Meal Plan For Diabetics With Kidney Disease


In this post we will look at what meal plan for diabetics with kidney disease will contain and learn why it is important. Diabetics with kidney disease need to maintain a proper diet. A diet that is low in fat will aid those with kidney disease, especially if they are diabetic. The kidneys have difficulty removing fat. Therefore, it should be kept at a minimum for diabetics with kidney disease.

Diabetes and Kidney Disease: What to Eat?

Woman eating edamame

Diabetes meal plans and chronic renal disease meal plans (CKD). Learn how to eat healthily for both.
You’re not alone if you have both diabetes and CKD; roughly one in three American individuals with diabetes also has CKD. Your body functions best when you follow the appropriate diet, yet choosing what to eat can be very difficult. What is beneficial to you on one meal plan might not be beneficial on another.

Your first step: meet with a registered dietitianexternal icon who’s trained in both diabetes and CKD nutrition. Together you’ll create a diet plan to keep blood sugar levels steady and reduce how much waste and fluid your kidneys have to handle.

Medicare and many private insurance plans may pay for your appointment. Ask if your policy covers medical nutrition therapy (MNT). MNT includes a nutrition plan designed just for you, which the dietitian will help you learn to follow.

CKD and diabetes diets include many of the same items, but there are some significant variations. For the fundamentals, continue reading.

Diabetes Diet

A healthy diabetes diet looks pretty much like a healthy diet for anyone: lots of fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and lean protein; less salt, sugar, and foods high in refined carbsexternal icon (cookies, crackers, and soda, just to name a few). Your individual carb goal is based on your age, activity level, and any medicines you take. Following your meal plan will help keep your blood sugar levels in your target range, which will also prevent more damage to your kidneys.

Kidney Diet

Avoid using herbal supplements.

You shouldn’t take herbal supplements if you have kidney illness. A few can damage your kidneys and potentially exacerbate kidney illness. Vitamins that can harm the kidneys should also be avoided. Before taking any vitamins or supplements, always with your doctor.

A CKD diet consists of eating other meals to provide you energy and keep you nourished while avoiding or limiting some items to preserve your kidneys. Depending on whether you have early-stage, late-stage, or are receiving dialysis, your exact diet will change.

Foods to Limit

Consume less sodium/salt. That’s a smart approach for diabetes and crucial for people with CKD. Your kidneys lose the capacity to regulate your sodium-water balance over time. Your blood pressure will drop and you’ll experience less fluid retention, which is a frequent symptom of kidney illness, if you consume less sodium.

Eat only a minimal amount of restaurant food and packaged food, which are typically high in sodium, and concentrate on eating fresh, home-cooked meals. On food labels, look for low salt content (5% or less).

You’ll get used to eating less salt in a week or two, especially if you add more flavor to your cuisine with herbs, spices, mustard, and flavored vinegars. However, only take salt replacements if your doctor or nutritionist approves of them. You may want to limit their high potassium content.

You might also need to cut back on the amount of potassium, phosphorus, and protein in your diet, depending on the stage of renal illness you’re in. Numerous things that are often a component of a healthy diet might not be suitable for a CKD diet.

Phosphorus is a mineral that keeps your bones strong and other parts of your body healthy. Your kidneys can’t remove extra phosphorus from your blood very well. Too much weakens bones and can damage your blood vessels, eyes, and heart. Meat, dairy, beans, nuts, whole-grain bread, and dark-colored sodas are high in phosphorus. Phosphorus is also added to lots of packaged foods.

The proper potassium intake keeps your muscles and neurons in good operating order. Too much potassium can accumulate in your blood when you have CKD, which can lead to major heart issues. Potassium-rich foods include whole-grain bread, potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, and whole-wheat pasta. White bread, apples, and carrots have reduced potassium content. A potassium binder, a medication that aids your body in eliminating excess potassium, may be recommended by your doctor.

Consume the correct quantity of protein. Overconsuming protein stresses your kidneys and could exacerbate CKD. However, too little is also unhealthy. Protein is included in both plant and animal meals. Your dietician can advise you on the ideal protein combinations and serving sizes to consume.

Diabetes & CKD Foods

Close-up of diet plan

You can get many delicious suggestions for nutritious meals from your dietitian.

Here are a few examples of foods that people with CKD and diabetes can eat. More advice and assistance in finding ideas for delectable meals can be obtained from your dietitian:

  • Fruits: berries, grapes, cherries, apples, plums
  • Veggies: cauliflower, onions, eggplant, turnips
  • Proteins: lean meats (poultry, fish), eggs, unsalted seafood
  • Carbs: white bread, bagels, sandwich buns, unsalted crackers, pasta
  • Drinks: water, clear diet sodas, unsweetened tea

Your CKD diet and diabetic diet can cooperate in the following ways: If you drink orange juice to treat low blood sugar, try apple or grape juice instead for your kidneys. With far less potassium, the blood-sugar rise will be the same.

Late-Stage CKD

Your nutrition needs will change with late-stage CKD. If you’re on dialysis, you may need to eat more, especially more protein. Your appetite can change because food tastes different.

Dialysis filters your blood in the same way as your kidneys do, but it doesn’t perform as well. Your body may retain fluid between treatments. You might need to limit how much fluid you consume, and keep an eye out for swelling in your legs, arms, tummy, or area around your eyes.

With late-stage CKD, your blood sugar levels may even improve, presumably as a result of modifications in the way your body uses insulin. But because the fluid used to filter your blood is high in glucose, when you’re on dialysis, your blood sugar can rise (sugar). Your doctor will regularly monitor you because it will be difficult to predict whether you will need insulin or other diabetic medications.

See Your Dietitian

Your diet will change as your CKD and diabetes do. Make sure you visit your nutritionist as often as advised. You’ll receive the help and assurance you require to control your meals, find solutions to issues, and maintain your best level of health.

Diet Tips for People with Diabetes and Kidney Disease

One of the most crucial forms of treatment for diabetes and renal disease is diet. If you have diabetes and have been told you have kidney disease, you should work with a dietitian to develop a diet that is ideal for you. This strategy will lessen the quantity of waste and fluid your kidneys have to process while also assisting in blood glucose management.

Which nutrients do I need to regulate?

Your dietician will provide you with dietary recommendations that specify the amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates you can consume daily as well as the amount of potassium, phosphorus, and sodium you should consume. You will limit or avoid specific items as you plan your meals because your diet has to be lower in certain minerals.

Additionally crucial is portion control. Consult your dietician for advice on how to measure serving sizes precisely. On the kidney diet, what could classify as one portion on a typical diet might be considered three servings.

To maintain a consistent level of blood sugar throughout the day, your doctor and dietitian may also advise you to consume meals and snacks of the same size and caloric/carbohydrate content at specific times of the day.

It’s crucial to frequently monitor your blood sugar levels and to inform your doctor of the results.

What can I eat?

The list of foods that are typically suggested on a standard renal diet for patients with diabetes is shown below. Along with high sugar level, salt, potassium, and phosphorus content, this list is based on foods’ health benefits. Ask your nutritionist if you are permitted to consume any of the foods on this list, and make sure you are aware of the ideal serving size. Depending on the advice of your nutritionist, you might be able to incorporate some of the foods on the Limit or Avoid lists into your meal plan.

Carbohydrate Foods

Milk and nondairy

Skim or fat-free milk, non-dairy creamer, plain yogurt, sugar-free yogurt, sugar-free pudding, sugar-free ice cream, sugar-free nondairy frozen desserts**Portions of dairy products are often limited to 4 ounces due to high protein, potassium or phosphorus contentChocolate milk, buttermilk, sweetened yogurt, sugar sweetened pudding, sugar sweetened ice cream, sugar sweetened nondairy frozen desserts

Breads and starches

White, wheat, rye, sourdough, whole wheat and whole grain bread, unsweetened, refined dry cereals, cream of wheat, grits, malt-o-meal, oatmeal, noodles, white or whole wheat pasta, brown, white or wild rice, bagel (small), hamburger bun, unsalted crackers, cornbread (made from scratch), flour or corn tortillaBran bread, frosted or sugar-coated cereals, instant cereals, bran or granola, gingerbread, pancake mix, cornbread mix, biscuits, salted snacks including: potato chips, corn chips and crackers. Whole wheat cereals like wheat flakes and raisin bran, and whole grain hot cereals contain more phosphorus and potassium than refined products, but may still be included in limited amounts.

Fruits and juices

Apples, apple juice, applesauce, apricot halves, berries including: strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, blackberries and blueberries, low sugar cranberry juice, cherries, fruit cocktail, grapefruit, grapes, grape juice, kumquats, mandarin oranges, pears, pineapple, plums, tangerine, watermelon, fruit canned in unsweetened juiceAvocados, bananas, cantaloupe, dried fruits including: dates, raisins and prunes, honeydew melon, kiwis, kumquats, star fruit, papaya, nectarines, oranges and orange juice, pomegranate, fruit canned in syrup

Starchy vegetables

Corn, peas, mixed vegetables with corn and peas (eat these less often because they are high in phosphorus), potatoes (soaked to reduce potassium, if needed) Dried beans and peas may be included in limited amounts based on your dietitian’s recommendations.Baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, baked beans, succotash, pumpkin, winter squash

Non-starchy vegetables

Asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, frozen broccoli cuts, green beans, iceberg lettuce, kale, leeks, mustard greens, okra, onions, red and green peppers, radishes, raw spinach (1/2 cup), snow peas, summer squash, turnipsArtichoke, fresh bamboo shoots, beet greens, cactus, cooked Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, rutabagas, sauerkraut , cooked spinach, tomatoes, tomato sauce or paste, tomato juice, vegetable juice

Higher-protein foods

Meats, cheeses and eggs

Lean cuts of meat, poultry, fish and seafood; eggs, low cholesterol egg substitute; natural cheeses (limited amounts) cottage cheese (limited due to high sodium content)Bacon, canned and luncheon meats, processed cheeses, hot dogs, organ meats, nuts, pepperoni, salami, salmon, sausage

Higher-fat foods

Seasoning and calories

Soft or tub margarine low in trans fats, mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, low fat mayonnaise, low fat sour cream, low fat cream cheeseBacon fat, back fat, butter, Crisco®, lard, shortening, margarines high in trans fats, whipping cream


Water, diet clear sodas, homemade tea or lemonade sweetened with an low calorie sweetenerRegular or diet dark colas, beer, fruit juices, fruit-flavored drinks, bottled or canned iced tea or lemonade containing sugar, syrup, or phosphoric acid; tea or lemonade sweetened with sugar

You may also be instructed to limit or avoid the following sweet and salty foods:

  • Candy
  • Chocolate Regular sugar
  • Syrup
  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Baked goods
  • Ice cream
  • Canned foods
  • Condiments
  • Onion, garlic or table salt
  • TV dinners
  • Meat tenderizer
  • Marinades
  • Nuts
  • Pizza
  • Salted chips and snacks

The diet and nutrition tools on can assist you in monitoring your diabetic kidney diet once you and your dietician have collaborated to build a meal plan. More than 1,200 kidney-friendly dishes are searchable, and you may even narrow down your results by diet type, such as “dialysis and diabetes” and “chronic kidney disease (CKD) non-dialysis and diabetes.” You may also filter recipes by their nutrient content (low to high protein, low to high potassium, etc.) to see more dishes that suit your dietary requirements.

Dietary tips for people with kidney disease and diabetes

A person with diabetes has a medical ailment that affects their blood sugar levels. Kidney damage is one of the potential side effects of diabetes. Both of these disorders are highly controllable by diet. An individual can maintain a healthy state of general health by limiting some foods and consuming more of others.

Diabetic nephropathy, a form of chronic kidney disease that develops when high blood glucose levels harm kidney function, is a possible long-term complication of diabetes. In the United States, one in three persons with diabetes also has chronic renal disease (Trusted Source).

Both renal disease and diabetes can be influenced by a person’s diet. Although kidney damage may be irreversible, people can avoid or delay renal disease with lifestyle choices like dietary modifications. A healthy, balanced diet may also help regulate other types of diabetes or slow or prevent type 2 diabetes.

In this post, we go through how nutrition can help you control diabetes and kidney problems.

Relationship between food, kidney disease, and diabetes 

A person preparing food in a kitchen.

A person with diabetes and kidney illness should try to eat foods that lower their blood sugar and reduce the quantity of waste and fluid their kidneys have to filter.

The kidneys’ job is to transform extra water and waste from the body into urine for elimination. The potassium, acid, and salt levels in the body are maintained by the kidneys. When the kidneys are not entirely functional and unable to do these jobs as effectively as usual, kidney disease results.

A person can reduce the amount of minerals, salts, and fluid their kidneys must process by making dietary modifications. Additionally, they can pick foods that are energizing and unlikely to cause further health issues.

Diabetes is a medical disorder where a person cannot make enough insulin or use it properly. This hormone is in charge of enabling the body to use food-derived glucose as energy. Hyperglycemia, or too high blood sugar levels, can happen when this process is not carried out. On the other hand, hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can also happen to a person.

A person may start to feel ill if their blood sugar is not within a healthy range. A person may experience health issues if they frequently are unable to maintain certain blood glucose levels. Following a diabetes meal plan from Trusted Source can assist someone in controlling their blood sugar levels in addition to other management techniques like prescription drugs and regular exercise.

Foods to limit

People with diabetes, renal disease, or both may want to try limiting specific foods. A dietician can help a person by giving them advice on what meals they should avoid.

For kidney health

Limiting salt intake may be advantageous for those who have kidney illness. Excess sodium, which occurs naturally in many foods and makes up a large portion of table salt, can result in fluid buildup around the heart and lungs, swollen ankles, puffiness, elevated blood pressure, and shortness of breath.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (Reliable Source), persons with kidney disease should limit their daily sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams. As a result, people may want to limit their consumption of processed meals, salty seasonings, some sauces, salted snacks, and cured foods.

Additionally, a kidney disease sufferer should think about limiting their protein intake. The kidneys may find it difficult to eliminate all the waste from a high protein diet, despite the fact that this macronutrient is necessary for developing muscle and for the growth and repair of cells. Weakness, dizziness, nausea, appetite loss, and altered tastes can all result from an accumulation of extra protein waste in the blood.

Doctors may also suggest that persons with renal illness reduce their intake of potassium and phosphorus since these minerals may not be filtered out fully by their kidneys.

High levels of phosphorus can cause the body to remove calcium from bones, weakening them. Dangerous calcium deposits may also result from this, raising your chance of a heart attack, stroke, or even passing away.

Weakness, numbness, and tingling are possible side effects of high potassium levels. They may occasionally also result in an irregular pulse or a heart attack.

For diabetes

An eating strategy for diabetes seeks to assist a person in controlling their blood sugar levels and body weight as well as stop any additional health issues. A person’s eating habits can be influenced by a variety of variables, such as socioeconomic status, personal preferences, comorbid conditions, and cultural background, so speaking with a dietician is advised.

Foods heavy in sugar, such as chocolate bars and sugary drinks, should be avoided by diabetics as they can raise blood sugar levels. It’s preferable to save these foods for times when someone has to treat a hypoglycemic episode.

Be aware that certain treats with added sugar may show honey, sucrose, glucose, or fructose as an ingredient on the label rather than actual sugar.

Similar to how a person might want to monitor their intake of carbs and set a daily intake target, Complex carbohydrates can be substituted for some foods when possible because they are less likely to result in blood sugar increases. For instance, a person might opt for whole grain bread instead of white bread and whole fruit instead of fruit juice.

Limiting the intake of salt, saturated fats, and trans fats can be beneficial for those with diabetes because they have a higher risk of high blood pressure.

Foods to include and healthy eating plans to try 

For someone with diabetes and kidney disease, there is no one diet that fits all. The stage of a person’s illnesses, their weight, and their personal preferences will all influence what they decide to consume to a large extent.

However, a lot of processed foods have extra additives that could make renal and diabetic problems worse. To fully understand the ingredients, a person with these circumstances might want to cook and prepare their own meals.

Although having diabetes and renal disease may make a person feel as though their food options are considerably limited, a balanced diet plan can still include a variety of foods. In many instances, people can continue to enjoy the same meals and snacks while substituting healthier options or having fewer portions.

The following foods and beverages are appropriate for people with diabetes and kidney disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source:

  • Fruits: berries, grapes, cherries, apples, and plums
  • Veggies: cauliflower, onions, eggplant, and turnips
  • Proteins: eggs, unsalted seafood, and lean meats, such as poultry and fish
  • Carbs: whole grain breads, unsalted crackers, and pasta
  • Drinks: water, clear diet sodas, and unsweetened tea

A physician or dietitian may recommend components of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet since diabetes and kidney disease are both known risk factors for high blood pressure, which is also a risk factor for both. The DASH diet tries to lower blood pressure, and it may also help you control your weight and lower your cholesterol.

Other tips for healthy kidneys and diabetes management

People can take steps to maintain their kidney health and control their blood sugars. These steps includeTrusted Source:

  • engaging in regular physical activity
  • reaching or maintaining a moderate body weight
  • following a balanced eating plan and modifying it if necessary
  • staying hydrated
  • quitting smoking, if applicable
  • limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption, if applicable
  • adopting good sleep hygiene practices to get sufficient sleep


Many people have both renal disease and diabetes. A person can better manage these illnesses and reduce their risk of problems by adhering to a food regimen that helps regulate blood sugar and decreases stress on the kidneys.

Although it is crucial for some people to restrict their intake of particular foods, this strategy might occasionally feel difficult. However, a wide variety of foods are available that can be incorporated into a personalized, nutrient-dense eating plan. People may think about speaking with a dietician for more assistance.

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