You have recently been diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease and your doctor has told you that you must follow a kidney friendly diet. You may have many questions or thoughts going through your head of where to start and our team of Registered Dietitians are here to help!

To help, we are starting a blog series to help cover all the basics of what to eat, why these foods would be the best choices, and how these foods will help you safely manage your CKD.

If you have discovered this page, there is a good chance that you googled “what foods can I eat
for chronic kidney disease?” – if so, we have answers for you!

Kidney disease can be very scary, and very complicated. The good news is that nutrition can help you not only retain kidney function, but also make you feel better!

Navigating Nutrients for CKD

There are four components that we want you to get familiar with and will need to know to help make following a diet for chronic kidney disease (CKD) easier.  Some you may be familiar with and others may be completely new to you.  We have listed out the four components below and each will be explained thoroughly in our upcoming blog series, but to start this blog series off we are diving deep into phosphorus and the role it plays in managing CKD. 

There are four vital components to a kidney-friendly diet:

1) Phosphorous 

2) Potassium

3) Sodium

4) Protein

Easy CKD Food Swaps

Here is an overview of which foods are high in each nutrient that may harm your kidneys and which foods will help you take the some stress off of your kidneys. Each of these nutrients are discussed in more detail in complimentary blogs linked to this blog.

Kidney disease diet

If you find yourself thinking “what on earth is phosphorus? where do I find that?” – if so, you aren’t alone!

Let’s focus on Phosphorous and Kidney Disease


Phosphorus is a tricky mineral, as it is hidden in several food additives under a long, complicated name.

Check Labels To Ensure Foods Are Low In Phosphorous 

It is important to balance phosphorus levels because patients with CKD cannot remove phosphorus well from the kidneys. When phosphorus levels become too high changes begin to occur in the body such as weak bones, calcium depositing in the blood vessels, and overtime could lead to increased risk of heart attack, stroke, or death. 
For these reasons it is important to keep track of your phosphorus levels. Asking your doctor or registered dietitian what your phosphorus levels were is a great way of keeping track.  Normal phosphorus level is between 2.5 to 4.5 mg/dL. 
Phosphorus can be found in many foods in the form of an additive or preservative! Make sure to check labels for the following names: dicalcium phosphate, disodium phosphate, monosodium phosphate, phosphoric acid, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, and several others. 
Luckily, we have created this table of swaps for you below to help you identify and replace some food items that are higher in phosphorus with items that are lower. Here are a couple of great ideas for some swaps you can do but if you have any specific questions relating to the phosphorus content of a food, reach out to Rebecca Bitzer & Associates so Kaitlin or Liz can help find a kidney-friendly plan for you!

Low Phosphorous Foods Food Swaps:

CKD swaps

Looking for CKD Recipes with Low Phosphorous Foods?

Here are some of our favorites.


Photo credit Kaitlin Eckstein

fish taco

Photo by Klara Knezevic

Beef Lo Mein

Photo by Kaitlin Eckstein

Greek pita

Hawaiian Pork Tacos with Pineapple Habanero Salsa

Gemelli Pasta with Shrimp and a Lemon Butter Sauce

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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.