Renal Diet, Pre-Dialysis

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is when the kidneys are not working the way they should. There are 5 stages of kidney disease. Your meal plan will depend on the stage you are diagnosed with. Food can make you healthier and keep your kidneys working well. Use this sheet to help you learn how to eat right to feel right.

A Registered Dietitian can help you with this meal plan. Write down your dietician's name and phone number.


Food gives you energy and helps your body repair itself. Food is broken down in your stomach and intestines. Your blood picks up nutrients from the digested food and carries them to all your body cells. These cells take nutrients from your blood and put waste products back into the bloodstream. When your kidneys were healthy, they constantly removed wastes from your blood. The wastes left your body when you urinated or when you had bowel movements.

Now that your kidneys cannot remove wastes from food, you will need to eat fewer foods that cause waste buildup in the body.


Most people with CKD do not need to restrict fluid. However, if you are retaining fluid in your legs, your caregiver may recommend restricting fluids.

Ask and record the amount of fluid you can have each day if instructed by your caregiver.


Potassium is a mineral found in many foods, especially milk, fruits, and vegetables. It affects how steadily your heart beats. Healthy kidneys keep the right amount of potassium in the blood to keep the heart beating at a steady pace. You may need to restrict potassium. Talk to your caregiver or dietitian to learn more about your potassium needs.

If you do need to reduce the potassium in your diet, start by noting the high-potassium foods (below) that you now eat. A dietitian can help you add other foods to the list and tell you how much of the foods below to eat.

High-Potassium Foods

  • Apricots.

  • Brussels sprouts.

  • Dates.

  • Lima beans.

  • Oranges.

  • Prune juice.

  • Spinach.

  • Avocados.

  • Milk.

  • Figs.

  • Melons.

  • Peanuts.

  • Prunes.

  • Tomatoes.

  • Bananas.

  • Cantaloupe.

  • Kiwi fruit.

  • Nectarines.

  • Asparagus spears.

  • Raisins.

  • Winter squash.

  • Beets.

  • Clams.

  • Fruit.

  • Orange juice.

  • Potatoes.

  • Sardines.

  • Yogurt.


  • Phosphorus is a mineral found in many foods. If you have too much phosphorus in your blood, it pulls calcium from your bones. Losing calcium will make your bones weak and likely to break. Also, too much phosphorus may make your skin itch. Avoid foods like milk and cheese, dried beans, peas, colas, nuts, and peanut butter, which are high in phosphorus.

  • Your needs will depend on your kidney's ability to use phosphorous. Your dietitian can tell you how much of these foods to eat.


  • It is important to follow a low-protein diet. A lower protein diet will slow the rate of your kidney failure.

  • Protein helps you keep muscle and repair tissue. In your body, the protein you eat breaks down into a waste product called urea. If urea builds up in your blood, you can become very sick.

Ask and record how many servings of meat, fish, chicken, or eggs you may eat per day. Your dietitian may give you a specific number of grams of protein to eat daily. One ounce of meat, fish, chicken, or 1 egg is equal to 7 g. A regular serving size is about the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards and is 3 oz in weight and 21 g of protein. 


  • Sodium is found in salt and other foods. Most canned foods and frozen dinners contain large amounts of sodium.

  • Try to eat fresh foods that are naturally low in sodium. Look for products labeled "low sodium."

  • Do not use salt substitutes because they contain potassium. Talk to a dietitian about spices you can use to flavor your food. The dietitian can help you find spice blends without sodium or potassium.


  • Take only the vitamins that your caregiver prescribes.

  • Vitamins and minerals may be missing from your diet because you need to avoid so many foods. Your caregiver may prescribe a vitamin and mineral supplement to meet your needs.