Foods To Eat With Kidney Disease and Diabetes: What You CAN Eat

Foods to eat with kidney disease and diabetes

Looking for a list of foods that are kidney friendly but will also help manage your blood sugar levels? Do you want to know what foods to eat with kidney disease and diabetes?

This post has you covered. With foods to eat with kidney disease and diabetes.

Diabetes is a common cause of CKD and both managing your blood sugar levels while decreasing your protein intake is important to prevent progression of CKD.

If you’ve looked online before, you’re probably confused about what foods to include in your diet because of all the “rules” associated with healthy eating for CKD and diabetes.

On one hand, for your diabetes you’ve probably read to have whole grains and plant-based proteins like legumes or beans. But on the other side, for CKD, you may have read about eating more white rice and limiting vegetables and fruit.

So where does the truth lie?

Well, believe it or not, diets for CKD and diabetes should actually share a lot of the same foods.

Here are some ways they are the same:

  • Limit sodium, saturated and trans fats
  • Fill our plates with lots of fibre
    • Aim for half our plate in vegetables at meals
    • Include quarter plate in whole grains or starches
    • Limit protein to quarter plate

But even with this knowledge, it still helps to understand which foods check of all the above boxes right?

Don’t worry, the sections to come will help you understand foods to eat with kidney disease and diabetes.

1. Whole Grains

You’ve heard the word “whole grains” before, but what does that really mean to you from the perspective of CKD?

Well, a whole grain is unprocessed and includes more fibre vitamins, and minerals than their counterparts like white rice/bread/pasta.

While these grains may have a bit more potassium and phosphorus compared to refined grains, they certainly aren’t the biggest culprit in our diet if we do need to limit potassium and phosphorus. 

For example: ½ cup long grain white rice cooked has 52 mg potassium and 51 mg phosphorus; 1/2 cup wild rice cooked has 88 mg potassium and 71 mg phosphorus.

Including whole grains into your kidney-friendly diet is important. They are high in fibre so they keep you full, help to control blood sugar levels, and help decrease cholesterol levels.

Here are some whole grains to include that are lower in potassium and phosphorus:

  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Oatmeal
  • Popcorn
  • Wild rice

2. Plant-based Proteins

Plant-based eating means choosing non-animal-based proteins like beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, or tofu instead of chicken, beef, or pork.

When we have CKD, being 100% plant-based is not necessary, especially because animal proteins do still provide us with iron.

But incorporating more plant-based proteins in your diet is important because they are easier for the kidneys to process, meaning they can help to preserve kidney function. Plant-based proteins have been shown to help with CKD and diabetes.

Some tips and tricks for including more plant-based proteins include:

  • Aim for 2 meals per day that are plant-based
  • Choose no added salt canned chickpeas or lentils as these are lower in potassium and phosphorus than dried
  • Include lower potassium nuts like walnuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts on salads, in oatmeal, or as a snack

3. Vegetables

Aiming for half your plate in vegetables at all meals is also important foods to eat with kidney disease and diabetes.

Choosing low potassium vegetables if you are on a potassium restriction is important, but this not the case for everyone with CKD and diabetes.

When we have CKD, reducing our protein consumption is important, but we need to add more vegetables to help keep us full.

This can also help to control blood sugar levels.

Some of my favourite low potassium vegetable to include are:

  • Arugula
  • Beans, string green/yellow
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Peppers, bell
  • Radish
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Snow peas
  • Turnip
  • Watercress
  • Zucchini

Remember that when thinking about potassium and vegetables. A high potassium vegetables has more than 200 mg in a ½ cup serving.

Foods To Eat With Kidney Disease and Diabetes: A Grocery List for Those With Diabetes Too

Looking for some meal inspiration? 

Try these options:


  • Omelet made with arugula and bell pepper and slice of whole grain bread
  • Oatmeal with berries and nuts


  • Sandwich on whole grain bread with fresh chicken topped with lettuce and cucumber and apple
  • Salad made with arugula, lettuce, cucumber, bell pepper topped with chickpeas or lentils and slice of whole grain bread


  • Stir fry with tofu, wild rice, cauliflower, and bell peppers
  • Baked salmon with barley and roasted vegetables like cauliflower and green beans

Start your grocery shopping with this kidney friendly grocery list for those with CKD and diabetes.

Proteins: pulses like chickpeas, beans or lentils; nuts like walnuts, pecans or macadamia; tofu; eggs; lean proteins such as chicken, turkey or fish; low fat dairy products or milk alternatives

Carbohydrates: barley, bulgur, oatmeal, wild rice, whole grain bread

Fruits: berries, grapes, apple,

Vegetables: arugula, string beans, cauliflower, cucumber, lettuce, bell peppers

Fats: olive or canola oil

Seasonings: no added salt broths or seasonings like Dash, Club House, PC Blue Menu; fresh herbs and spices; citrus juices like lemon or lime; vinegars

Drinks: water or carbonated/sparkling water

Hungry For More Information?

If you’re looking to manage your CKD and diabetes, connect with Emily here.

Controlling your blood glucose levels and preserving your kidney function has never been easier. It just starts with your plate.

Want to learn more about Emily? Learn more here.

5 thoughts on “Foods To Eat With Kidney Disease and Diabetes: What You CAN Eat”

  1. Thank you for the ideas. I especially appreciated your comment that eating other things once in a while will not harm our kidneys.

    1. Thank you it’s wonderful and such good advice and information.
      Takes away the anxiety and you show how easy and no stress it will be to follow the CKD diet.
      Thank you!
      Elizabeth Ellul

  2. This is a great post. A healthy nutrition or diet for both CKD and diabetes makes total sense and works both ways. Then there’s other medical issues in which the diet would have to be tweaked to accommodate those other issues. It’s a struggle!

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