Kidney Diet Tips


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Staying on Track with Your Kidney or Dialysis Diet: Match Your Mind Set

Last time I blogged about the kidney diet reality and goals. This week is all about how your mind set helps you stay on track. 

There are different mind sets that help people stay on track with their kidney diet meal plan. For some of you, it is ‘all or nothing’. You do best with a list of foods to eat and a list of foods to avoid to manage protein, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and fluid.  Plain and simple, no gray areas and fewer decisions to make.

For others, you prefer ‘following the numbers’ and tracking what you eat. For example if your goal is 2000 mg potassium a day, you may learn to work in some high potassium foods, even though it  means limiting how much or how often, as long as your daily potassium total stays under 2000 mg. The Nutrition Log in DaVita Diet Helper is a great tracking tool for you to show you how much protein, potassium, sodium and phosphorus in the foods you eat.

Following preplanned menus is another way to stay on track if you prefer the ‘tell me exactly what to eat’ mindset. Knowing what to eat and not worrying about the numbers is much easier for some kidney patients. You will find the preplanned meals in DaVita Diet Helper useful because you don’t have to do any calculating to meet your diet goals. All the planning is done; you simply select the meals that are most appealing to you. After following these meals you learn which foods can be included and which ones are limited, making it easier to plan your own meals over time.

Another mind set is ‘what I don’t know can’t hurt me’. If you think this way, you may not be ready to accept or deal with the changes that will keep you healthier. By learning more about your chronic kidney disease or dialysis, focusing on foods that are good for kidney patients, and incorporating new recipes you like, you can progress to a better place and start making changes that will help you feel better and manage your kidney disease in a healthier way. For you, the Kidney-friendly Recipe section of is a good place to start. I also recommend a visit to the Diet and Nutrition section to find articles that will help your better understand your kidney diet.

Many of us are a combination of all the mindsets described, and what works may vary or change depending on your circumstances. There are many resources and tools to help kidney patients like you learn more and incorporate the kidney diet into  your life. If you feel alone, reach out to others dealing with diet issues by joining the DaVita discussion forums. The subforum ‘Diet/Nutrition’ is a place to post questions, read about  how people with kidney disease have figured out the diet, and receive help from the kidney community.

What’s your mindset that helps you stay on track?

Kidney diet resources from

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.