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As you already know, Chronic Kidney Disease is divided into 5 stages based on your estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR) and how well your kidneys can filter out the wastes and excess fluids. 

Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease occurs when you have an eGFR of 30-59. So this means there is moderate damage to your kidneys. 

If you are currently in Stage 3 CKD, you may not experience any significant symptoms. However, you are already at risk for health complications as the waste begins to build up in your body. 

But the good news is that you can make certain dietary changes in order to avoid more kidney damage and progression of kidney failure. 

That’s why we’re going to discuss foods that you should avoid if you have Chronic Kidney Disease

To delay its progression, it’s important to incorporate a kidney-friendly diet wherein you will limit the amount of sodium, potassium, protein, and phosphorus. But before doing so, you need to consult a dietitian to know what foods you need to limit.

Here are a few of the foods that you should avoid when you’re Stage 3 CKD:

Canned Foods

canned foods ckd

Canned foods, such as soups, vegetables, meats, and seafood, are popular because they are a quick and easy way to supplement your diet with more nutrient-rich foods.

Most canned foods, on the other hand, are high in sodium because salt is frequently used as a preservative to extend their shelf life.

Because a person with stage 3 chronic kidney disease is unable to eliminate excess sodium, canned foods should be avoided.

TIP: Choose lower-sodium canned foods such as those labeled "no salt added" to reduce your daily sodium intake. You can also drain and rinse canned foods to reduce their overall sodium content.

Processed Meats

processed foods ckd

These are the types of meats that have been cured, salted, smoked, and even fermented to improve flavor and extend shelf life. 

Some examples of processed meats are hot dogs, sausages, beef jerky, corned beef, and pepperoni. 

Processed meat is not only high in sodium, but as well in protein. Which is why too much intake of processed meat and red meats is associated with a higher risk for Chronic Kidney Disease. [27]

[27] A Prospective Study of Dietary Meat Intake  and Risk Incident Chronic Kidney Disease

TIP: Instead, you can opt for skinless turkey or chicken, fresh fish, or eggs. Just remember that some of these are still high in protein, so be sure to speak with your dietitian to find out how much protein you actually need. 

Pre-cooked or Frozen Meals

frozen foods ckd

Most processed foods are high in sodium, including premade and frozen meals. Some examples include prepackaged frozen dinners, pizza, and soups. Since it can account for most of your daily recommended sodium intake, it’s important to avoid them when incorporating a kidney diet. 

TIP: When you choose premade or frozen meals, pick the ones with less than 600mg of sodium per meal [31]. Alternatively, you can prepare your own meals and freeze your own low-sodium, kidney-friendly meals that can easily be heated in just a few minutes. 

[31] Kidney-Friendly Frozen Meals Update: Quick and Convenient Options for Chronic Kidney Disease Patients


dairy foods ckd

Dairy products like cheese, yogurt, milk, and ice cream are high in calcium, protein, and other essential nutrients. They also contain a lot of phosphorus and potassium.

Protein, phosphorus, and potassium may need to be restricted in a person with stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease.

One cup of 2% milk contains [13]

  • 8g of protein
  • 252mg of phosphorus
  • 390mg of potassium

TIP: Consider dairy alternatives such as almond milk, soy milk, and rice milk. These options typically have less protein, phosphorus, and potassium compared to cow's milk.

Bran Cereals and Oatmeal

bran cereal ckd

When shopping for cold and hot cereals, always read the food label. Many cereals available at the grocery store contain hidden information:

So, you need to limit or avoid cereals with the word phosphorus or “phos” listed on the ingredient list. In about a ¾ cup of bran flakes cereal contains about [4]

  • 160 mg of potassium 

  • 135 mg of phosphorus

While one cup of cooked oatmeal contains [5]

  • 180 mg of phosphorus

  • 164 mg of potassium

Whole Grain Bread

whole grain bread ckd

Whole grain bread is typically recommended over white bread for people who do not have kidney disease because it is high in fiber and other important vitamins and minerals.

A person with moderate to advanced kidney disease, on the other hand, is usually advised to limit their consumption of whole grain bread because it contains more potassium and phosphorus than white bread.

For example, one slice (28 grams) of whole grain bread contains [2]

  • 69 mg of potassium

  • 57 mg of phosphorus

In comparison, the same size of the white bread contains [3]

  • 32.9mg of potassium

  • 31.6mg of phosphorus

Nuts and Sunflower Seeds

nuts sunflower seeds ckd

Most people enjoy nuts and seeds as healthy snacks. They can, however, be harmful to someone who has kidney disease.

A 1 ounce serving, or about 23 almonds, it contains about [6] :

  • 208mg of potassium

  • 136mg of phosphorus

While cashews contain about [7]

  • 187mg of potassium

  • 168mg of phosphorus

Dark Colored Soft Drinks

dark colored sodas ckd

Most sodas that are dark-colored are high in phosphorus additives to not only help preserve shelf life but to also enhance its flavor. In addition, they are high in calories and sugar and should be limited on all diets. 

Most dark-colored sodas contain anywhere from 50-100 mg of phosphorus in a 200 ml serving.

TIP: The best beverages to drink on a kidney diet are water, lemon-lime soda (such as 7Up or Sprite), cream soda, lemonade, or root beer.  

Brown Rice

brown rice ckd

Brown rice is a whole grain that’s high in fiber and is often recommended to promote heart health for healthy individuals. 

However, like whole grain bread, this contains higher phosphorus and potassium content than white rice.

1 cup of cooked brown rice contains about [14]:

  • 208mg of phosphorus
  • 174mg of potassium

In comparison, 1 cup of cooked white rice contains [15]

  • 69mg of phosphorus
  • 54mg of potassium 

TIP: Wild rice, barley, buckwheat, and white rice have lower potassium and phosphorus content and are great alternatives to brown rice. 


banana kidney disease

These are one of the best sources of potassium since one medium banana contains about 422mg of potassium [16]

However, with a kidney diet, it’s important to be able to limit the amount of potassium in order to avoid excess buildup in the blood, which can lead to heart problems [17].  

TIP: Instead of eating bananas, look for kidney-friendly options such as apples and berries. 


If you have Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease, lowering your sodium, potassium, and phosphorus intake can help prevent other health problems associated with Chronic Kidney Disease. 

However, it’s important to take note that there is no one-size-fits-all diet for every person with CKD. You need to speak with your kidney doctor or dietitian to learn what foods you can eat based on your kidney lab results in order to get a personalized meal plan. 

I know that following a kidney-friendly diet can make you feel frustrated and can be restrictive at times but that’s exactly why you should work with a dietitian. They can help you customize your meal plan based on your labs, preferences, and lifestyle. 

And that’s what we can help you with…

Your Next Step 

If you want to know more about the foods you need to avoid and get the help you need to incorporate this into your kidney diet, you can click here to get started.