cooking tip for kidney patients
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Kidney patients have too many dietary restrictions. It’s normal to be confused while planning for their menu. They need utmost care for their diet. Little negligence may invite a large crisis. Generally, kidney patients have restrictions on the intake of –

  • Sodium 
  • Sugar
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorous
  • Protein
  • Fluid

Therefore whatever you make for breakfast or snack has to be low on these nutrients. Following few cooking rules will help you to achieve that. Unfortunately, you cannot afford to bend the rules as they are absolutely necessary. (1) (2) (3)

Follow the 10 best cooking tips for kidney patients to make the diet safe.

Cooking tips for kidney patients –

1. No salt in cooking

Cooking tips for Kidney patients 1

It’s difficult but very important. Salt is the major source of sodium in our diet.

Most kidney patients have high blood pressure. They also experience low urine volume. Extra sodium in the body develops further water retention and increases blood pressure.

Controlling salt intake helps to manage the situation better. Cook food without adding salt.

How to eat food without adding any salt?

  • The patient can have 1 teaspoon of salt in a day. Divide the portion into 3 parts – one for breakfast/ snack, one for lunch and one for the dinner.
  • Take the part of the salt in a dish separately along with the breakfast/ lunch/ dinner.
  • Take a toothpick.
  • Ask the patient to touch the blunt side of the toothpick in the salt and then touch it in both side of his tongue. Let him now take a spoon of food in the mouth.
  • This will give him a sense of salt even though the food has no salt.

2. Control usage of sugar

Many kidney patients are also diabetic. Therefore, you must keep a check on sugar consumption.

One can have 1-2 teaspoons of sugar in a day wherever he feels like. Try to have trust in sweet fruits – ripe banana, apple, guava, ripe papaya, orange, pineapple, grapes, pears, etc – for satisfying the sweet craving.

3. Wash everything

Cooking tips for Kidney patients 2

Kidney patients won’t be able to handle any food poisoning etc. Therefore you need to be very careful to maintain food hygiene.

Apart from food hygiene, soaking and washing of foods help to eliminate antinutritional factors from food which makes food easier to digest.

Grains like – oats/ poha/ suji/ rice/ dalia etc or, raw vegetables or fruits, etc need to be soaked and washed 3-4 times with excess water before cooking.

For cooking dal, soak it overnight and then wash 2-3 times the next day before cooking.

4. Chop small and boil more

Cooking tips for Kidney patients 3

This is going to be the mantra while you are making vegetables.

  • After washing, peel off the vegetables and chop them in small sizes
  • Again wash with water 2-3 times
  • Boil them in excess water
  • After boiling, discard the excess water
  • Add fresh water and boil again
  • Discard the excess water and then take the vegetables for cooking

This will help to eliminate most of the potassium from the vegetables. Follow this trick to cook any vegetables.

5. Plan menu around a grain

Kidney patients have protein restriction to a certain level. Therefore you cannot plan a menu around any protein-rich food. It makes sense if you fix a grain for breakfast/ snack and then plan a dish around it.

For example, one day for breakfast if you are making some item with Flaked rice (Poha), you may consider having bread for the evening snack.

Since most of the kidney patients are also diabetic, to balance the glycemic load don’t forget to add treated (as mentioned above) vegetables along with the grain to make a dish.

6. Avoid liquid food

Your doctor must have told to control the fluid intake as per the urine output.

But patients need to drink water at least for gulping the medicines. It is important to avoid giving any liquid food – milk, fruit juice, smoothie, etc to save that portion for water. Prepare solid or semi-solid food depending on the patient’s physical condition.

Tips to help the patient to curb the thirst

  • Use mouthwash or frequently brush your teeth
  • Chew chewing gum
  • Limit consuming sodium containing foods and spicy food
  • Try drinking cold beverages instead of a hot one
  • Sip on your drink, try to keep the fluid in your mouth for longer
  • Try licking ice
  • Use small cup

7. No packaged/ processed food

Cooking tips for Kidney patients 5

Packaged foods contain very high amounts of sugar, sodium along with a variety of additives. These additives are rich in phosphorous. Please note – 

  • Organic phosphorous present in the vegetables as phytates etc  – partially absorbed in body
  • Organic phosphorous present in the animal foods as casein etc – well absorbed in body
  • Inorganic phosphorous present in the additives of processed foods – 100% absorbed in body

Therefore you should not use any instant packaged/ processed food-like sauce, salad dressing. Instant noodles, instant pasta, instant popcorn, packaged fruit/ vegetable juice, pickle, biscuits, cookies, confectionaries, etc – while making food for the kidney patients.

8. Bring variety in diet

Do not depend on a particular grain or dal or vegetables for all the meals. Bring variety to the diet. Follow the measures for treating the grain/ dal/ vegetables etc well as discussed above. Variety in food choices will help you to get the benefits of that food without exposing to its side effects.

Except for fruits, avoid any raw foods for the patient.  If foods (grain or dal or vegetables) are washed, soaked, boiled, and cooked thoroughly, you can use most of the variety in the diet.

9. Use fresh fruits and vegetables

Cooking tips for Kidney patients 7

Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best choices for kidney patients. Avoid buying canned vegetables as they are generally dipped in salt solution. You may use frozen vegetables for cooking. However, make sure the frozen vegetables have no preservatives. So read the ingredient list at the back of the packet carefully.

10. Spice up the cooking

You can’t use salt while cooking for a kidney patient. But you want him to eat well. How does it possible? Use spices in the cooking to make it tasty. Feel free to use – onion, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, black pepper, and other common Indian spices.

Avoid using readymade masala mix. It’s better to use individual masala while cooking.

Bottom line

Kidney patients have many dietary restrictions. However processing foods with washing, soaking, peeling, chopping, boiling, etc makes it body-friendly for them. Most of the anti-nutritional factors, potassium, phosphorous can be eliminated with these methods. Follow the 10 best cooking tips for kidney patients at home especially for Indian cooking. You will be fine.


Indian diet for kidney patients NOT on dialysis

Indian diet for dialysis patients

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Dr. Soma Chakrabarty is based in Hyderabad. She has 15 yrs of working experience in nutrition. She guides people to modify eating behavior and achieve goals for wellness. She believes in a practical diet that helps people to live rather than survive.

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