Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects approximately 1 in 7 adults in the United States. Currently, chronic kidney disease isn’t curable, but the right combination of medication and lifestyle adjustments can ease symptoms and slow the disease’s progression. Eating right is a major factor in this, which is why choosing the right meals for kidney disease is so important.
The best kidney-friendly diet is one that is centered on the stage of kidney disease you’re living with. Either way, meal planning and cooking with dietary restrictions can be a challenge.
We found the four best kidney-friendly meal delivery services that are suitable for the renal diet based on the different stages of kidney disease. These are the winners.
MealPro wins the top spot, hands down, for renal diet meal delivery. They offer a specialized healthy eating plan that nephrologists developed for all stages of kidney disease.
MealPro offers a plan for CKD stages 1-3, CKD stage 4, and CKD stage 5. Each meal plan is developed with kidney-friendly recipes that meet your specific nutritional needs. You get meals that limit protein while focusing on lean meats rather than fatty protein that’s especially hard on damaged kidneys.
Meals for CKD stages 4 and 5 contain less salt, are low phosphorus, and keep potassium levels in a safe zone. Meals for stage 5 go one step further in helping to limit quantities of liquid food for those who are in active kidney failure or on dialysis.
MealPro offers prepared meals that are ready to heat and eat for the kidney diet. It’s a welcome relief not to have to worry about reading food labels, and it’s also nice to have someone else prepare food while you follow your healthy eating plan.
MealPro offers about ten meals that are packed with kidney-friendly nutrition. The renal plan provides twenty meals that are packed up and shipped to you at once. You enjoy, and then order more when you’re ready.
- Big portions
- Healthy ingredients
- Nephrologist developed
- Delivery to all of the United States, including some parts of Alaska and Hawaii
- Great-tasting meals take the guesswork out of proper nutrition
Top Chef Meals Renal Diet Plan wins a solid second place for offering meals that are developed with nutrition and foods that won’t make your kidneys work harder than they should.
All Top Chef meals are developed to contain less than 600g of potassium, less than 500g of sodium, and less than 200g of phosphorus. You have your choice of choosing a la carte meals to support your kidneys or choose one of their four renal menus, with each menu having 5-10 meals offered. You choose how many of each you would like.
Top Chef also offers other specific diet meal plans. These include diabetic meals for those needing to regulate their blood sugar, low-carb meals, low-sodium meals for high blood pressure, and low-fat meals to help prevent weight gain and fight against heart disease.
- Fully prepared meals
- Low sodium meal plan doesn’t compromise flavor
- Kidney-friendly recipes are low in phosphorus and potassium
- Choose between two portion sizes -regular and extra
- Each meal comes with two customizable sides
Magic Kitchen offers great variety with its renal meal plan. They take a nutritional approach to preserving kidney function by focusing on foods that promote healthy kidneys. Typical packaged foods are convenient but bad for kidney health. Magic Kitchen offers premade meals that are convenient without stressing your body.
Magic Kitchen offers about three dozen meals for CKD stages 3 and 4, plus even more meals in their dialysis-friendly meal category. Each plan includes foods that are low in phosphorus, potassium, and sodium.
- Choose a la carte meals or one of their meal programs
- Easy to understand nutritional facts on each meal
- Generous portions so you don’t have to substitute with other foods
- Programs for early CKD, plus dialysis
- Great variety
We like Mom’s Meals for the variety and diversity of their renal-friendly meals. They offer about seven breakfasts each week and around fifteen lunch/dinner options. What makes Mom’s Meals stand out is that they also offer an entire category of renal-friendly vegetarian meals that are developed with the food your body needs to stay healthy while managing your daily intake of potassium, phosphorus, and sodium – with more healthy vegetables, plant-based protein, and less meat.
- Breakfast meals are also available
- Choose 10, 14, or 21 meals
- Choose your own meals or opt for a chef’s choice
- Low-sodium meals for various stages of CKD
Renal Diet Meal Delivery Buying Guide
When you have CKD, knowing how to dissect a nutrition facts label becomes a way of life. Certain foods put you at a higher risk of faster disease progression and can create more health problems. The meal delivery services we’ve listed here take all of the dietary needs of CKD into consideration, but if you’re doing some research and shopping on your own, these are the things to be mindful of.
People with all stages of kidney disease should be mindful of their sodium intake. Excess sodium puts stress on your kidneys, contributes to high blood pressure, and constricted blood vessels, and causes you to retain water.
Be mindful of the amount of sodium in foods like canned vegetables and packaged foods. And opt for salt substitutes for seasoning your food. Sodium is often one of the first things a doctor will tell you to cut back on when first diagnosed with kidney disease, so when choosing a meal delivery service, ensure they offer low-sodium meals.
Fats & Protein
Protein is important for helping your muscles work and other important functions, but eating too much is hard on your kidneys due to the excess waste created. While you can have more protein in the early stages, you may be asked to limit protein and choose lean meats and fish rather than those that are high in fat.
For fats, choose healthy fats, and limit those as well. Olive oil, avocados, and fatty fish are all good sources.
Eating for the Stages of CKD
CKD Stages 1-3 Meals
At this stage, your doctor will suggest making dietary changes, like limiting protein and reducing sodium intake, in an effort to slow the progression of kidney disease. This is a good stage for experimenting with meals that use more herbs and spices for flavor so that it’s easier to adjust to less sodium as CKD progresses.
Choose meals with lean meat, like fish and chicken, and limit the amount of beef in your meal. All the meal delivery services on our list are good about balancing meals with lean protein and healthy fats. Also, choosing foods that provide folic acid is great for this stage of CKD, with promising research happening in folic acid therapy and its ability to slow the progression of the disease.
In the pre-dialysis phase, it’s important to avoid too much phosphorus and foods that are considered high potassium. It’s very important to choose meals that keep your potassium level in check and eat less phosphorus. If your stomach is upset, mild foods like rice cereals offer nutrition without digestive upset.
Your doctor may also prescribe medical nutrition therapy, including a phosphate binder, to remove excess phosphate from your system. Choosing a meal delivery service specifically for this stage opens up a world of many foods that you might not eat if you were left on your own to sort through all the dietary requirements.
Kidney Failure Meals
In this stage, your way of eating is the most restricted. A meal service like MealPro offers meals that are specifically designed for CKD stage 5/dialysis. You also need to restrict fluids in this stage, so look for drink choices that nourish your body and make the most of the fluids you do drink.
Concentrated grape juice can be a good choice, but orange juice is often avoided due to the potassium and phosphorus. If you’re looking for an option with less potassium, apples are lower, making pure apple juice a better choice.
Eating properly for CKD is important to prolong the progression of the disease and prevent even more serious health problems. MealPro is our top choice for renal diet meal delivery for their nephrologist-developed meals, taste, portion size, and variety.
Top Chef Meals, Magic Kitchen, and Mom’s Meals are also great choices. The main thing is to eat for your health and work with your doctor to develop the best dietary plan for your stage of CKD.