Diet and Nutrition

When you have chronic kidney disease, you may have to adjust or change the way you eat to help keep you healthy. With a few changes in your usual diet, you can have a wide variety of healthy and tasty meals whether dining at home or in restaurants.

Each person has different nutrition needs. Your Dietitian will work with you and your family or caregivers to help you create and individualize a nutrition plan that works for you!

"How I coped with diet changes" YouTube video

"The dietitians were always available to help" YouTube video

"How I cope with the fluid restrictions on hemodialysis" YouTube video

How could my diet change?

Some diet changes may include:

  • Eating more protein to replace the protein lost during dialysis
  • Eating less salt or sodium from foods and beverages (in homemade, store-bought, and restaurant foods)
  • Eating less potassium from foods and beverages
  • Eating less phosphorus from foods and beverages
  • Making healthy food choices for both diabetes and kidney disease
  • Eating more protein and calories, if you have lost too much weight
  • Drinking less fluid from beverages and some foods
  • Nutrition supplements are specialized meal replacement that gives you extra nutrition. It can help to stop unhealthy weight loss and keep you at a healthy weight when you have a low appetite. Some examples are Boost, Ensure, Nepro, and Novasource Renal

Remember: you may not have to make all of these changes. Talk with your Dietitian to make an eating plan that works for you.

What if I have to follow other types of diets?

Your Dietitian can help with that too! Talk with your Renal Dietitian if you need help making food choices for the kidney diet plus any other dietary needs, such as:

  • Crohn’s/Colitis
  • Food allergies/intolerances
  • Celiac disease (gluten-free diet)
  • Diabetes
  • Vegetarian Diet

Do I have a Dietitian if I am in a satellite dialysis unit?

Yes! Each satellite dialysis unit has a Dietitian from the London Health Sciences Renal Program. You meet your Dietitian during your assessment dialysis treatments at the Kidney Care Centre (Westmount Mall). Plus your Dietitian visits your dialysis unit once a year. You can also talk with your Dietitian by telephone anytime you have questions or concerns about your nutrition.

Tasty Renal Friendly Recipe

Cool ‘n’ Crunchy Chicken Salad

Makes 6 servings (1/2 cup each)


2 cupscooked chicken, diced or shredded
1 largehard boiled egg, chopped
2 tablespoonsonion, diced
1/4 cupcelery, diced
1/4 cuplow-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoonfresh lemon juice
1/3 teaspoonsugar
To tasteblack pepper


  1. Dice or shred cooked chicken.
  2. Chop egg, onion and celery. Place in a large bowl.
  3. Add mayonnaise, lemon juice, sugar, and black pepper. Stir all ingredients together.
  4. Cover and chill overnight, or at least 2 hours before serving.
  5. If desired, serve on bread, roll, croissant, or pita bread with green leaf lettuce.

Include 1 serving (1/2 cup) in your meal plan as:

  • 2 unit Meat & Alternates

If you include bread (1 slice), 1 dinner roll, or 6” pita:

  • 1 unit Grains & Starches

Trusted Nutrition Websites:

Some of the information included in these websites may conflict with the information provided by your Renal Dietitian. To avoid confusion, please speak with your dialysis Dietitian.

Culinary Kidney Cooks:
Lots of recipes and nutrition information for people with kidney disease. Please note that this is an American (US) website, so some recipe ingredients may not be available in Canada. Plus, it refers to the American Food Pyramid instead of Canada’s Food Guide.

For renal recipes, tips, and other kidney disease information

Kidney Community Kitchen:
From the Kidney Foundation of Canada – information and recipes to help you manage your renal diet

Public Health Agency of Canada:
A variety of health information

Dietitians of Canada:
General nutrition information from Canadian Dietitians

Health Canada:
For general nutrition information, like how to read a food label.

Here are some tests the dieticians order to determine how well your dialysis is going:

nPNA (normalized protein-equivalent of nitrogen appearance)
Shows how much protein you have eaten over a period of time, a part of urea kinetic modeling (see below). Ask your Dietitian for your results.

Urea kinetic modeling (also called UKM)
Calculates how well your dialysis is working. If you have urine output, your nurse will sometimes ask you to do a urine collection so we can use that in the calculations.