Kidney-Friendly Drinks and How to Choose 

It’s important to find kidney-friendly drinks if you are managing kidney disease. Water is definitely important, and you should drink up (as long as your nephrologist has not put you on a fluid restriction). But let’s be real, water can get old sometimes, and you may be wondering what other drinks you can enjoy, without worrying about the effects on your kidneys.

How to Choose Kidney Friendly Drinks

Let’s first talk minerals. More than likely you need to limit your sodium intake. You may also need to limit your potassium and/or your phosphorus intake.

Sodium in Beverages

In general, you don’t have to worry too much about sodium in beverages because they don’t tend to be a huge contributor. However, some drinks like tomato juice, V8, and sports drinks can have a hefty sodium content.

Potassium in Beverages

If you have elevated potassium levels in your blood work, you need to limit your potassium intake. Beverages like cow’s milk, orange juice, carrot juice, tomato juice, coconut milk, and coconut water are considered high in potassium.

Low potassium beverages include tea, coffee, apple juice, cranberry juice, lemonade, almond milk.

Phosphorus in Beverages 

If you have elevated phosphorus in your blood work, then you need to avoid high phosphorus foods and drinks. While some beverages contain naturally occurring phosphorus (like cow’s milk), many have phosphorus added as a preservative. Check the labels of your favorite beverages for phosphorus additives.

While phosphorus is not required to be listed in the nutrition facts, the phosphorus additives will be found in the list of ingredients. You can recognize phosphorus additives by looking for “phos” in some capacity. Some examples include:

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

So what are some examples of kidney-friendly drinks?

  • Brewed (not bottled) iced tea
  • Coffee
  • Lemonade
  • Apple juice or apple cider
  • Grape juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Crystal Light
  • Mio flavor additive (or similar)
  • Seltzer 
  • Almond Milk
  • Rice Milk
  • Root beer
  • Clear sodas
  • Bai (check potassium if applicable)
  • Sparkling Ice
  • Smoothies (Blend your favorite frozen fruit with non-dairy yogurt, ice, and almond milk)

kidney friendly drinks

If you have diabetes, elevated blood sugars can worsen kidney function, so you want to limit sugar sweetened beverages like soda as well as fruit juice, and opt for unsweetened, diet, or sugar free versions instead.

Water is an important, kidney-friendly drink.

Like we said before, water is definitely a kidney-friendly beverage but it can get boring. 

Here are some kidney-friendly water ideas to make it more flavorful!

There are lots of ways to make water exciting again – consider infusing water with fruit to put a fun spin on traditional water.

You can let the infused water sit for 1-2 hours at room temperature, at fridge temp for 3-4 hours, or up to 12 hours to increase fruity/tangy flavor.
  • Blackberry-sage water
  • Apple-cinnamon water
  • Cucumber-lemon water
  • Strawberry-basil water
  • Mint-lemon water
  • Blackberry-orange-ginger water
  • Pineapple-mint water
  • Raspberry-lime water
  • Watermelon-rosemary water
  • Pineapple-coconut-lime water

Check out our other kidney friendly blogs for more help!

Blog reviewed and updated May 2024

An award winning recipe developer, Dietitian Kaitlin’s mission is to empower others to reach their health goals by encouraging them to get back into the kitchen. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and Cooking with Diabetes.