Nutrition for CKD Stages 1, 2 & 3

Nutrition for CKD Stages 1, 2 & 3

Making healthy food choices is important for everyone. When you have Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), what you eat is an important part of your care plan.

There is no set meal plan for people with kidney disease. In Stages 1, 2 & 3, living a healthy lifestyle may help prevent, slow and even stop the progression of kidney disease.

By eating healthy, exercising and taking medications as prescribed by your doctor you can:

Kidney Disease and Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you may need to make a few changes to your diabetes diet, with the help of your dietitian. Check your blood sugar levels often and try to keep your levels under control. Your doctor or pharmacist may adjust your insulin or other medications if your kidney disease gets worse.

Renal Dietitian

Your doctor or renal dietitian will monitor your blood work. If any changes are required to your diet, a renal dietitian will work with you to develop a meal plan that will fit within your cultural and lifestyle needs. It is important to remember that dietary changes may vary among people with kidney disease.

Recommendations for people with CKD Stages 1, 2 & 3:

  • Aim for a healthy weight by eating healthy and being active
  • Eat healthy by following Canada’s Food Guide
  • Include a variety of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Cut down on foods and drinks high in sugar
  • Include a small amount (30 – 45 ml or 2 – 3 tbsp) of unsaturated fat each day. This includes oil used for cooking, salad dressings, margarine and mayonnaise
  • Use vegetable oils such as canola, olive and soybean
  • Choose soft margarines that are low in saturated and trans fats (look for labels that say non-hydrogenated)
  • Limit butter, hard margarines, lard, shortening, fried and deep fried foods
  • Include lean meat and meat alternatives by consuming a portion between 2-3 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards) two to three times per day
  • Affects your blood pressure and can cause your body to hold on to more water
  • Cut down on processed foods and prepare foods without adding salt
  • Aim for 2000-3000 milligrams (mg) or less of sodium daily
  • Check food labels and ingredient lists for the word salt or sodium (e.g. monosodium glutamate). If the word sodium is close to the top of the ingredient list then you know it is high in sodium (salt).

Processed foods have more salt:

Unprocessed FoodProcessed FoodProcessed Food
7 slices = 2 mg
dressing = 234 mg
Dill pickle
928 mg
½ breast = 69 mg
Chicken pie
1 frozen = 907 mg
KFC dinner
2,243 mg
1 mg
Soy Sauce
1 tbsp = 1,029 mg
1 tsp = 2300 mg
3 oz = 59 mg
4 slices = 548 mg
3 oz = 1,114 mg

Sample Meal Day – What does a low salt day look like?

MealHigh Salt DayHealthy Low Salt Day
BREAKFAST½ cup juice, 4 slices bacon, 2 eggs, 2 slices of toast and 1 cup coffee/teaapple sauce, 1 egg, 2 slices of toast and 1 cup coffee/tea
LUNCH½ cup canned soup, 1 pastrami sandwich, pickle slices, 1 bag of chips and 1 can Pepsi® /7-up®½ cup homemade low salt soup, 1 roast beef sandwich, cucumber slices, grapes and water/milk/hot beverage
DINNER3 ounces ham, ½ cup canned peas, 10 piece frozen fried potatoes, cheese cake and 1 can Pepsi®/7-up®3 ounces pork roast, ½ cup frozen or fresh peas, ½ cup homemade potatoes, 1 dinner roll, a peach and water/milk/hot beverage

Potassium is a mineral found in many foods that helps your nerves and muscles work well.

  • You do not need to cut down on foods high in potassium unless you have a high level of potassium in your blood.

Note: Food labels are now listing potassium. If you need to limit potassium, a dietitian will contact you.

Phosphorus is a mineral important in keeping bones healthy. In Stage 3 CKD, you may need to cut down on foods high in phosphorous if blood levels rise.

Note: If potassium and/or phosphorus blood levels are above normal you will be contacted.


  • Do ask questions about new foods or drinks
  • Do have fun with recipes
  • Do learn about kidney disease and understand how food choices can help you
  • Do follow Canada’s Food Guide
  • Do watch your body weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and blood values
  • Do take medication as prescribed


  • Don’t trade meal plans with other people since needs are different for everyone

Visit our Nutrition Tools page to download “Healthy Eating for Kidney Health”.