About Kidney Kitchen

Food often has deeper meaning to people beyond simply satisfying hunger.

Food is tied to culture, family tradition, social gatherings, and even sense of self. One of the greatest challenges of kidney disease, as you may know well, is having to change what you eat and drink. Though these changes require adjustments, kidney disease should not take the joy out of food and eating.

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) recognizes the challenges individuals with kidney disease face as they adjust to a “new normal” which includes new eating, drinking and nutrition requirements.  After receiving numerous questions, concerns, and stories from people with kidney disease about diet and nutrition, AKF created Kidney Kitchen™ – a website dedicated to helping people with kidney disease navigate healthy eating. Kidney Kitchen focuses on what you can eat and drink, rather than what you cannot, because you should be empowered to make positive food and fluid choices without feeling burdened or discouraged.

In Kidney Kitchen, you can take a deep dive into what each nutrient means for people with kidney disease, and how much of these nutrients common foods contain. Learn what healthy eating means for people in every stage of kidney disease, including those on dialysis or living with a kidney transplant. Check out basic and practical cooking techniques, and even some kidney disease cooking hacks. And, try out all kinds of kidney-friendly recipes, watch cooking videos, and download our guides.

About Nutrition Guidelines

Food guides

AKF used the Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI) guidelines for Nutrition in Chronic Renal Failure to determine the values of low, medium, and high levels of potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and protein in foods.

Recipes

The classification of nutrient ranges for recipes were determined based on the daily goal values outlined in KDOQI guidelines for Nutrition in Chronic Renal Failure

The KDOQI guidelines do not provide classifications for low, medium, and high nutrient values in recipes, therefore AKF consulted with renal dietitians to create a classification system. 

AKF made these classifications to make it easier for you to explore our collection of recipes. Consider AKF’s classification of recipes as a starting point for you to. work with a dietitian to know if a food or recipe is healthy for you.

NutrientValue
Sodium1500 mg or less
Potassium2000 mg or less
Phosphorus800-1000 mg
ProteinSee below
Daily Protein RecommendationWomenMen
Stage 5 on dialysis:72-78 gm (10-11 oz)84-93 gm (12-13 oz)
Stage 3, 4, 5 (non-dialysis)35-42 gm (5-6 oz)42-56 gm (6-8 oz)
Stage: 1 & 246 gm (6-7 oz)56 gm (8 oz)

American Kidney Fund Recipe Classifications

NutrientLow (per serving)Medium (per serving)High (per serving)
Sodium140 mg or less141 mg – 399 mg400 mg or more
Potassium300 mg or less301 mg – 599 mg600 mg or more
Phosphorus150 mg or less151 mg – 299 mg300 mg or more
Protein7 gm or less9 gm – 20 gm21 gm or more

Key:

  • gm = gram(s)
  • mg = milligram(s)
  • oz = ounce(s)

Kidney Kitchen is your go-to resource to help you take charge of eating healthy with kidney disease.

Disclaimer

Kidney Kitchen is not designed to diagnose disease or prescribe an eating plan for your stage of kidney disease. The information shared on Kidney Kitchen is developed by experts in renal nutrition and is provided for informational purposes only.  The American Kidney Fund, its staff, agents and Trustees are not able to provide medical advice. Please consult with a medical professional or registered dietitian for specific questions you may have about your diet.

Every person’s body absorbs and processes foods and nutrients differently. Not everyone with kidney disease will or should follow the same daily nutrient recommendations. Recipes listed as having a “low” or “moderate” amount of a nutrient might have the right amount for some, but too much for others. 

Before making any changes to your diet, speak with a dietitian. Some health insurance plans will cover visits to a dietitian for people in earlier stages of kidney disease. If you are on dialysis, your dialysis center will provide you with a dietitian, whether you do in-center or home dialysis. To check whether a dietitian consultation is covered under your health insurance plan, call the phone number on the back of your insurance card, or find the phone number online, and ask to speak to a representative about your plan.

A dietitian may suggest which blood tests you should have and can review your bloodwork results with you to understand the true levels of potassium and phosphorus in your body. A urine test can look at whether protein is slipping into your urine. Based on the results of these tests, a dietitian can give you a better idea of how much of certain nutrients you as an individual should be consuming in food and beverages. Ask your dietitian for a recommendation for the amounts of nutrients you should have daily to stay healthy. Write this amount down or put in in your phone so you don’t forget!

The American Kidney Fund would like to thank Carolyn Feibig, MS, RD, LDN for contributing to the development of the educational content for Kidney Kitchen.