Eating with Phosphorous and Potassium Restrictions

Q: I have end-stage renal failure and diabetes. It's hard to balance my diet with the phosphorus and potassium restrictions. Few food packages list these elements in any usable numbers. Please help!

A: As you've found, following a renal meal plan is challenging because there are numerous dietary restrictions. If you haven't already done so, see a registered dietitian for a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid.

For low-potassium foods, many fruits are on the list, including:

  • apples

  • blueberries

  • grapes

  • peaches

  • strawberries

In the vegetable category, consider:

  • cooked carrots

  • green beans

  • cooked green cabbage

  • cooked red cabbage

  • cauliflower

  • mixed vegetables

  • fresh mushrooms

  • peas

Rice, noodles, and bread products without whole grains will add low-potassium carbohydrates and bulk to your meals. Fresh chicken, fish, and pork (instead of processed meat) and nonbran rice or wheat cereals help you avoid phosphorus.

A dietitian can customize your meal plan so you don't have to agonize over what to eat. With end-stage renal disease, many diabetes-related food limitations also change.

A good source for recipes

Virginia Zamudio Lange, R.N., M.S.N., CDE, is a registered nurse, certified diabetes educator, and a past president of the American Association of Diabetes Educators.