Smart Snacking for the CKD Patient

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By Stephanie Legin RD, LDN,
Registered Dietitian

\ ˈsnak  \ a light meal food eaten between regular meals

Many people’s schedules are so busy these days that snacks are an essential part of everyday life.  Ideally, meals are eaten every 4-5 hours to keep blood sugars in check (especially for individuals with diabetes / hypoglycemia) and energy levels up, but sometimes schedules don’t allow and you need a little snack to get you through.  Snacks are technically just a couple of bites of food, approximately 100 calories, and are meant to sustain you to your next meal.

Vending Machine Snacks

If you’re like most people in a hurry, you reach for whatever is quick and easy and may not consider the quality of the snack you choose.  Food is fuel and the type of fuel you put in our body will impact how you feel, your performance, and overall health. If you have CKD or other health issues, you have the added stress of watching and maybe restricting certain foods in your diet.  Depending on your stage of CKD, limiting sodium, potassium, and phosphorus may be necessary. Individuals with diabetes have to watch for unwanted extra sugar. These nutrients are often found in pre-packaged, processed snack items (i.e. chips, candy/chocolate, cookies/cakes, ice cream, etc.).

Tips to Making Quick & Easy Readily Available CKD Friendly Snacks

Plan Your Smart Snacking!

  • Take a few minutes once a week to brainstorm and plan your grocery list.  The idea is to think and plan meals and snacks once a week as opposed to every single day!   
  • Planning ahead helps cut down your time spent at the grocery store and avoids all the frustration associated with coming up with snack ideas as you go up and down the aisles.  
  • Do a little research to get some different snack ideas.  Try coming up with 1-2 different snacks per week to mix it up and avoid getting bored with the same ole thing.  This will keep it fresh and new and may help keep you excited and looking forward to your new healthy snack options and avoid the temptation of unhealthy ones.
  • To avoid temptations at the grocery store, never go shopping hungry.   
  • In fact, have a snack before you go to prevent you from straying from that carefully planned out list you just wrote.  
  • Stick to the list!  Your waistline, health, and wallet will thank you.

QUICK NOTE:  Most of the healthy food items that should be on your list will be located around the perimeter of the grocery store.  Avoid those inner aisles! The shelves are full of processed food items with unhealthy, unwanted additives.

Clean and Prep

  • Once you get all that healthy food home, take 30 minutes to wash, clean, and prep all the fruits, vegetables, and food you purchased for that week’s snacks.  This eliminates having to do it every single day.


  • Try taking another few minutes after you’ve washed and prepped your ingredients to pack your snacks for the week.  
  • Invest in some small reusable containers that make it easy to pack and store individual snacks in.  
  • If you’re like most people, schedules can be crazy morning, noon, and night.  Prepacking snacks helps decrease the stress of preparing your snacks every single day—-just grab and go any time of day!
Smart Snacking vegetables to go

Mix & Match CKD Friendly Snack Ideas

If you’re looking for a satisfying, energy boosting, and hunger crushing snack, a combination of lean protein and complex carbohydrates is the answer!  Below is a chart with examples of lean protein and complex carbohydrates that you can mix and match to make hundreds of different snack options. The foods listed are heart healthy, low in sodium, potassium and phosphorus (if eaten in the suggested serving sizes), low in sugar and full of fiber — perfect for those with CKD, diabetes, heart disease and anyone looking to make healthy food choices!

The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. KidneyChef urges you to seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. KidneyChef advises you to never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Website.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or local emergency service immediately. KidneyChef does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the website. KidneyChef does not guarantee the accuracy of information on the Website and reliance on any information provided by KidneyChef is solely at your own risk.



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