Renal Diet Grocery List: A Comprehensive Guide + Free PDF Download

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With all the restrictions in kidney disease do you feel left with nothing to eat? When you go to the food store are you left staring at a blank grocery list? Don’t fret! There are foods you can eat that will keep your kidney health in check. Learn how to get the most out of your next shopping trip with a renal diet grocery list. This is the best grocery list for helping to find foods that will be good for the health of your kidneys. Read on to learn what to incorporate into your renal diet foods list.

This is just a guide and should not replace the advice of your healthcare professional. It is best to speak with your renal dietitian to get a specialized renal diet grocery list that is tailored to your individual needs.

A Renal Diet Grocery List Is Important for Good Nutrition

It is important to know that the things you eat and drink can affect your kidney disease. A poor diet can result in elevated blood pressure.

Consuming too many calories results in weight gain. These conditions can worsen existing chronic kidney disease. 

Following a healthy kidney diet will help to prevent further damage. This can be done with the help of a renal diet grocery list. It provides a guide on what foods to add to the diet.

Having A Renal Diet Grocery List Provides Adequate Calories, Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fat

With any diet, it is important to get enough calories, protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

There are some nutrients in foods that are harmful to the kidneys. Knowing about these can help you stick to a compliant renal diet food list.

Be Sure to Get Enough Calories 

Getting enough calories is necessary for health. Calories provide the body energy it needs to function.

What we eat gets broken down and releases energy. This energy is either used by the body or stored for later.

Eating too many calories leads to more stored energy. Stored energy causes weight gain.

Those with kidney disease want to be careful with their calorie intake. Having a renal diet grocery list of foods that are lower in calories can help prevent this.

Be Sure to Get The Right Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are an essential nutrient. They provide energy, control blood sugar, play a role in cholesterol regulation, and help feed bacteria in the gut. 

Carbohydrates or carbs for short consist of three types:

  • sugars
  • starches
  • fibers

Sugars are added to candy, desserts, processed foods, and soda. This can be seen in a nutritional information panel listed as “added sugars,” under carbohydrates.

They are also found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and milk. This will be listed as “sugar” in the nutrition information.


Starches are complex carbs that need to be broken down for energy. They include bread, cereal, and pasta, and certain vegetables like potatoes, peas, and corn. 


Fiber is another type of complex carb that cannot be broken down by the body. These foods help you feel full and improve digestive health easing constipation, and lowering blood sugar and cholesterol.

Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains. 

Including Carbohydrates

Getting the right balance of carbs is important for health. This means eating more complex carbohydrates with naturally occurring sugars, starches, and fiber, and fewer foods with added sugar.

You will need to tailor your carbohydrate intake based on your health. A registered dietitian can help provide recommendations for the grams of carbohydrates to aim for at each meal and each day.

Those who are overweight may need to decrease their carbohydrate intake and that are underweight may need to increase their carb intake.

Eating more vegetables is good a source of complex carbs. 

Those with kidney disease also need to be careful with their carb intake if they have nutrient restrictions. Some foods tend to be higher in potassium and phosphorus. Our renal diet grocery list will give you the types of foods to incorporate into your daily meal plan.

Be Sure to Get Adequate Protein

Protein is an essential nutrient. The whole body is made from proteins. To keep cells thriving the body needs to consume protein.

Getting too much or too little protein can be a problem. 

However, protein digestion puts pressure on the kidneys to work harder. Some people with kidney disease may need to limit protein. Protein needs vary by person.

How much protein you need depends on your kidney health, weight, how active you are, and overall health. 

Be Sure to Get Just the Right Amount of Fat

Fat is a nutrient that protects organs, creates hormones, and digests fat-soluble vitamins. Those with kidney disease need to get enough fat to satisfy their needs.

It is important to note that fat is double the number of calories in protein and carbs. Therefore, too much of this nutrient can result in too many calories, which can lead to weight gain.

Excessive weight increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. This can also harm the kidneys.

However, a high-fat diet like a keto diet may be used to protect kidney health.

There are four types of fats to be aware of: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated, and trans fats.

Monounsaturated Fats (MUFAs)

Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) are heart-healthy when eaten in moderation. They can lower cholesterol levels along with the risk of heart disease and stroke.

These include: 

  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Avocado & avocado oil
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts
  • Seeds 
Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAs)

Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) can also lower cholesterol and heart disease risk. These consist of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids.

These essential fats cannot be produced by the body and need to be obtained from food.

PUFA sources include: 

  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Trout
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Chia Seeds
Saturated Fats

Saturated fats should be limited in the diet. They may increase the bad LDL cholesterol levels which can increase heart disease.

Saturated fats are found mostly in animal foods like fatty meats and full-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese

Trans Fats

Trans fats should be avoided in the diet. These fats occur naturally but most are made from oils in a process called partial hydrogenation.

Trans fats can increase the risk of heart disease.

They increase bad LDL cholesterol levels and lower your good HDL cholesterol. These fats are found in the following: 

  • Commercially baked goods such as cakes and cookies
  • Fried foods
  • Shortenings
  • Margarine

Learn more about oils and kidney health here.

Limit Kidney-Specific Nutrients with Your Renal Diet Grocery List

Those with kidney disease may need to be careful of their intake of the following nutrients: 

Keeping to portion control can maintain a healthy weight. This is something those with kidney disease need to do.

This can be done by watching serving and portion sizes along with healthy exercise

Potassium May Be Restricted for those with Kidney Disease

Potassium is a mineral your body needs to regulate heartbeat, nerve, and muscle function.

It also helps to move nutrients into cells and gets rid of wastes from cells. Potassium also helps to regulate fluid balance. 

The kidneys help to remove potassium from the body. Those with kidney disease cannot remove excess potassium from the blood.

So this nutrient may need to be limited for those with more kidney damage.

Potassium is found in the following foods:

Read more about a low-potassium diet here.

Sodium May Be Restricted for those with Kidney Disease

Sodium is a mineral that the body needs to function. It regulates nerve and muscle function.

It also keeps fluid balance in the body. Your kidneys control the amount of sodium in the body.

When kidneys are damaged such as in kidney disease they lose the ability to regulate sodium properly.

Too much sodium in the body will be too much for the kidneys and they will not be able to get rid of it. High sodium levels in the blood lead to high blood pressure and a buildup of fluid.

Sodium occurs naturally and is added during food processing. It is found in the following:

  • Milk
  • Bread
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Water (varies)
  • Processed meats (bacon, sausage, ham)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Coconut aminos
  • Bullion cubes
  • Canned foods
  • Soups
  • Packaged foods
  • Processed baked goods (cookies, snack cakes, doughnuts)
  • Fast food

Phosphorus May Be Restricted for those with Kidney Disease

Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral found in the body.

It helps to:

  • build strong healthy bones and teeth.
  • digest carbs and fats.
  • make the protein needed for cell growth, maintenance, and repair

Phosphorus also works with B vitamins to increase energy production and storage in the body. It is needed for the kidneys, muscles, nerves, and heart to work properly. 

When there is kidney disease the body cannot get phosphorus out of the blood.

Those with chronic kidney disease may need to limit phosphates in their diet. 

High levels of phosphorus will pull calcium out of the bones weakening them. It can also deposit calcium in the blood vessels, lungs, eyes, and heart increasing heart attack, stroke, and death. 

Foods high in phosphates tend to be those that are processed. Phosphorus is added as a food preservative in the following:

  • Fast Foods
  • Ready-to-eat foods
  • Canned foods
  • Bottled drinks such as teas and sodas

These substances are completely absorbed by the body and can increase phosphorus levels. 

Phosphorus is an important consideration in a renal diet grocery list. A pyramid reflecting phosphorus absorption rates. Organic phosphorus is at the top, absorbed at 30%. Next is organic phosphorus found in meat and nuts at 60%. Below that is organic phosphorus found in dairy, absorbed at 80%. At the bottom of the pyramid is inorganic phosphorus (phosphate additives) absorbed at 100%.

Fluids May Be Restricted or Increased for those with Kidney Disease

Water is essential to life, but a fluid imbalance can be a bigger problem for those with kidney disease.

If too much fluid builds up in the body it can have harmful effects and lead to difficulty breathing and swelling. 

This could be due to taking in too much fluid.

When you have chronic kidney disease you need to be careful with how much fluid you are taking in. This is because the kidneys are not able to do their job of getting rid of unneeded fluids. 

Some ways to avoid fluid overload include the following: 

  • Track your fluid intake
  • Follow fluid guidelines given by your Renal Dietitian
  • Manage thirst with sugar-free hard candies, ice chips, or frozen grapes
  • Keep sodium intake low 
  • Discuss dialysis treatments with the dialysis healthcare team (if applicable)

However, many with kidney disease need to drink more water to protect their kidney health. This is more common for those in early stages of kidney disease or suffering from kidney stones.

Tracking your fluid intake and discussing fluid goals with your healthcare team are helpful approaches to balancing your fluids.

Before You Go Grocery Shopping

Before going grocery shopping you want to have a plan of action. The first step is to create a grocery list.

Having a specific kidney diet grocery list gives you an idea of what are ok foods to eat with kidney disease.  This also makes going to the grocery store an easy and pain-free experience. 

Just like regular grocery lists, the renal diet foods are broken into categories as part of the essential grocery list.

Before we get started… would you like our renal diet grocery list PDF download? (We even break down the fruits and veggies into the high- and low-potassium groups for you!)


Fresh vegetables and fruit provide an abundance of nutrients. Most produce is low in phosphorus but potassium levels in fruit and vegetables vary.

Potassium levels also change based on how the vegetable is prepared. The potassium levels will vary depending on whether it is fresh, cooked, double-boiled, or raw. 


Making your renal diet grocery list a largely plant-based diet grocery list will give you an abundance of nutrients that can help improve your health.

These include carbohydrates, fiber, and small amounts of protein.

The following vegetables should be included in your renal diet grocery list. 

  • Alfalfa or bean sprouts 
  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Bean sprouts 
  • Green beans
  • Waxed beans
  • Bell peppers (green, red, or yellow)
  • Broccoli
  • Green and Red Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chili peppers
  • Chives
  • Collard greens
  • Corn
  • CucumbersEggplant
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Hominy
  • Jicama
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Peapods/peas
  • Pimientos
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • RhubarbShallots
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Spinach
  • Summer squash
  • Turnip greens
  • Turnips
  • Water chestnuts (canned)
  • Watercress
  • Wax beans
  • Zucchini


Like vegetables, the nutrition content can change depending on the way the fruit is prepared. Calories in some fruits will be highly increased. Fresh, frozen, and canned fruit are all great picks.

When choosing a canned fruit look for one that is packaged in 100% fruit juice and does not have any added sugar, syrup, or other high-calorie ingredients.

Those with kidney disease should limit or avoid dried fruit. These are high in calories and potassium which should be limited for some individuals.

Consider adding these fruits to your renal diet grocery list.=: 

  • Apples
  • Applesauce
  • Canned Apricots
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Gooseberries 
  • Boysenberries
  • Cherries
  • Clementine 
  • Oranges
  • Cranberries
  • Canned cranberry sauce
  • Canned or Fresh figs
  • Fruit cocktail
  • Grapefruit*
  • Grapes
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Mandarin oranges (canned)
  • Mulberries
  • Passion fruit
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines
  • Watermelon

*Grapefruit and grapefruit juice interact with many medications. Be sure you check with your doctor or pharmacist about your medications before adding grapefruit to your diet.

Breads, Grains, and Cereals

Breads, grains, and cereals are a great way to get adequate calories and essential carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide the body with energy as well as needed vitamins and minerals

The type of carbohydrate you consume can also affect your kidney disease. You want to aim for a mix of grains that provide fiber.

This nutrient is helpful to lower inflammation often present in kidney disease. It may also improve digestion and constipation found in those with kidney disease.

With these foods, you want to mind the levels of sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. Lower potassium and phosphorus bread include white, 60% whole wheat, light rye, French, Italian, and sourdough.

Whole wheat and whole grains will have more nutrients, often including potassium and/or phosphorus, but can still be included!

Rice and corn are also good picks for lower potassium and phosphorus foods. They also provide fiber in a small serving. Salt and fat-free popcorn is a great fulfilling snack.

When choosing cereals look for ones that are low in sodium and potassium with less than 150 mg of sodium per serving and less than 100 mg of potassium per serving.

Ones made from rice and corn to get less of these restricted nutrients. Also be sure to avoid ones with nuts, dried fruit, bran, and granola. These foods may increase potassium and phosphorus levels. 

Here is a list of breads, cereals, and grains to add to your renal diet grocery list:


  • Bagels (plain, blueberry, egg, raisin) 
  • French bread
  • Italian bread
  • Rice cakes
  • Rye bread
  • Sourdough bread
  • White bread
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Multi-grain bread
  • Breadsticks
  • Hamburger/hot dog buns
  • Dinner or hard rolls 
  • English Muffins
  • Melba toast
  • Pita bread 
  • Tortilla (corn or flour) 


Dry cold cereal: 

  • Corn Chex
  • Corn Pops
  • Crispex
  • Double Chex
  • Fruity Pebbles
  • Honey Smacks
  • Kellogs Corn Flakes
  • King Vitamin 
  • Kix
  • Quicker cereal
  • Puffed Rice
  • Quaker Cereal Puffed Wheat
  • Rice Chex
  • Rice Krispies 
  • Apple Jacks
  • Cinnamon Puffins (Barbara’s
  • Corn Flakes (Barbara’s)
  • Honest O’s Original (Barbara’s)
  • Honey Nut O’s (Barbara’s)
  • Honey Rice Puffins (Barbara’s)
  • Multigrain Puffins (Barbara’s)
  • Chocolate O’s (Cascadian Farms)
  • Cinnamon Crunch  (Cascadian Farms)
  • Fruitful O’s  (Cascadian Farms)
  • Graham Crunch (Cascadian Farms)
  • Frosted Mini-Wheats
  • Fruit Loops
  • Health Valley Rice Crunch-Ems
  • Honey Smacks
  • 7 Whole Grains Honey Puffs  (Kashi)
  • Honey Sunshine  (Kashi)
  • Indigo Morning (Kashi)
  • Simply Maize Organic Corn (Kashi)
  • Puffed Rice
  • Puffed Wheat
  • Trix

Hot cereal

  • Oatmeal (steel-cut, rolled or old-fashioned)
  • Cream of rice
  • Cream of wheat (like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • Farina
  • Grits


  • Animal crackers
  • Better cheddars
  • Plain Graham crackers
  • Low sodium Ritz crackers
  • Oyster crackers
  • Rusk crackers
  • Plain Teddy Grahams 
  • Unsalted pretzels
  • Unsalted saltine crackers
  • Wheat thins hint of salt


Grains like rice, noodles, and pasta are great staples to have on hand to combine with protein, vegetables, and seasonings to make a filling meal. 

  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgur
  • Corn
  • Fonio
  • Freekeh
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Sorghum
  • Teff
  • Amaranth
  • Kamut
  • Quinoa 
  • Farro
  • Spelt
  • Rice (brown, white, black, purple, red, wild…check for no added salt)
  • Cornmeal
  • Couscous
  • Egg noodles
  • Lightly salted popcorn
  • Whole wheat pasta (noodles, macaroni, spaghetti) 

There are many quick-cooking grains available in stores now. While these can be a great option for a quick meal, like pasta or stir-fry, it’s important to check for added sodium and preservatives.

Another quick note about whole grains: they may be high in protein or other nutrients. If you need to limit protein, it can be helpful to try a mix of whole grains and refined, like half brown and half white rice.

There are also types of pasta made from beans and legumes. These kinds of pasta will not only be higher in fiber but potassium and protein as well. Keep this in mind if you need to follow a low-potassium or low-protein diet.

There are a lot of benefits to keeping whole grains in the diet, so don’t eliminate them entirely! Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber.

Protein Foods

Protein is an essential nutrient but those with kidney disease need to be careful with how much they consume depending on their kidney function.

When it comes to protein you should consume high-quality sources, but also be careful about getting too much. Sticking to eating small pieces of meat, poultry, or fish as a side dish will limit the amount of protein eaten. 

Protein foods come from both animal and plant sources. Learn what protein foods to incorporate into your renal diet grocery list.

Meat, Poultry, Eggs, and Seafood

On a renal diet, you also want to limit the intake of processed and smoked meats, poultry, and fish. This will reduce the amount of sodium in the diet. 

The way you prepare the meat will also affect the sodium content. Stick to fresh herbs and spices without added sodium.

Animal protein foods are grouped into meat, poultry, fish, and eggs: 

Avoid fish with bones. This will reduce the phosphorus you consume. Herring, mackerel, and sardines often have more phosphorus than other fishes.

Eggs are another animal protein source. Eggs are a nutritious food. They offer a high-value protein source and are safe for those with chronic kidney disease to eat. Anyone with a phosphorus restriction may want to limit their egg yolk intake and stick with egg whites only (after assuring phosphate additives have been reviewed).

Below is the list of animal-based proteins acceptable to include in the renal diet grocery list.


  • Beef
  • Ground beef
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Veal 
  • Wild game
  • Goat 
  • Lamb


  • Chicken 
  • Duck
  • Rotisserie Chicken (low sodium only)
  • Turkey 


  • Fish (fresh or frozen)
  • Shellfish
  • Salmon
  • Tuna (low sodium canned in water)


  • Eggs (any size)
  • Egg substitutes 
  • Egg Whites

We encourage clients to focus on a plant-based diet with little- to no animal protein in an effort to preserve kidney function.

This is because animal proteins create more acid in the body. Another term for this is a high PRAL number (potential renal acid load).

Read more about PRAL here.

Plant-Based Protein Foods

A plant-based diet can help improve kidney disease complications. Renal plant-based diets have positive effects on kidney disease with the following:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce metabolic disease
  • Delay kidney disease progression
  • Lower the risk of diabetes
  • Overall decreases in mortality risk

Consuming plant-based proteins also reduced mortality rates according to research published in the National Kidney Foundation’s American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

So try adding these plant-based proteins to your next renal diet grocery list:

Plant-based Proteins

  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Natto (fermented soybeans)
  • Seitan (Wheat gluten)
  • Veggie Burger (low sodium, no phosphorus additives)
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Navy beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Nut butter
  • Nuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Flax seeds (ground)

There are plenty of plant-based protein options available that can be added to your renal diet grocery list. Below are some specific examples for you for veggie burgers.

Kidney-friendly veggie burgers to add to your renal diet grocery list
Dr. Praeger's California Burger
Amy's Organic California Veggie Burger
Gardein Veggie Burger
Trader Joe's Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burger
Hilary's World's Best Veggie Burger
Gardenburger Original


As discussed above fats have a place in the diet of those with kidney disease. They just need to be limited.

Sticking to MUFA and PUFA with few saturated fats will help to reduce health complications like elevated cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. 

Fats to incorporate into the renal diet grocery list include the following: 

  • Butter 
  • Non-hydrogenated margarine (regular or salt-free)
  • Mayonnaise (regular or imitation)
  • Miracle Whip
  • Olive Oil
  • Vegetable shortening

Dairy and Alternatives 

Dairy products provide a good amount of nutrition. They offer protein, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. The body needs all of these nutrients to thrive. 

When function wanes in kidney disease it gets harder to excrete wastes, fluids, sodium, and other minerals from the body. This means that dairy products may need to be limited in those with nutrient restrictions to avoid elevated levels.  

One way to limit the intake of these nutrients is by limiting dairy intake. Non-dairy alternatives are also recommended as a substitute for avoiding excess mineral intake. 

Learn what dairy and dairy substitutions you can add to your renal diet grocery list.

Dairy and Dairy Substitutions

  • Cow Milk
  • Almond milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Coconut milk (ready to drink)
  • Non-enriched soy milk
  • Unenriched rice milk
  • Liquid coffee creamer
  • Cottage cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Whipping cream
  • Whipped coconut topping
  • Whipped topping, ready-to-use spray can

Learn more about milk and milk alternatives in this article.


Cheese is a food that provides both essential nutrients protein and fat. Often higher in saturated fat, cheese is something to limit in the diet when you have kidney disease.

It is also high in sodium, phosphorus, and even potassium. These nutrients may need to be limited in some individuals. 

Stick to a serving size of about 1 oz. Look for cheeses that contain less than 100 mg of phosphorus if phosphorus is a concern. See below for a list of kidney-friendly cheeses to include in the renal diet grocery list.

  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Feta
  • Fontina
  • Parmesan
  • Soft goat cheese
  • Creme fraiche (fresh cheese)
  • Paneer cheese
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Neufchatel
  • Sharp Cheddar
  • Vegan cheese

Learn more about potassium in cheese here.

Don’t forget – we’ve got a free PDF download of this full renal diet grocery list for you. Get it sent straight to your email!


Fluid intake is necessary but those on dialysis and others with fluid restrictions need to be careful when it comes to how much liquid they take in.

Certain beverages can also be high in sugars, sodium, phosphorus, and potassium so you need to make sure you choose beverages that will not put your health in danger.

Here is a list of beverages to choose from for your renal diet grocery list that will not compromise your kidney’s health. (Yes – we do include soda in this list because including small amounts of kidney-friendly sodas can be acceptable.)

  • Apple Juice
  • Apricot nectar
  • Coffee
  • Club soda (no sodium added)
  • Cran-apple juice
  • Cran-raspberry juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Cream soda
  • Fresca
  • Ginger ale
  • Grape soda
  • Grape juice
  • Grapefruit juice*
  • Hi-C (cherry, grape) 
  • Lemon juice
  • Lemonade
  • Limeade
  • Lemon-lime soda
  • Lime Juice
  • Kool-Aid
  • Mello Yello
  • Mountain Dew
  • Orange Soda
  • Papaya nectar
  • Peach nectar
  • Pear nectar
  • Pineapple juice 
  • Sprite
  • 7UP
  • Root beer
  • Slice
  • Tea (not canned or bottled)

Be sure to check the ingredients of the beverages you grab to make sure they do not have added phosphates. This will not only come down to the brand of drink but flavor varieties as well.

*Grapefruit and grapefruit juice interact with many medications. Check with your healthcare team before consuming either, especially when starting a new medication.

Don’t miss our article about drinks that are good for kidneys!


Condiments are part of any shopping trip. Those with kidney disease want to pay close attention to the ingredients and nutrient levels of these foods.

Some may be high in calories, sugar, sodium, phosphorus, and potassium. There are lower-sodium condiment versions available or you can monitor your intake by sticking to small quantities.

See the list below for what condiments to include as a part of your renal diet grocery list.

  • Hummus
  • BBQ sauce
  • Chili Sauce
  • Corn Syrup
  • Dry tapioca
  • Honey
  • Jam
  • Jelly
  • Ketchup
  • Salsa
  • Hot Sauce
  • Marmalade
  • Mustard
  • Steak Sauce
  • Taco sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Salad dressing
  • Miso paste


If you are having trouble finding healthier versions of your favorite condiments a great substitute to flavor your food is using spices.

A salt-free dry rub of pepper and other spices can add a lot of flavor to your food without all the stuff that might compromise your health. 

Ditch the sugar, sodium, and phosphorus additives when you use fresh and dried spices. If you buy dried spices make sure there are no additives that might hurt your health.

Below are some spices to make part of your renal diet grocery list. 

  • Allspice
  • Basil
  • Bay leaf
  • Caraway seeds
  • Cardamom
  • Celery seed
  • Chili powder
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Dill
  • Dry mustard
  • Almond extracts 
  • Maple extract
  • Orange extract
  • Peppermint extract
  • Vanilla extract
  • Fennel
  • Fresh garlic
  • Garlic powder
  • Ginger
  • Horseradish
  • Marjoram
  • Dash and other no-sodium blends 
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Parsley
  • Parsley flakes
  • Pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Saffron
  • Sage
  • Sesame seeds
  • Tarragon 
  • Thyme
  • Za’atar


Having kidney disease does not mean you can no longer have any sweet treats. You do want to be careful with your sugar intake. Too much added sugar can lead to health problems such as weight gain, diabetes, and obesity. These conditions also worsen kidney disease

Desserts should be in small portions. If you buy packaged desserts read the labels to know how much sugar and other ingredients are present so you can prevent yourself from getting too much of a restricted nutrient. 

Here are some sweets to add to your renal grocery diet list.

  • Angel food cake
  • Chewing gum
  • Hard candies
  • Gummy bears
  • Jelly beans
  • Lemon cake
  • Lorna Doone cookies
  • Marshmallows
  • Rice Krispies Treats
  • Vanilla Wafers
  • Yellowcake
  • Sorbet
  • Ice cream

Curious about the potassium in candy? We’ve got it covered in this article.

The Best Renal Diet Grocery List: A comprehensive guide to grocery shopping with kidney disease
Grab the Free PDF Renal Diet Grocery List download in this article!

Once You Are At the Grocery Store

This renal diet grocery list will help you make the most of your shopping trip. When you’re at the grocery store be sure to keep a few things in mind.

Shop the Perimeter

This is where you will find most of the produce and fresh food items. Starting in the produce section is generally easy as many stores feature their produce near the entrance of the grocery store.

Work your way around the perimeter of the store to grab all of your fresh foods. Be sure to include a variety of colors so that you will know you’re getting a variety of nutrients.

Shop the Aisles

The aisles are packed with pantry staples to keep in your kitchen. You’ll find plenty of kidney-friendly options for:

  • bread
  • tortillas
  • grains
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • legumes
  • beans
  • canned vegetables
  • canned fruits

Label reading is key when it comes to shopping the aisles of the grocery store.

Stock up on Frozen Foods Last

The frozen section can include a lot of fruits, vegetables, and even frozen grains and pasta options. By keeping this as the last part of your grocery trip, you’ll help preserve the food better as it will have less time to thaw.

Pro tip: Bring an insulated grocery bag with you on your trip and keep your frozen goods there before and after checkout.

Check Food Labels Before You Put it in Your Cart

If you opt for canned and frozen foods you want to choose ones that are low in sodium, phosphorus, and sugar. You will also need to know how much is contained in food items. 

Nutrition labels have information on protein, potassium, and sodium listed in plain sight so you know if you will be getting too much of that nutrient. 

Check Serving Sizes

Look at the serving size. Packages will contain more than one serving so depending on how much you eat you may be getting more than you realize. 

Check Nutrients Amounts

Nutrients are listed by weight and or as the percent daily value (%DV). This shows how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a total daily diet.

The %DV determines if a serving of food is high or low in a nutrient.  It can be in grams, milligrams, or micrograms and is based on a 2,000-total calorie diet. 

When it comes to potassium and phosphorus remember the following:

  • Aim for less than 5% potassium
  • Aim for less than 10% phosphorus

If these nutrient levels are not included in the nutrition facts label be sure to check with your renal dietitian to know what foods are safe to eat. 

Remember: Just because you have kidney disease does not mean you need to limit foods with potassium or phosphorus. A renal diet is very individualized, so working with a dietitian can help provide clarity on what you should focus on.

Check the Protein Content

Some people need to have less protein. Look to see how many grams of protein are present in the food. For protein, guidelines refer to your dietitian.

Check the Sodium Content

Looking for low-sodium products is recommended. These are less than 5 percent sodium. 

  • Low-sodium foods are between 5 and 10% or under 130 mg
  • Medium sodium foods are between 10 and 20% sodium
  • High-sodium food is above 20%

Medium-sodium foods should be used with caution. If in doubt ask your RD about medium sodium foods. High-sodium foods should be avoided.

Check the Ingredient List

Sodium will be listed on the nutrition label but potassium and phosphorus are not always listed. This does not mean that these foods do not contain these nutrients.

Hidden Sources of Phosphorus

There are hidden sources of phosphorus in foods. It is an additive in many processed foods. They are absorbed quickly into the blood and can increase phosphorus levels. 

Limiting your intake of processed foods will help you avoid a high intake of phosphorus. Phosphorus is used in processed meats, leavening agents, and anti-caking agents in powdered drink mixes. Phosphorus is also used as an additive to preserve frozen foods. 

Foods containing beans, cheese, and cheese sauces are also high in phosphorus.

Phosphorus can be identified by the word “PHOS” as part of the food name. Some examples include: 

  • Phosphoric acid
  • Monocalcium phosphate
  • Dicalcium phosphate
  • Disodium phosphate
  • Monosodium phosphate
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Sodium hexameta-phosphate
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Sodium tripolyphosphate
  • Tetrasodium pyrophosphate

Read more about the low-phosphorus diet here.

Hidden Sources of Potassium 

Foods low in sodium may be high in potassium due to the additives added. These include potassium lactate, potassium chloride, and potassium phosphate. 

It is important to look at the ingredient list and nutrition facts label for potassium content. Potassium also naturally occurs in tomato and potato products to avoid these foods to keep potassium levels low. 

Added Sugar

Sugar can also be an important consideration for your renal diet. While it is possible to include sweets, candies, and desserts in the renal diet, it should not be too frequent.

Added sugar should be limited to 24 grams, or 6 teaspoons, per day for women and 36 grams, or 9 teaspoons, per day for men.

Look for canned fruit that has no added sugar. Drain the water and eat just the fruit. This will lower the amount of potassium and fluid.

Bread and bread products can be another sneaky source of added sugars. Be sure to check the labels.

Putting it All Together to Make Renal Diet Meal Plans

Now that the renal diet grocery list is complete you can take all these foods put them together and make some kidney-friendly recipes.

When you have dietary restrictions having a plan of what you can eat is helpful to stay on track. Having a plan is important when you want to eat healthily. This gives you an idea of what to eat over a course of time.

Meal plans can be done weekly or monthly depending on your preference.

Once you are home from the grocery store you can start putting together your renal diet meal plans. 

These meal-planning and batch-cooking techniques can save you time in the kitchen.  

Meal prepping can include slicing up raw vegetables to be ready to have on hand. You can also season and flavor meats and other proteins as a way to save time on dinner. Place them in a freezer-safe container and freeze them until you are ready to eat them.

Batch cooking involves cooking a large portion of rice or another grain ahead of time so that when the time comes to use that grain all you have to do is just heat it and mix it with your favorite protein and spices for a quick meal.

Renal Diet Menu Ideas

Here are some renal diet menu ideas to have on hand for your busy week.

This is just a sample of some renal diet meal ideas. For specific nutrient requirements, you should talk with a renal dietitian to get a meal plan that fits your needs.


When it comes to food shopping, having a renal diet grocery list will give you a plan of what to do when you get to the food store. This list will give you insight into what foods can help improve your kidney health. It is also recommended to set up a time to speak with a renal dietitian. These experts can craft a renal diet menu that is individualized to treat your specific health needs.

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Board-Certified Specialist in Renal Nutrition | Website

Jen Hernandez is a registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in renal nutrition. She has nearly a decade of experience with kidney disease patients in all stages - from stage 1 through kidney transplant. Jen writes on the blog of Plant-Powered Kidneys to help reach and teach more kidney patients about how they can enjoy more foods in a plant-based diet while protecting kidney health.

57 thoughts on “Renal Diet Grocery List: A Comprehensive Guide + Free PDF Download”

  1. This is great information and I appreciate the work put into it. I noticed that vanilla extract was not listed with the other extracts so I assume it’s not one you would recommend? Also I’m looking to lower my uric acid levels and I’m hoping that’s included in this course.

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Vanilla extract is acceptable! There’s so many to include, really. Go for it, Debbie! 🙂

  2. Krista Haire-Patten

    Wow! I had absolutely no idea that there’s so much food that’s considered good for the renal diet thank you. 👍😃

  3. I was expecting a printable list of acceptable foods to take to the grocery with me. It’s a lot to remember. I can see myself sitting in the grocery for hours checking every item against this article on my phone. Maybe I’ll grab my husband and make it a date.

    1. This guide can be helpful in “cross-checking” your own grocery list. Or it can be used to help you make a grocery list from the comprehensive listings of all kinds of foods that are kidney-friendly! 🙂

        1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

          In general, it can be fine, but make sure to look at any additives (that can also be used as “fortifying” the cereal). If it’s what you’ve been having most mornings, your labs and health reports should give you some indication on the path you’ve taken so far, Rita. 🙂

  4. Thank you, Jen for be kindly, by provide this information to help to us .
    I am kidney patient I been treatment radio surgery (no usual) Is been 1 and 1/2 years I still have the tumor , but I only take care my diet and my tumor y was reduced about 35% since I received the treatment. I have question for you is good to drink barley water in order to clean the kidney?
    Cesar Benavides.

    1. Hi Cesar! I don’t have any information regarding barley water. I know there are theories about barley water, but no actual studies that I could find to back up anything about barley water and kidney health.

  5. Pingback: Kidney Disease and Weight Loss - The Geriatric Dietitian

  6. Thank you so much for the information, really appreciate it. Love the sample menu since I have a hard time putting one together .

  7. You were recommended to me by my dietitian. I read your article without skipping a word. I am trying a plant based diet. Such wonderful info here. Thank you so much!! Between you and my dietitian I feel blessed. Glad I found this info written by you. 😊 Saving it to reread often.

  8. Wonderful list, thank you! One question – Oatmeal is not on the hot cereal list so it is not recommended? Why? My husband is CKD 3B

    Thank you for your help

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      It should be there. I added it to update. But keep in mind this isn’t a list of every single item. Many things can be included, but it’s best to get specific directions and advice from working with a dietitian. 🙂

  9. Thanks for the list! I am trying diligently to eat plant based. I have a quick question. Do you ever see or know of type 1 diabetics following this way of eating plan that actually improve their gfr? I know that it is an excellent way to eat but can a diabetic improve or just maintain? I’m 58 and have been a type 1 for 54 years. I have a gfr of 18.
    Thank you for taking the time to answer.
    Kathy Evans

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Hi Kathy! I’m glad you appreciate the info. I have worked with clients that have both type 1 diabetes and ckd and yes, they’re able to see improvement with the right dietary changes. It’s very important to work with a good healthcare team (including dietitian!) to make sure you’re headed in the right direction. Ask your doctor for a referral to a dietitian for support. 🙂

  10. Francie Handler

    Thanks Jen…. the grocery list is terrific…..as is everything you do. We are so lucky to have you!

  11. Your site has a lot of great information with helpful grocery lists. However, on your sample menus the calorie intake is only about 500 calories a day. This is not a reasonable amount of calories to live on. My husband is suffering from kidney disease and has to have a kidney removed. Any helpful suggestions on how to increase calorie intake would be helpful – he is underweight. Thank you.

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Hi Barbara! Thanks for the kind words and comment. Serving sizes can and should be modified to the individual to meet their own nutritional needs. In some cases, double or even tripe servings may work especially when using a recipe as a main dish rather than a side dish. I wrote an article on the Geriatric Dietitian’s page about weight gain for CKD that may be helpful!

  12. Hi Jen, I am wanting to buy powder protein to make my own meal replacement drink. I have to keep in mind that I am a diabetic with ESRD on dialysis three days a week and I just had open heart surgery in March. What brand do you suggest ?

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Hi Loretta! Great question. I typically recommend Orgain’s plant-based protein powder, but double-check the label for added phosphates. You can also ask your dialysis dietitian for their preferred protein powder. They will know your labs and medical situation, so their recommendation will be tailored to your needs. (This can be especially important for diabetes and potassium control.)

  13. Christina Turner

    Thank you there is a few items that I thought that I couldn’t eat very informative
    I’m a newly diagnosed ckd

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      So happy to help, Christina! There are so many foods that can be a part of a renal diet!

      1. I have been using cronometer website to monitor my nutrition. Is there a similar program to track CKD DIET? I AM IN STAGE 4 HEART FAILURE AND A 40 YEAR HISTORY OF TYPE 1 DIABETES. I HAD BEEN DOING KETO BUT NOW I HAVE STAGE 3 CKD. COOKING HAS GOTTEN PHYSICALLY CHALLENGING. NO FAMILY, NO SUPPORT. NEED HELP WITH PORTION SIZE. NEED MACROS FOR PROTEIN, CARB, PHOS., POT., FAT. FOR CKD. HAVE HAD STROKES, EASILY CONFUSED. A little over whelmed, a lot to learn. I gave up sugar, white flour, cold turkey, lost 50 pounds so far. Eat veggie burger and occasionally buffalo meat, eggs. Cheerios and silk almond milk, oatmeal, grits. Salads, kens Greek dressing. Bread choice is solar 2 g net carb. Is this okay to start diet? Dr. Apt. not for two months! Thank you for your opinion

  14. Martha Pearson

    I just saw your post and looked over the list. For those of us who have to limit potassium this will be difficult especially when most people do not have a nutrition or science background. Also some Chronic Kidney Disease patients may also have thyroid problems as well. That would make this list also difficult. More approximately half the foods on this list are foods I need to avoid because of conditions and medications. I do like that you are trying to reach out but with no precautions also listed people could land in the hospital. I know because I sought the recommendations of a Nutritionist, who had my diagnosis’ and my lab reports. Her recommendation for breakfast fruits was honeydew and cantaloupe. I even told her that the doctors were watching my potassium levels. I would up in the ER 7 days later on the verge of kidney failure. When I double checked the potassium levels I was astonished and wondered why they were recommended. Now I do my own research. I also thought Mangos would be a good fruit until I looked at the table. Also when I looked at some frozen cooked butternut squash I found it too was high is potassium. So my recommendation is to check the nutrient levels of all foods and what foods interfere with the medications you take. I do see a lot of foods that would work well for me on the list, most of which I do eat already.

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Hi Martha! Thank you so much for sharing. You’re so right- each person will have different needs. Some will need more potassium and some will need less. I hope you’ll be able to find a dietitian who can review your potassium more closely with you. 🙂

  15. Jen, I sure appreciate your efforts that help so many people. I am confused as to why I have high creatinine levels?? I’ve been on a WFPB life style for about three years and this issue just surfaced about one month ago. My potassium levels are in the normal range but I have no knowledge about my phosphorus level?? My blood pressure is just a little high 139 over 70 and my heart rate at rest is about 54-56. I sure would like to have a consultation as I strongly feel that the fuel you give your body is the driving force to good health. Thanks

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Hi Richard! Unfortunately, we are unable to provide any recommendations in these comments. But you’re more than welcome to book a free Kidney Master Plan Call with our dietitians if you’re in the US! Otherwise, we highly recommend you find a renal dietitian in your area to help guide you and review your labs and health status. Best of luck to you! – Jen

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Look for olive oil or avocado oil-based margarines. Don’t forget to check for phosphate and potassium additives in these, too. We use Earth Balance and Miyokos.

  16. After reviewing this list of foods in all categories I realize I have denied myself of eating a lot of kidney friendly foods. Thank U so much for this information Jen!

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      So happy that it’s helped!! We love hearing when people are confident to eat more foods on the renal diet!

  17. Terrific information. Wow! Thank you so much. My eGFR is 46. I found out yesterday. I’m bummed out. Your work and effort in compiling this and sharing has made me feel better.

  18. Sarah Borisky RDN LDN

    I’m a Dietitian and this is a wonderful resource for patients and their families. I learned a few things too! Well done!

  19. I’m stage 3 and some of the food items, I’m not to keen on. I know I have to take baby steps because all this is overwhelming. How can I meet my goals to accomplish in slowing down my disease.

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Hi Denise! We recommend finding one thing you are interested and able to improve on. Just focus on that for a while, until it feels comfortable. For example: add one serving of your favorite vegetable to your weekend lunches. Once that habit is set, move on to the next. You may enjoy our SMART Goals article 😊

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