Smart Snacking Choices for the Dialysis Patient

By Maria Karalis, MBA, RD, LDN

Smart Snacking Choices for the Dialysis Patient

Hungry? Not sure what to eat when you get the munchies? The following are some ideas on what to eat in between meals to help you maintain your nutritional well being without all that extra potassium and phosphorus. Each “smart snack” contains less than 130 milligrams (mg) of potassium and less than 80 mg of phosphorus. Check with your renal dietitian on the number of servings that are appropriate for you.

SMART SNACK                                          SERVING SIZE

Pretzels, unsalted

1 cup

Popcorn, plain or caramel

1 ½ cups

Bread sticks

2 each

English muffin 

½ muffin

Plain bagel with 1 tbsp. cream cheese

½ bagel

Graham crackers

4 squares

Rice or Corn Chex cereal

1 cup

Fruit cocktail, canned

½ cup

Apple, fresh

1 small

Blueberries, fresh

1 cup

Five minute Berry Sherbet*

½ cup

Oatmeal or cream of wheat

½ cup

Nilla Vanilla Wafers


Shortbread cookies or sandwich cookies



15 small

Favorite Heavenly Hash*

½ cup

Fruit pie

1/8 pie

Pop tart

1 pastry

Doughnut, plain without nuts or chocolate

1 doughnut

Dry cereal, ready to eat

1 ounce

Fig Newtons

2 cookies

Angel food cake

1 med slice

Pound cake, unfrosted

1 med slice


One bar

Fruit Juice Bar

1 bar


½ cup

 * Recipes provided below.


Five-Minute Berry Sherbet

  • 1 pkg. (10 ounce [oz.]) frozen strawberries;
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice;
  • 1 cup crushed ice;
  • 6 oz. frozen liquid non-dairy creamer, thawed; and
  • ½ cup sugar.

Recipe Preparation:

  • Break strawberries into chunks.
  • Place all ingredients in blender. Cover and blend on high speed until smooth–about two minutes.
  • Pour into refrigerator tray. Cover and freeze.
  • When almost frozen, put back into blender. Blend for one minute on high. Freeze until firm.


  • Servings: 4;
  • Portion size: ½ cup;
  • One serving: ½ fruit, one fat, and three sweet exchanges

Nutrient Information:

  • 235 calories (cal);
  • 0.5 grams (g) protein;
  • 10 mg sodium;
  • 20 mg potassium;
  • 10 mg phosphorus; and
  • 100 cc fluid.

Favorite Heavenly Hash
Equipment Needed:

  • Measuring cups;
  • Measuring spoons; and
  • Large mixing spoon.


  • 17-oz. canned fruit cocktail, drained;
  • 19-oz. can crushed pineapple, drained;
  • 2 cups (16 oz.) non-dairy whipped topping;
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows (rainbow colored); and
  • 12 maraschino cherries.

Recipe Preparation:

  • Mix ingredients together in large bowl;
  • Refrigerate; and
  • Serve chilled.


  • Servings: 8.
  • Portion size: ½ cup.
  • One serving: one fruit and two sweet exchanges.

Nutrient Information:

  • 165 cal;
  • 90 mg potassium;
  • 0.5 g protein;
  • 10 mg phosphorus; and
  • 10 mg sodium.

Recipes have been provided by the Everyday Eating Cookbook, written by the Illinois Council on Renal Nutrition. Recipes are reprinted with permission from the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois, Inc.

Smart Snacking Choices for the Dialysis PatientAbout the Author
Maria Karalis, MBA, RD, LDN, is a Nutrition Consultant and Writer and has worked in the nephrology field for over 17 years. She enjoys writing for healthcare professionals and people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) with one goal in mind:  helping CKD patients live their life to the fullest. This article was originally published on the website, supported by Watson Pharma, Inc.

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