35 Healthy Low Phosphorus Snacks

35 Healthy Low Phosphorus Snacks for the Kidney Diet

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Finding healthy low phosphorus snacks when you have chronic kidney disease can be difficult. Along with liming phosphorus, you may also need to limit other nutrients in your diet such as potassium and sodium.

In this article we’ll discuss the importance of phosphorus while following a kidney diet and it’s role in our bodies as well as consumption recommendations when you have low kidney function.

We’ll discover two types of phosphorus found in foods and know the difference between them. We’ll also learn how to find phosphorus on the food label so we can create healthy low phosphorus snacks. 

Low Phosphorus Snacks and the Kidney Diet

Snack foods have a bad wrap because many convenient options are highly processed. They offer excessive amounts of sodium, saturated fat, and food additives that may not be the best choice for your kidneys and other health conditions. 

When you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), feeling confident in knowing what the best foods to include in your meal plan is important to help you make healthy choices. It’s recommended to work with a renal dietitian who can help implement dietary changes to meet your specific needs.

Benefits of Low Phosphorus Snacks

Some people with CKD may have a decreased appetite, lose interest in food, or have difficulty meeting important nutrients with meals alone. Snacks are a great way to assist in meeting important nutrients and increase calorie intake to help maintain your kidney health and overall health. 

Healthy snacks can improve the quality of your renal diet by providing essential nutrients your body needs. 

Having healthy kidney-friendly snacks on hand prevents you from overeating at meal times and reaching for unhealthy choices.

Let’s Learn About Phosphorus

What Is Phosphorus?

Phosphorus is a mineral that’s found in various foods. The body stores phosphorus in your bones to keep them strong and healthy. Your body uses phosphorus along with calcium and vitamin D to keep bones healthy. It also helps regulate nerve and muscle function and plays a role in gene formation.

Who Needs Low Phosphorus Snacks

People in early stages of chronic kidney disease (Stage 3-5) and those on dialysis need to be mindful of phosphorus in their diet. When kidney function declines, the kidneys can’t remove waste products, including extra phosphorus to keep levels normal. As a result, phosphorus builds up in the blood.

When high phosphorus levels are in the blood, it causes an imbalance of hormones which pulls calcium from the bones. Without the right amount of calcium in the bones they can become weak and easily breakable. 

The calcium that is pulled from the bones is deposited in the soft tissues in the body such as the heart, blood vessels, skin, eyes, and lungs. This causes the tissues to become stiff and blocks blood flow to body tissues and leads to heart disease.

This imbalance of minerals and hormones is called CKD Bone and Mineral Disorder. Over time this can cause major health problems such as heart attack, stroke, and broken bones. The good news is that you can manage how much phosphorus you eat in your diet!

What is considered low phosphorus

People with CKD need to consume 800-1,000 mg of phosphorus per day.

Types of Phosphorus

There are two types of phosphorus. Foods that contain natural sources of phosphorus are called organic. Foods that have phosphorus added to them are called inorganic.

Organic Phosphorus

The phosphorus in these foods contain phytate. Our bodies don’t have the ability to break down and absorb phytate efficiently. About 50% of the phosphorus in these foods will be absorbed in the body causing less of an impact on your phosphorus levels.(2) These foods are a good option when you’re following a low phosphorus diet

Foods that contain organic or natural phosphorus are:

  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Eggs
  • Fresh Meats
  • Dairy Products

The old low phosphorus diet recommended avoiding some of these foods with organic phosphorus. Since the phosphorus in these foods have low bioavailability, meaning the body absorbs a little bit of this type of phosphorus, they are now great choices! They provide good sources of protein, fiber, and healthy fats as well.

It’s important to note that plant sources of protein and phosphorus like beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds are less absorbed (10-30%) than animal products like meats and dairy products (40-60%). (1)

Inorganic Phosphorus

This type of phosphorus is added in foods to enhance the color, flavor or shelf stability.  You can find inorganic phosphorus in processed foods. Your body has the ability to absorb 90% or more of added phosphorus. Inorganic phosphorus will significantly impact on your phosphorus blood levels.

Foods that contain inorganic phosphorus are:

  • Colas
  • Bottled teas
  • Some sweetened beverages
  • Fast foods
  • Frozen, breaded foods
  • Sports drinks
  • Processed cheese- cheese whiz, American Cheese, Velveeta 
  • Processed Deli meats- bologna, salami, pepperoni, sausage

Phosphorus and Food Labels

Phosphorus isn’t required to be reported on the Nutrition Facts label. However, you can find out if a food has inorganic phosphorus by looking at the ingredient list.

Let’s look together!

Nutrition Fact Label with added phosphate in the ingredients list

As you can see, in the ingredient section there are three added phosphates listed. Sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate, and disodium phosphate.

The following are some additional phosphorus additives to avoid. (3)

  • Disodium phosphate
  • Dicalcium phosphate
  • Monosodium phosphate
  • Phosphoric Acid
  • Sodium hexameta-phosphate
  • Sodium Tripolyphosphate
  • Tetrasodium pyrophosphate
  • Trisodium phosphate

35 Low Phosphorus Snacks

The good news is that there’s plenty of options to choose from when it comes to low phosphorus snacks. We picked 35 low phosphorus snacks that we hope that you’re excited about adding to you kidney friendly diet.

  1. Strawberries and fruit dip
  2. Apples and peanut butter
  3. Vegetables and hummus
  4. Celery and peanut butter
  5. Cucumbers and cream cheese
  6. Fresh fruit and vegetables
  7. Fig bars
  8. Applesauce
  9. Sherbet
  10. English muffin and almond butter
  11. Bagel and cream cheese
  12. Low sodium popcorn (Skinny Pop or homemade/air popped)
  13. Greek yogurt and fresh berries
  14. Grapes and unsalted nuts
  15. Chia seed pudding
  16. Homemade trail mix
  17. Overnight Oats
  18. Avocado toast with Everything But the Salt
  19. Edamame
  20. Roasted chickpeas or make homemade
  21. Fruit Smoothie
  22. Tortilla chips and salsa
  23. Unsalted pretzels
  24. Blue Diamond crackers
  25. Bell peppers and hummus
  26. Bean dip with tortilla chips
  27. Rice cakes with hummus and cucumbers on top. Or caramel flavor for a sweet snack
  28. Animal Crackers
  29. Graham crackers
  30. Vanilla wafers
  31. Shortbread cookies (Lorna Dunes)
  32. That’s it bars
  33. Larabars
  34. Outshine frozen fruit bars
  35. Wheat thins
Low phosphorus snacks

Low phosphorus snacks come in all forms. It’s important to pay close attention at the grocery store to the ingredient list when choosing kidney-friendly foods to avoid added phosphorus. By choosing foods that contain natural phosphorus lessens how much phosphorus you consume. 

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