Can I Eat Vegetarian on a Renal Diet?


If you're a vegetarian, you probably have a reason for eating a plant-based diet, other than the food tastes good. In a recent survey by the Renal Dietitians Practice Group, researchers found that people prefer the vegetarian diet for five main reasons: family tradition, religious beliefs, desire to protect animals, personal health, and disinterest in eating meat. An estimated 6 to 8 million people are vegetarians in the United States, according to the Vegetarian Research Group.

But if you develop renal disease, do you have to give up eating a plant-based diet? Fortunately, the answer is no. But you will have to make modifications to your vegetarian renal diet and closely monitor what you eat to protect your health. You'll need to make sure you're eating enough calories to maintain a healthy weight. And you'll also need to reduce the amount of sodium, phosphorous, and potassium you consume. That means you'll want to choose fruits and vegetables with lower amounts of these nutrients. In addition, eating plant-based proteins from soy-based foods, some nuts and seeds, and legumes will also help you maintain your health.

Your doctor and dietitian will help you understand what foods to eat and what foods to avoid based on your renal disease diagnosis. At first, it can feel like your food choices are highly restrictive when you have renal disease, and you might have a hard time remembering all the details about your diet. But we're here to help. The Renal Diet menu includes a selection of vegetarian dishes designed to meet your needs, and in our a la carte Healthy Vegetarian section, you'll find additional plant-based meals to enjoy.

When you have renal disease, it's important to make adjustments to your diet. And with proper planning, you can still follow a plant-based diet, even with kidney disease, and give your body all the nutrients it needs to be healthy.