Good nutrition is very important before and after your transplant.

Before Surgery

Follow the Renal Diet.

The renal diet includes foods that are low in potassium, phosphorus and sodium. If you are on hemo-dialysis, you will need to increase your protein intake. Talk to your dietitian about personalized goals. You may have additional restrictions if you have diabetes, heart disease or other chronic diseases.

Maintain a Healthy Weight.

A BMI of greater than 35 indicates obesity and may reduce your chances of receiving a donation. Outpatient dietitian services are available with a physician referral to help you lose weight if needed.

After Surgery

Meet with a Dietitian.

Before you leave the hospital, be sure to meet with a dietitian to discuss your individual nutritional needs.

Continue to Follow the Renal Diet.

Follow this diet for a few weeks until your new kidney is functioning. Once the kidney is working, you can gradually add sodium, potassium, phosphorus and fluid to your diet. However, don't forget other diet restrictions like consistent carbohydrates for diabetes or low sodium for high blood pressure - these diet restrictions will not change.

Be Safe with Food.

Your immune system will be suppressed after surgery to protect the new kidney. Here are a few basic guidelines to reduce your risk of food-borne illness:

  • Wash your hands often.
  • Avoid cross contamination. (For example, setting raw chicken breast on a counter, not washing it, then cutting fruit on that same counter.)
  • Cook raw meats to safe internal temperatures.
  • Keep foods out of the temperature danger zone. (41-140 degrees F)
  • Wash all raw fruits and vegetables with soap and water before eating.
  • Avoid well water.
  • Avoid buffets and potentially unsafe restaurants.
  • Insist friends and family members follow safety rules.

Maintain a Healthy Weight.

Weight gain is common after a kidney transplant. Avoid overeating once your diet is liberalized, and always choose low-fat foods. Also, eating nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables will keep you healthy and protect the new kidney.