Kidney disease stages 3, 4 and 5 (non-dialysis)

Many suggestions for healthy eating for people without chronic disease apply for people with CKD stage 3, 4 and 5 non-dialysis. But there are some MAJOR differences

You need to limit the amount and type of protein you eat. It has been shown that reducing how much protein and changing the types of protein you eat can help save some kidney function at this stage.

The current recommendation is 0.6 – 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight when you are in the later stages of kidney disease. For the average male* this equals about 6 – 8 ounces of protein (42 -56 grams) daily. For the average female* this equals about 5 – 6 ounces (35-42 grams) of protein daily. Aim for 2 – 3 daily lean protein servings and avoid fatty protein sources such as red meat: beef, bison, lamb, pork, and venison.

Protein servings examples:

  • ½ cup of beans (7 grams)
  • 1 large egg (6 grams)
  • 3 ounces of chicken, (23 grams)
  • 3 ounces of turkey or fish (16 grams)

Limiting salt is also important, because eating salt can cause your body to hold extra fluid. This can cause swelling in your feet and ankles and over work your heart. You may need to monitor the amount of potassium you eat and how much fluid you drink. These requirements vary from person to person because everyone’s kidney function in these stages are slightly different. Follow your doctor’s instructions.

You should visit your nephrologists (kidney doctor) often to stay on top of your health. You can ask your nephrologists for recommendations on the amount of potassiumprotein, and salt you should eat. Your doctor may recommend that you drink fewer fluids.

Check out this printable list of high, medium, and low potassium foods and list of high, medium, and low protein foods

What YOU can do through the foods you eat to keep kidney disease from getting worse and delay starting dialysis or needing a kidney transplant:

  • Eat a smaller portion of protein at meals
  • Choose lean proteins like: chicken, turkey, fish, beans or soy products – tofu, edamame, tempeh and soy milk
  • Avoid red meat: beef, pork, bison, lamb, and venison
  • Eat a lot of fresh or frozen non-starchy vegetables (Remember, you may need to start choosing lower potassium vegetables)
  • Choose water instead of sports drinks or sodas because they can have a lot of added sodium, potassium and calories (remember, you may need to start restricting the amount of fluid you drink)
  • Cook at home
  • Cook with very little oil and salt
  • Choose no salt added canned and jarred products
  • Add herbs and spices instead of salt to your dishes for BIG flavor
  • Choose whole grains (like brown rice) instead of refined grains (like white rice)
  • Use a small plate, 9 or 10 inches, to make your portion size look larger by taking up more space on the plate

Other ways to stay healthy:

  • Add an extra daily activity – for example take a brisk walk after dinner
  • Attend regular checkups with your doctor
  • Manage your blood sugar and blood pressure as prescribed by your doctor
  • Maintain a healthy weight
    • If you are overweight, a weight loss of even 5 – 10% of body weight has been proven to have many health benefits including improved blood sugars, blood pressure, heart health, and kidney function

*Average male: 5’10” a healthy weight range is between 129 -174 pounds. A weight of 155 pounds (BMI 22.2) was used for all protein recommendations.

*Average female: 5’4” a healthy weight range is between 108 – 145 pounds. A weight of 130 pounds (BMI 22.3) was used for all protein recommendations.