’s recommendations is by getting creative with new food combinations like soups and salads.

Soups and salads are a timeless combination that can be enjoyed year-round. There are plenty of hearty as well as lighter options to savor when following a kidney diet. In addition to revving up your protein intake and providing fiber, soups and salads are an excellent way to creatively incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet. For example, diced apples and cucumbers make a crunchy addition to any salad, while a variety of low-potassium vegetables, such as carrots, celery, cauliflower and mushrooms, are often key ingredients in soups. Check out “Six Salad and Soup Combinations” for some of our favorite soup and salad pairings. In addition, download a copy of the new Today’s Kidney Diet Salads and Soups cookbook.

Potassium and Sodium

Potassium is an electrolyte that is normally regulated by the kidneys and helps muscles work properly, including your heart. For patients in late stage kidney failure or on hemodialysis, potassium needs to be closely monitored. Side effects of elevated potassium may include weakness, muscle cramps, irregular heart beat and heart attack.

If you have been encouraged by your renal dietitian to monitor your intake of certain electrolytes, such as potassium or sodium, watching portion sizes and making simple substitutions can help. Replace a high-potassium fruit or vegetable with a low-potassium alternative. For example, add dried cranberries instead of raisins to a salad. Swap canned tomatoes with chopped red bell peppers, and replace winter squash with summer squash. Make your own low-sodium salad dressing using a kidney-friendly recipe. If you are selecting low-sodium products, such as pre-made broths for soup, remember to read the ingredients list to check for potassium chloride (KCl) or other potassium additives.

What is Low Potassium?

Low-potassium foods contain less than 250 mg of potassium per serving, with a serving size equaling 1/2 cup or 4 ounces, unless otherwise specified. Potatoes are a high-potassium food; however, there are two methods that can help leach out approximately 50 to 75% of the potassium: The Soak Method and the Double Boil Method. For more information on these methods, read “Lowering Potassium in Potatoes or watch our quick video, How to Lower Potassium in Potatoes.  

Consult with your dietitian for more tips and tricks to help make your diet more kidney-friendly. If adding potatoes to soup, use one of these methods to reduce potassium before adding to your soup pot.

Soup and Salad Recipes

Try one of these soup and salad combinations:

Additional Kidney Diet Resources

Visit and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

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.

Nicole Sebold, MS, RD

Nicole Sebold, MS, RD

Nicole has been a registered dietitian for 6 years, serving over three of those years as a renal dietitian working with both in-center and home dialysis patients. She enjoys traveling, hiking and spending time with her husband and daughter. Due to her passion for renal nutrition, Nicole is currently working on becoming a board certified specialist in renal nutrition.