Diet and nutrition after your kidney transplant

After your kidney transplant, you may need to adjust your diet to keep your kidney healthy and functioning well. You'll have fewer dietary restrictions than you had while receiving dialysis therapy before your transplant, but you still may need to make some diet changes. Your nutrition specialist (dietitian) and other members of your treatment team will work with you to create a healthy-eating plan that meets your needs and complements your lifestyle.

Your medications may change your appetite. You may need to keep track of how many calories you consume or limit foods high in sugar and fat. Your dietitian will develop an eating plan for you that will include the number of calories you should eat each day to maintain a healthy weight, increase your weight or lose weight.

Your dietitian also will provide you with several healthy-food options and ideas to use in your eating plan. Your dietitian's recommendations may include:

  • Eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day
  • Avoiding grapefruit and grapefruit juice due to its effect on a group of immunosuppression medications (calcineurin inhibitors)
  • Having enough fiber in your daily diet
  • Drinking low-fat milk or eating other low-fat dairy products, which is important to maintain optimal calcium and phosphorus levels
  • Eating lean meats, poultry and fish
  • Maintaining a low-salt and low-fat diet
  • Following food safety guidelines
  • Staying hydrated by drinking adequate water and other fluids each day

In addition, discuss with your transplant doctor if you're taking any over-the-counter medications, vitamins or supplements, and before starting any new prescription medicines.