A home-cooked meal is the best way to feed a kidney disease patient. The good news is there are tons of recipes available on the Internet for this diet. I've listed some of my favorite sites below. The basics are that any home-cooked kidney diet recipe must adhere to the following nutritional requirements:
1. Sufficient calories – the rigorous dietary restrictions can potentially decrease caloric intake for the patient, so adjusting ingredients to ensure enough calories are consumed is important.
2. Low Sodium – compromised kidney function makes it difficult to filter excess salt from the diet, so cutting down drastically on sodium will help. Salt also contributes to fluid retention, which is bad for kidney patients.
3. Low Phosphorous food – for the same reasons above its important to limit consumption of foods high in phosphorous, such as legumes, soy, chocolate, etc. Another reason for low phosphorous consumption is that the dialysis treatment, while efficient at removing most excess metabolic waste, cannot remove phosphorous as effectively.
4. Low Calcium – calcium must be limited because it has a tendency to bind with phosphorous in the blood stream, forming the calcium phosphate product that a compromised kidney cannot filter.
5. Low Potassium – an excess of potassium can affect heart rate and muscle activity. Limiting high potassium foods such as bananas, dark leafy greens, or milk can control these levels.
6. Fluid restrictions – all kidney patients must guard against overloading their kidneys with high amounts of fluid. Their kidneys can no longer filter as well as before, and fluid retention results from both liquid consumption and metabolic waste. So controlling all fluids – water, ice cubes, juice, soups, sauces, etc is necessary.
7. Protein – protein consumption will depend largely on whether a person is suffering from CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease, aka Pre-Dialysis stages) or Kidney Failure (aka on dialysis). Generally, the CKD patient must severely limit protein intake while the Dialysis patient must increase it.
Some of my favorite resources for recipes:
Great general info on kidney diets: