With so many food choices available and limited time in your schedule, it can be difficult to select the right food options for your kidney health and for your wallet. Use the following suggestions to help you eat more healthfully at home and on the go, while also saving money.

Inexpensive Protein Options

  • Canned tuna (use for tuna salad over salad greens or in a sandwich)
  • Canned salmon (try it on grits, or make salmon croquettes)
  • Eggs (make egg salad served over salad greens or as a sandwich, or try them boiled, deviled, scrambled, fried or poached)
  • Inexpensive fish such as whiting
  • Dark meat chicken (such as thighs and leg quarters)
  • Chuck roast
  • Wild game such as deer, rabbit and pheasant (this can be an inexpensive source of protein if you or someone you know hunts regularly)
  • For a protein boost, add plain or vanilla whey protein powder to oatmeal or cream of wheat

**Note: Often, cheaper cuts of meat tend to be tougher and will soften up the most if they are stewed.

Vegetable Values

  • Frozen vegetables are less expensive than fresh and are low in sodium.
  • Stick with in-season produce when buying fresh.
  • Check your local farmers market for additional options.

Tips for Saving Money on Groceries

  • Always check the weekly sales for good deals on meat.
  • Look for items reduced for quick sale when you are at the store.
  • Buy store brands instead of name brands whenever they are available.
  • Check your local warehouse store to see if meat is cheaper pound for pound.
  • Don’t waste money on junk foods that don’t have many nutrients such as chips, cookies, and candy.
  • If you’re feeling really ambitious, create a spreadsheet of prices at the different stores in your area so you can be certain who offers the best prices overall.
  • Grocery shop once every two weeks and stick to your shopping list. The more often you go to the store, the more likely you are to buy things you really don’t need.
  • Prepared foods such as frozen dinners and frozen entrees tend to be overpriced and high in sodium and phosphorus; stay away from these. Prepared foods from the deli are also much more expensive.
  • Avoid food fads such as pomegranate, açai, and noni juice. These foods are expensive and often poor choices for renal patients.
  • Buy lettuce by the head rather than pre-chopped bags, which are more expensive pound for pound.
  • Avoid eating out or picking up fast food on the way home. It is almost always cheaper to eat food cooked at home.

Healthier (And Cheaper) Fast Food Options

While it is cheaper to eat at home, the occasional meal out is some- times necessary. Remember that most fast food is high in sodium, so even the choices listed here should not be eaten frequently.


  • Plain Hamburgers (without cheese or bacon)
  • Chicken Nuggets
  • Filet-o-Fish Sandwiches
  • Egg McMuffin (without cheese)
  • Sausage McMuffin (without cheese)

Wendy’s Super Value Menu

  • Crispy Chicken Sandwich
  • Chicken Go Wraps
  • Chicken Nuggets
  • Double Stack Burger (without cheese)

Burger King Value Menu

  • Whopper Jr. (without cheese or tomato)
  • Chicken Tenders
  • Spicy Onion Rings
  • Spicy Chick’n Crisp Sandwich

**Note: Since fries are not a kidney-friendly option, you can skip the meal deals and order tap water as your beverage, which will also lower your total bill.

*The information contained in this article should be used only as a guide and should not replace the advice of your renal dietitian. You should limit the amount of foods that you eat that are high in phosphorus, sodium and potassium.