Menu choice for kidney patients – vegans

Proper renal diet is extremely important for patients with chronic renal failure. Many health professionals argue that a carefully planned vegetarian diet is an adequate way to eat in chronic kidney disease.

It is very important that the food and fluid intake of a renal patient be under the supervision of a nephrologist and a nutritionist familiar with vegan nutrition. These experts will help you choose the best vegetarian diet for kidney disease. The information provided in this article is not intended to replace consultation with physicians and nutritionists.

This article provides general principles and information about vegetarian diets that can be used in menu planning for people with chronic kidney disease, in conjunction with consultation with healthcare professionals who treat people with kidney disease.

In kidney disease, nutritional selection focuses on reducing the intake of contaminants found in foods. The goals of planning a vegetarian kidney diet, like any other kidney diet, are to:

Getting the right amount of protein to meet the body’s protein needs while minimizing waste in the blood

Maintaining a balance of sodium, potassium and phosphorus

Avoiding excessive fluid intake to prevent congestion

Ensuring adequate nutrition

The information provided in this article provides general guidance for patients who have at least 40-50 percent normal kidney function and who do not currently require dialysis. For patients with lower renal function, individualized diet planning should be undertaken. All renal patients should be closely monitored, regularly do blood and urine tests.

Vegan protein

Kidney patients need to limit the amount of protein in their daily diet. For this reason, high-quality protein must be present in the diet. Usually, depending on individual needs, 0,8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day is recommended. That’s approximately 2 ounces of pure protein per day for a 140 lb person.

High-quality vegan protein can be obtained by kidney patients from tofu, peanut butter (no more than two tablespoons per day), tempeh, and beans. Soy meat is known for being high in quality protein, but also high in sodium, phosphorus and potassium, which should be limited.

Soy protein is a great way to minimize some of the complications of kidney disease. Patients should eat at least one serving of soy per day, such as soy milk, tofu, or tempeh. Again, a small amount of soy each day can be beneficial for kidney patients, but too much soy can be harmful.

Here are some tips for including soy foods on your vegan kidney menu:

You can spread a few tablespoons of regular tofu on the croutons. Use small chunks of tofu instead of animal protein in soups and stews. Use soft tofu instead of vegan mayonnaise in salad dressings, sandwiches, and sauces. Add spicy seasoning (no salt) to the tofu and sauté it quickly with rice or pasta, or use spiced tofu as a topping for tacos, burritos, or pizza.

Beans and nuts are good sources of high quality protein. However, they can be high in phosphorus and potassium, so the amount on your plate needs to be carefully calculated. Try using beans or beans cooked without salt. Canned beans tend to be high in sodium.

A way to balance your potassium intake: Along with a source of essential protein (which can be rich in potassium), eat fruits and vegetables that are poor in potassium.


Some vegetarian foods can be very high in sodium. Here are ideas to avoid excess sodium on the menu:

Avoid using ready-to-eat foods such as frozen meals, canned soups, dry soups in bags. Use miso sparingly. Use soy sauces very sparingly. Limit your intake of soy and rice cheeses. A lot of protein, potassium and phosphorus can be concentrated in liquid amino acid preparations; if the patient wants to include these drugs in his diet, the doctor must calculate the daily dose. Read the labels of vegetarian meats and other canned or frozen soy products. Read the labels of spice mixes to avoid excess sodium.


Potassium intake should be severely restricted if kidney function has decreased to less than 20 percent. Regular blood testing is the best way to determine a patient’s potassium needs. Approximately two-thirds of dietary potassium comes from fruits, vegetables, and juices. The easiest way to limit potassium intake is to narrow down the selection of fruits and vegetables according to the patient’s blood potassium levels.

Foods rich in potassium

Textured vegetable protein Soy flour Nuts and seeds Boiled beans or lentils Tomatoes (sauce, puree) Potatoes Raisins Oranges, bananas, melons

The general limit is five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, half a glass of each serving. Molasses, spinach, chard, beet greens, and prunes are known to be very high in potassium and should probably be kept to a minimum.


Depending on the degree of kidney disease, phosphorus intake may need to be limited. Foods high in phosphorus include bran, cereals, wheat germ, whole grains, dried beans and peas, cola, beer, cocoa, and chocolate drinks. Dried beans, peas, and whole grains are high in phosphorus, but due to their high phytate content, they may not cause a significant increase in blood phosphorus.

Adequate nutrition

A vegan diet may contain fewer calories and more fiber than eating animal products. This is good news for healthy patients. However, a vegan with kidney disease should make sure that his diet does not lead to weight loss.

Here are some tips for adding more calories to a vegetarian kidney diet:

Make shakes with soy milk, tofu, rice milk, and a non-dairy frozen dessert. Some patients, especially the severely ill, may need to use unfortified soy milk or rice milk and unfortified soy yogurt.

Use more cooking oil, such as olive oil. Drizzle flaxseed oil over food after cooking, or add it to salad dressing.

Make sure to eat small, frequent meals if you feel full very quickly.

Although sugar is not the best choice in the diet, for kidney patients who need extra calories, sherbet, vegan hard candies and jellies can be helpful.

Additional Ideas When Planning a Vegan Kidney Menu

Avoid using salt or salt substitutes. Use mixtures of fresh or dried herbs.

If you must use canned vegetables, opt for low-sodium options.

Use fresh or frozen (no salt) fruits and vegetables whenever possible.

Foods low in potassium are green beans, kiwi, watermelon, onions, lettuce, bell peppers, pears, and raspberries.

Foods low in phosphorus are sherbet, unsalted popcorn, white bread and white rice, hot and cold cereals, pasta, corn-based cold snacks (such as corn flakes), and semolina.

Sample Menu

Breakfast Semolina or rice cereal porridge with some fresh or thawed cinnamon peaches White toast with marmalade Pear smoothie

Afternoon snack Popcorn with very little nutritional yeast Sparkling water with lemon and lime Raspberry popsicle

Dinner Noodles with mushrooms, broccoli and nutritional yeast Green salad with chopped bell peppers (red, yellow and green in color) and soft tofu as salad dressing Garlic bread with fresh chopped garlic and olive oil Biscuits

Snacks in the afternoon Tofu with tortilla Soda water with kiwi slice

Dinner Sauteed seitan or tempeh with onions and cauliflower, served with herbs and rice Chilled watermelon chunks

Evening snack Soy milk

smoothie recipe

(Serves 4) 2 cups soft tofu 3 cups ice 2 tablespoons coffee or green tea 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 tablespoons rice syrup

Place all ingredients in a blender, the resulting homogeneous mass should be served immediately.

Total Calories Per Serving: 109 Fat: 3 grams Carbohydrates: 13 g Protein: 6 grams Sodium: 24 mg Fiber: <1 gram Potassium: 255 mg Phosphorus: 75 mg

hot spicy porridge recipe

(serves 4) 4 cups water 2 cups hot rice Wheat or semolina 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ cup maple syrup 1 teaspoon ginger powder

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add all the ingredients gradually and continue stirring until the mixture is smooth. Cook, stirring, until desired texture is achieved.

Total Calories Per Serving: 376 Fat: <1 gram Carbohydrates: 85 grams Protein: 5 grams Sodium: 7 milligrams Fiber: <1 gram Potassium: 166 mg Phosphorus: 108 mg

lemon hummus This snack contains more phosphorus and potassium than other spreads, but it is a good source of protein. 2 cups cooked lamb peas 1/3 cup tahini ¼ cup lemon juice 2 crushed garlic cloves 1 tablespoon olive oil ½ teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon chopped parsley

Grind the lamb peas, tahini, lemon juice and garlic in a blender or food processor. Mix until smooth. Pour the mixture into a deep bowl. Drizzle the mixture with olive oil. Sprinkle with pepper and parsley. Serve with pita bread or unsalted crackers.

Total Calories Per Serving: 72 Fat: 4 grams Carbs: 7 grams Protein: 3 grams Sodium: 4 milligrams Fiber: 2 grams Potassium: 88 milligrams Phosphorus: 75 mg

Corn salsa with cilantro

(6-8 servings) 3 cups fresh corn kernels ½ cup chopped cilantro 1 cup chopped sweet onion ½ cup chopped fresh tomato 4 tablespoons lemon or lime juice ¼ teaspoon dried oregano 2 teaspoons chili powder or red pepper

Place the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Total Calories Per Serving: 89 Fat: 1 gram Carbohydrates: 21 grams Protein: 3 grams Sodium: 9 milligrams Fiber: 3 grams Potassium: 270 mg Phosphorus: 72 mg

mushroom tacos

(Serves 6) Here is a delicious vegetarian version of soft tacos. 2 tablespoons water 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 2 minced garlic cloves 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon minced dried oregano 3 cups thinly sliced ​​fresh mushrooms 1 cup finely chopped sweet pepper ½ cup chopped green onion (white parts) 3 tablespoons shredded vegan soy cheese 7-inch flour tortillas

In a large bowl, mix water, juice, oil, garlic, cumin, and oregano. Add mushrooms, peppers and green onions. Stir and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes. If desired, this can be done the day before.

Saute vegetable mixture with marinade until peppers and green onions are soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. You can continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated. While you cook the vegetables, heat the tortillas in the oven.

Place each tortilla on a separate plate. Spread vegetable mixture on top and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Total Calories Per Serving: 147 Fat: 5 g Carbohydrates: 23 g Protein: 4 grams Sodium: 262 mg Fiber: 1 gram Potassium: 267 mg Phosphorus: 64 mg

fruit dessert

(serves 8) 3 tablespoons melted vegan margarine 1 cup unbleached flour ¼ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ cup rice milk 3 ½ cups pitted fresh cherries 1 ¾ cup white vegan sugar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the margarine, flour, salt, baking powder and rice milk in a medium bowl and mix together the ingredients.

In a separate bowl, toss the cherries with ¾ cup sugar and pour them into an 8-inch square saucepan. Place the dough in small pieces over the cherries to cover the cherries in a beautiful pattern.

In a small bowl, mix the remaining sugar and corn starch. Pour the mixture into boiling water. Pour the cornstarch mixture over the dough. Bake 35-45 minutes or until done. Can be served warm or cold.

Note: You can use thawed cherries, peeled fresh pears, or fresh or thawed raspberries.

Total Calories Per Serving: 315 Fat: 5g Carbs: 68g Protein: 2g Sodium: 170mg Fiber: 2g Potassium: 159mg Phosphorus: 87mg



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