Choosing renal diet snacks doesn’t have to be difficult

Being diagnosed with chronic kidney disease can be scary and overwhelming. What does this mean for me? Will I need dialysis? Is there anything I can do to slow the progression? And if mealtime wasn’t complicated enough to figure out, now you have to figure out some renal diet snacks to stock your pantry with.
 

What counts as a renal diet snack? 

The short answer is, it depends. Everyone’s kidney function is different, which makes one’s dietary needs often different from others.  However, there are some dietary changes that can be made to help the kidneys out. Before we talk about renal diet snacks, let’s talk about eating for kidney health. Two of the dietary needs I often address first are sodium and protein.
 

Sodium in the Renal Diet 

 
It can be very helpful to reduce the sodium in your diet. Reading labels and preparing more foods at home can go a long way. Snacks are an area where foods can be quite high in sodium. Looking for low sodium and unsalted versions of snack foods and packaged foods is important. Adding in more produce and fresh foods is also a great idea for more fiber and antioxidants.
 

Now, what about protein?

 
Protein creates byproducts that your kidneys need to filter out. The more protein you eat, the more work the kidneys need to do. Yes, we want to reduce protein. But we also want to consider the types of proteins we are eating. Plant-based proteins are better for the kidneys. So eating more plant-based (ie vegan/vegetarian) meals and snacks is a great idea.
 
What are plant-based proteins? Check out our low protein diet and CKD blog.
 

Potassium and the Kidneys

Now you may be saying, wait a second. Plant proteins like beans and nuts have potassium and my doctor said to avoid potassium. This is where the renal diet can get complicated. Some people who are managing kidney disease have high potassium levels in their blood work. If this is the case, then yes, we do need to limit high potassium foods. But not all plant proteins are astronomically high in potassium like we may believe.
renal diet snacks
So what about renal diet snacks? I’ve rounded up some snack ideas that are renal friendly – lower in protein, low sodium, and mostly plant based. I’ve listed the potassium content for these snacks so you can work with your dietitian to determine what can work with your specific needs! 

25 Renal Diet Snacks to Keep You Satisfied

Please note, the number in parentheses is the milligrams of potassium in that food item! 

almond yogurt and berries renal diet snacks

Fruit

(Low potassium options: apple, blueberries, cherries, dried cranberries, grapes, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, peach, pear, pineapple)

1 medium apple (195 mg) + 2 Tbsp low sodium or no salt added nut butter (peanut butter 104 mg)
1 cup blueberries (114 mg) + 1 oz walnuts (125 mg)
1/2 cup cherries (171 mg) + 3/4 cup non-dairy yogurt (Kite Hill almond milk yogurt 114 mg)

Veggies

(Low potassium: cauliflower, celery, cucumber, lettuce, bell pepper, zucchini)

1 cup cucumber (152 mg) + 2 Tbsp cream cheese or neufchâtel (0-43 mg)
1 cup bell pepper (194 mg)+ 2 Tbsp hummus (30-60 mg)
1 cup cauliflower (320 mg) + 1/4 cup low sodium veggie dip (mix our no sodium ranch seasoning into plain almond milk yogurt; 80 mg)
renal diet snacks
cracker with peanut butter

Low sodium crackers

1 serving Wheat Thin Hint of Salt crackers (90 mg) + cream cheese or neufchâtel (0-43 mg)
1 serving Blue Diamond Nut Thin crackers (60 mg) + hummus (30-60 mg)
1 serving unsalted Saltines (17 mg) + nut butter (peanut butter 104 mg)

Rice cakes

1 serving Quaker lightly salted rice cakes (30 mg) + peanut butter (104 mg)
1 serving Coco Pops (35 mg) + hummus (30-60 mg)
coco pop with peanut butter

Other Snack Foods

1 serving Annie’s Animal Cookies (0 mg)
1 serving Xochitl unsalted corn chips (potassium not listed, likely approximately 60 mg)
1 serving Snyder’s unsalted pretzels (0 mg)
1 serving Skinny Pop popcorn (40 mg)

Sweet Snacks

1 Outshine fruit bar (55 mg strawberry)
1 serving cookies – Lorna Doone (20 mg) or Lotus biscoff (25 mg)
1 serving Nilla wafers (30 mg)
1 slice Sara Lee pound cake (48 mg)
biscoff cookies renal diet snacks
tofu pudding renal diet snacks

Not Just for Breakfast

Smoothie: 1 cup frozen mixed berries, 1/4 cup frozen riced cauliflower, 1/2 cup almond milk, 2 Tbsp hemp hearts (375 mg)
Chia pudding – our recipe, but use almond milk instead of cow’s milk (162 mg)
Overnight Oats – combine equal parts oats, almond milk, and plant based yogurt and desired flavorings and let sit in fridge overnight (150 mg) 
Apple Cinnamon Maple Granola (107 mg potassium) + almond milk  (170 mg) 

Looking for more help with the renal diet besides snacks?

Start here!
 
 
 
 
 
Whether you were just diagnosed with CKD and don’t know where to start, or you have been struggling to manage it on your own for some time, we have renal dietitians who can help you plan balanced and satisfying meals and snacks that support kidney health!
+ posts

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.