Nutrition & Nightly/Short Daily Home Hemodialysis

Nutrition & Nightly/Short Daily Home Hemodialysis

When you have chronic kidney disease, nutrition is an important part of your treatment plan.

Your dietitian will help you plan your meals with the right foods and in the right amounts. Nutrients affecting the kidneys at this stage are:

  • Protein
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamins
  • Fluid

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.

Please note the following information is for people on the following treatment schedules:

  • Short Daily Hemodialysis (SDHD) is usually 2 to 2 ½ hours per treatment, five to six times per week
  • Nocturnal Hemodialysis (NHD) is usually 8 to 9 hours per treatment, six nights per week

With increased use of hemodialysis, there are less dietary restrictions

Some protein is removed from your body during each PD exchange. Adequate protein should be eaten when you are on dialysis.

Protein is found in many foods, but is higher in:

  • Tofu
  • Dried peas, beans and lentils
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Fish and seafood
  • Poultry (chicken, turkey and duck)
  • Red meat

Eating the right amount of protein will help to:

  • Build muscles and repair body tissues
  • Fight infections and helps with healing
  • Prevent wastes from building up in your blood

Note: Cheese and processed meats are high in phosphorus and should be limited. Try to include plant proteins such as tofu, dried peas, beans and lentils.

Limiting sodium to 2300 mg or less (about 1 teaspoon of salt) per day:

  • Helps reduce fluid build up in the body (swelling of the ankles, fingers and eyes)
  • Helps control blood pressure within normal ranges

Sodium is a mineral and is found in most foods, but is especially high in:

  • Table salt and sea salt
  • Salty seasonings (e.g. soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, garlic salt and seasoning salt)
  • Most canned foods and some frozen foods
  • Processed meats (e.g. ham, bacon, sausage and cold cuts)
  • Salted snack foods (e.g. chips, crackers and pickles)
  • Most restaurant and take-out foods
  • Canned or dehydrated soups (e.g. packaged noodle soup)


  • Eat foods closest to their natural state (not processed)
  • Read food labels for the amount of sodium
  • Add flavour to your food. Try a dash of:
    — Hot pepper sauce
    — Lemon juice
    — Vinegar
    — Fresh or dried herbs and spices
    — No-added salt blends (Mrs. Dash®, McCormick’s No Salt Added®)

Avoid: Salt substitutes (Half Salt®, Salt Free® or No-Salt®)

  • Potassium in your blood is removed with each hemodialysis treatment
  • Potassium is not restricted in your diet unless the level of potassium in your blood is high
  • Phosphorus may be restricted in the diet
  • Your renal dietitian will discuss this with you if you need to lower the phosphorus in your diet
  • Dietary phosphorus may be individually liberalized based on blood work
  • Phosphate binders may or may not be prescribed
  • When your diet is limited, you may need to take a special vitamin pill made for people with kidney disease
  • Do not take over-the-counter vitamins
  • Do not take over-the-counter Vitamin D or calcium pills unless recommended by your kidney doctor
  • Check with your kidney doctor and/or pharmacist about herbal medications
  • You may not need to limit fluids. The amount you can drink will depend on your 24-hour urine volume and/or whether you have fluid build-up.