Jan 3, 2024 • 9 min read

7-Day Meal Plan for Kidney Disease (CKD): Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, & Snacks

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Like with any other organ, the kidneys are susceptible to disease. Kidney disease occurs when your kidneys become damaged. This can be the result of certain conditions like hypertension, uncontrolled diabetes, heart disease, kidney stones, or others. 

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is when the kidneys become so damaged, they can no longer filter blood properly. This can cause excess fluid accumulation as well as other health conditions such as heart disease or stroke.

There are different stages of CKD. If left untreated, CKD can become end-stage renal disease (ESRD), or kidney failure which requires a kidney transplant or dialysis treatment for survival. 

Following a CKD diet can help to reduce the progression of the disease. A kidney disease diet typically includes choosing foods that are low in protein, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium.

This can be a challenge for many to follow and not everyone with CKD will have these restrictions. If you have CKD, be sure to talk to your doctor about your dietary limitations. This often depends on your CKD stage.

For those who are trying to follow a general kidney disease or CKD diet, below you’ll find a 7-day meal plan with information on the best foods to eat, which to avoid, and everything else you need to know.

7-day meal plan for kidney disease

Adequate nutrition is important for everyone, especially those who suffer from CKD. Consuming the right foods for CKD can slow the progression of the disease, reduce the frequency of infections, prevent muscle loss, and more. However, making dietary changes can be overwhelming, especially if your CKD diagnosis is recent.

Be sure to talk to a doctor or renal dietitian before making any major changes to your diet and learn what is best for your situation. 

Here is a sample 7-day meal plan for kidney disease that comes out to around 1,800 calories incorporating foods that are safe to eat with CKD and avoiding those that may be dangerous (more on that in later sections of this article).

Your ideal diet may have more or less calories and incorporate different foods based on intolerances, preferences, other medical conditions, and more.

Day 1

  • Breakfast:
    • 2 scrambled eggs
    • 2 slices of whole-wheat toast
    • 1 medium apple
  • Lunch:
    • Grilled chicken breast (4oz)
    • Mixed green salad with cucumbers and light vinaigrette
    • 1 small pear
  • Dinner:
    • Baked salmon (4oz)
    • 1 cup steamed green beans
    • 3/4 cup mashed cauliflower
  • Snack:
    • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts (unsalted)
    • 1 small yogurt 
    • 1/2 cup strawberries 
  • Additional Snack:
    • 1 slice whole-wheat bread with 1 tbsp peanut butter
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Day 2

  • Breakfast:
    • 1 cup cooked oatmeal with cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup blueberries
    • 1 tablespoon almond slices
  • Lunch:
    • Turkey sandwich with lettuce on whole-wheat bread
    • 1 small apple
    • 1 cup carrot sticks
    • 2 tablespoons hummus
  • Dinner:
    • 1 cup cooked quinoa with vegetables
    • 4oz grilled chicken
    • Side salad with mixed greens and light dressing
  • Snack:
    • Greek yogurt (low-fat)
    • 1/2 cup raspberries
    • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (unsalted)
  • Additional Snack:
    • 2 whole-wheat crackers with 1oz of cheddar cheese
  • Evening Snack:
    • 1 medium peach

Day 3

  • Breakfast:
    • Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of honey
    • 1/2 cup cherries
    • 1/4 cup granola
  • Dinner:
    • 4oz grilled lean steak
    • 1 cup steamed broccoli
    • 3/4 cup cooked brown rice
  • Snack:
    • 1 small peach
    • A handful of almonds
  • Additional Snack:
    • 1 medium apple with 1 tbsp peanut butter

Day 4

  • Breakfast:
    • 2 boiled eggs
    • 1 slice of whole-wheat toast with avocado
  • Lunch:
    • Salad with 4oz grilled shrimp, greens, tomatoes, cucumber
    • 1 small pear
  • Dinner:
    • 4oz baked cod
    • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
    • 1 cup steamed zucchini
  • Snack:
    • 1 cup strawberries
    • A small bag of popcorn (air-popped)
  • Additional Snack:
    • 1/4 cup mixed nuts (unsalted)
    • 1 small yogurt
  • Evening Snack:
    • 2 rice cakes with 1 tbsp almond butter

Day 5

  • Breakfast:
    • 2 pancakes (made with low-protein mix)
    • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
    • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • Lunch:
    • 1 cup vegetable soup
    • 1 small whole-wheat roll
    • Side salad with 1 tbsp Italian dressing
  • Dinner:
    • 4oz pork tenderloin
    • 1 cup roasted Brussels sprouts
    • 3/4 cup cooked couscous
  • Snack:
    • 1 apple
    • String cheese
  • Additional Snack:
    • Greek yogurt (low-fat) with 1 tbsp honey
    • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • Evening Snack:
    • 1 medium plum
    • 2 whole-wheat crackers with 1oz cheese

Day 6

  • Breakfast:
    • French toast (2 slices of low-protein bread)
    • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Lunch:
    • Grilled cheese sandwich (whole-wheat bread, low-sodium cheese)
    • Small side salad with light dressing
  • Dinner:
    • 4oz baked chicken breast
    • 1 cup steamed asparagus
    • 3/4 cup cooked wild rice
  • Snack:
    • 1/2 cup cottage cheese (low-fat)
    • 1 small pear
  • Additional Snack:
    • 1 cup of berries
    • 1/4 cup almonds
  • Evening Snack:
    • 1 cup blueberries
    • 2 rice cakes

Day 7

  • Breakfast:
    • 1 smoothie (made with low-protein yogurt, berries)
  • Lunch:
    • Egg salad sandwich (whole-wheat bread, 2 boiled eggs)
    • 1 cup watermelon
  • Dinner:
    • 4oz grilled tilapia
    • 1 cup steamed green peas
    • 3/4 cup mashed cauliflower
  • Snack:
    • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
    • A small bag of pretzels
  • Additional Snack:
    • 1 small yogurt
    • 1/4 cup granola
  • Evening Snack:
    • 2 slices whole-wheat toast with 2 tbsp peanut butter
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Best foods to eat with kidney disease

When you are trying to make healthy changes to your diet, it’s better to think of all the good things you want to add versus all the things you can’t have. 

Below are some of the best foods to start adding to your meals and snacks if you have CKD:

  • Berries. Those with CKD are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Consuming rich sources of antioxidants and fiber found in foods such as strawberries and blueberries may help reduce this risk. Berries are also a low-potassium food.
  • Broccoli. Broccoli is rich in antioxidants and fiber and low in phosphorus and sodium. While it still contains a modest amount of potassium, it is suitable for those following even the strictest of kidney disease diets.
  • Apples. Apples are a low-potassium food great for CKD. They contain a variety of essential vitamins and minerals along with antioxidants and fiber to support kidney function and maintain heart health. 
  • Beans. While beans contain potassium and phosphorus, they can still be included in a CKD diet. Green peas and garbanzo beans contain relatively low amounts of these nutrients and are an excellent source of fiber which can reduce heart disease risk.
  • Eggs. Eggs are low in sodium and potassium, but they do contain some phosphorus. Eggs can provide an excellent source of high-quality protein for those requiring hemodialysis; however, be sure to ask your RD how many eggs you can safely eat.
  • Whole grains. The beneficial fiber in whole grains, such as oats, can improve health in those with CKD by improving blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and bowel regularity. Whole grains contain more potassium and phosphorus than refined grains however, they are still considered safe for most stages of CKD as they aren’t absorbed completely. 

Foods to avoid with kidney disease

When you have CKD, your kidneys are unable to filter out your blood efficiently which can lead to a buildup of waste. Certain foods can make your kidneys work harder to get rid of this waste and can progressively worsen kidney function. 

Below are some foods to avoid if you have CKD so you don’t accelerate the deterioration of this vital organ system. 

Remember, not all CKD diets require strict restrictions on sodium, phosphorus, potassium, or protein, and some of these foods may be allowed in moderation. Be sure to consult your RD for personalized recommendations based on your CKD stage.

  • High-phosphorus foods. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and other high-phosphorus foods should be avoided or limited on a CKD diet. Your kidneys cannot remove phosphorus well, and a buildup can result in health problems including calcium loss in your bones.
  • High-potassium foods. High potassium foods such as bananas and potatoes should be avoided or limited on a CKD diet due to the risk of developing high levels of potassium in your blood which can impact your heart function.
  • High-sodium foods. High-sodium foods such as highly processed snack foods and canned foods can cause your body to retain sodium and fluid which can further damage kidney function. It can also cause hypertension which can progress kidney disease.
  • Processed meats. Processed meats such as ham, bacon, and sausage should also be limited on a CKD diet as these foods are high in sodium, protein, and phosphorus which can worsen kidney disease as well as increase cardiovascular disease risk.
  • Pre-made meals. Pre-made meals, such as frozen meals, are high in sodium and phosphorus and should be avoided on a CKD diet as they can worsen kidney disease progression.

Below are some other diet-related tips to keep in mind if you are trying to follow a CKD diet:

  • Maintain adequate hydration. Adequate hydration is an essential part of kidney health. Maintaining adequate fluid intake can help you avoid kidney complications including kidney stones and infections which can worsen kidney function.
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol. While alcohol itself doesn’t worsen kidney disease, it can cause dehydration and malnutrition, increase blood pressure, and interact with certain medications which may be detrimental to those with kidney disease.
  • Ensure appropriate calcium intake. Changes in our kidney function can affect calcium levels and bone health. It’s important to consume enough calcium—between 800-1,000mg per day but no more than 2,000mg—to maintain a healthy balance. Avoid calcium supplements if you have CKD.
  • Avoid NSAIDs for pain relief. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used for pain relief however, they should be limited in those with CKD as they can increase the risk of an acute kidney injury.
  • Keep blood sugar in check. If you have diabetes, proper glucose management is essential to avoid worsening kidney disease. One in three adults with diabetes has CKD, and uncontrolled blood sugars can cause further kidney damage and disease progression.
  • Aim for a healthy weight. Carrying extra weight can put an extra strain on your kidneys. Prioritize a healthy diet and exercise routine to get to or maintain a healthy weight to avoid worsening kidney disease.
  • Regularly check kidney function. Talk to your doctor about getting your kidney function checked regularly. This allows you to catch progression early and make adjustments to reduce the strain on your kidneys.
  • Seek guidance from a dietitian. RDs are nutrition professionals who can help you navigate your nutrition with CKD so you can slow down disease progression and reduce the chances of health complications. 
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Why you should consider working with a renal dietitian

There are many benefits to working with a dietitian, especially for someone with a condition like CKD. Whether you have been suffering from CKD for many years or have been recently diagnosed, working with a renal dietitian can help guide you in the right direction for your kidney health.

A renal dietitian is an RD who specializes in kidney disease and is well-versed in the role of nutrition in kidney health. A renal dietitian can provide you with a meal plan including specific dietary recommendations based on your stage of kidney disease including a comprehensive list of foods to add and those to avoid.

There can be a lot of restrictions with CKD. A renal dietitian can help you learn those restrictions and adjust to this new way of eating. Together, you can create a specialized meal plan that outlines restrictions for specific nutrients so you will be well-informed about how to eat for your kidney health.

When you request an appointment with one of our Registered Dietitians here at Zaya Care, we’ll check your insurance so you know exactly how much you’ll have to pay, if anything at all.

It’s worth noting that 90% of Zaya Care patients pay $0 for nutrition care with a registered dietitian as we are in-network with many major carriers.

How diet affects kidney disease

Kidney disease causes a loss of kidney function. This means your body is not able to filter your blood as efficiently as normal. This can cause a buildup of certain waste byproducts that can be harmful to your health.

That’s why it’s essential to consume a CKD diet if you have kidney disease. You need to avoid complications from this waste build-up to keep your kidney disease from progressing and avoid the risk of other health complications. 

A CKD diet includes restrictions on specific nutrients—mainly protein, potassium, phosphorus, and sodium—that can have adverse effects if consumed in excess. As these nutrients are in many foods, it’s important to be mindful of your dietary choices.

Consuming foods high in these nutrients, such as highly processed food items, can cause issues like increased fluid accumulation which can slow down kidney function and increase heart disease risk.

Those who suffer from CKD already have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease because the decrease in kidney function adds extra strain on the heart. Choosing foods that support heart health can reduce this risk.

Additionally, many who suffer from kidney disease also have diabetes, and proper blood sugar management is required to avoid health complications from both diabetes and kidney disease. Optimal blood sugar management requires strict dietary monitoring. 

While it can feel overwhelming trying to monitor your diet for so many different things, it’s essential for your health and longevity to be mindful of your dietary choices with CKD. If you need support navigating these challenges, consider working with a renal dietitian.

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Meghan is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist from San Jose, California. She received her undergraduate degree from San Diego State University in 2015. Following an unexpected cross-country trip that landed her in Florida, she completed her didactic training through AdventHealth Orlando. Meghan has extensive experience in multiple aspects of dietetics including critical care, motivational interviewing, writing, and research. She is passionate about health and wellness and has dedicated her free time to breaking down complicated nutrition topics and disseminating them to the public through the arena of writing.