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Ask the Dietitian: What foods are okay to eat on dialysis?

Question:

I’m new to dialysis and I am not sure what I can eat. What foods are okay to eat on dialysis?


Answer:

When you progress from CKD to dialysis your diet and nutrition needs change. You will hear a lot about the 3 P’s, protein, potassium, and phosphorus. The amount of protein you need to eat increases during dialysis. Try to eat a protein food that is at least the size of the palm of your hand at each meal. You may be prescribed a protein supplement to make sure you are getting all the protein you need. Depending on your lab values you may need to limit or increase the number of high potassium foods in your diet. Some people will have to choose foods that are lower in potassium more often. Phosphorus is found in many of the foods we choose to eat. Try to limit the number of foods that you eat that contain phosphorus additives. These are common in self-stable foods like pancake mix or cake mix, macaroni and cheese, cheese, and soda. Choosing more whole foods that are minimally processed will help you manage your phosphorus. Continue to limit the amount of salt in your food and use herbs, spices, and vinegar to season your food in place of salt. Cooking at home and limiting processed foods and restaurant meals is helpful for people on a limited salt diet. Your doctor will let you know how much fluid is ok for you to drink. You have likely noticed that you produce very little or no urine. This means you have to be in control of how much fluid you drink since you will not be able to eliminate it like you did before when you produced more urine. Work with your dialysis team which includes a registered dietitian to make sure you are eating the right foods for your health.


Got a question for Dr. Melissa Prest?

Send it to her at mprest@nkfi.org and she may answer it on the blog!

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