Chronic Kidney Disease

While chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects approximately 11% of adult Americans, for older adults, the frequency rate jumps to nearly 40%. If a family member in your life struggles with CKD, following the doctor’s recommended dietary plan is critical. The goal is to make certain that quantities of fluid, minerals, and electrolytes remain balanced.

The National Kidney Foundation is a great resource, with chapters in the majority of states, providing support and educational material to both patients with CKD and loved ones who care for them. They offer the following nutritional guidelines, outlining foods to avoid with chronic kidney disease, as well as those that are beneficial (but always check with your loved one’s physician before changing his or her diet):


Carbohydrates are a great source of energy for folks who need to follow a low-protein diet, along with providing necessary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These generally include breads, grains, fruits and vegetables, in addition to sweets such as cookies/cakes, honey, sugar, hard candy, and jelly (limiting nuts, chocolate, bananas, and dairy).


The doctor or dietitian may recommend a low-protein diet, but proteins will still be essential, and may be acquired through fish, poultry, eggs, pork, and even egg whites or protein powders.


The levels of these minerals are checked regularly in those with chronic kidney disease. Phosphorous levels in particular that are elevated may cause the body to utilize calcium from the bones, reducing their strength and raising the possibility for a break. It is advised to avoid high-phosphorous foods, for example, milk, yogurt, and cheese, but heavy cream, margarine, butter, ricotta, and brie cheese contain lower levels and may also be approved as part of the senior’s dietary plan. Calcium and vitamin D supplements may be required to prevent bone disease as well.


Reducing sodium in the diet is a good idea not only for kidney health, but to regulate hypertension also. To minimize sodium intake, look for foods labeled “low-sodium,” “no salt added,” “unsalted,” etc., and avoid adding salt while cooking or season food prior to eating, choosing sodium-free seasonings such as lemon or herbs.


Potassium levels must also be watched closely in individuals diagnosed with CKD. As many vegetables and fruit contain high levels of potassium, it’s safest to select those from these options:

  • Fruit: grapes, pears, peaches, apples, pineapple, tangerines, watermelon, berries, plums
    • AVOID: nectarines, oranges, dried fruits, kiwis, bananas, honeydew, prunes, cantaloupe, nectarines
  • Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, celery, eggplant, green beans, peppers, yellow squash, lettuce, zucchini, and onions
    • AVOID: avocado, asparagus, potatoes, winter squash, tomatoes, pumpkin, and cooked spinach


Low iron and anemia are typical in seniors with chronic kidney disease. Foods with high iron content include beef, pork, chicken, liver, kidney and lima beans, and cereals with added iron.

Grace Home Care, providers of trusted Topeka dementia care and home care, can help by shopping for, planning, and preparing healthy, nutritious meals according to any prescribed dietary plan, and we will even tidy up the kitchen afterwards! We’re also available to provide transportation to doctors’ appointments, pick up prescriptions, and offer friendly companionship in order to make life with CKD easier. Reach out to us at 785-286-2273 to learn more about our exceptional senior care in Topeka! For a full list of all of the communities we serve, please visit our Service Area page.