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Best Frozen Meals for a Renal Diet (Easy and Healthy!)

Three plant-based frozen meals on a pink background
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As a renal dietitian, a common request I get from people with kidney disease is, "I don't always feel like cooking. Are there any kidney-friendly frozen meals out there?" You might be surprised to hear my answer.

Table of Contents

**Note: This post about frozen meals is geared towards people with pre-dialysis chronic kidney disease. People with pre-dialysis kidney disease will generally benefit from a renal diet that is lower sodium, lower protein, more plant-based diet.**

Introduction

As a renal dietitian, a common request I get from people with kidney disease is, “I don’t always feel like cooking. Are there any kidney-friendly frozen meals out there?”

You might be surprised to hear my answer: YES! There are many kidney-friendly meal options to be found in the freezer aisle.

However, before we take a look at examples of great frozen meals, I need to clear something up about frozen foods…

“Aren’t Frozen Foods Bad for a Renal Diet?”

A big misconception about nutrition for kidney health is that frozen foods are “bad” or “off limits”. Patients sometimes tell me they are avoiding frozen meals because they heard they’re “too processed”.

But what I need you to know is this.

Yes, frozen foods are processed foods. But processed isn’t necessarily a problem.

Technically, a processed food is any food that has undergone changes from its natural state.

There are different degrees of processed foods, ranging from minimally processed foods (i.e. frozen fruit) to highly processed foods (i.e. frozen pizza). The more highly processed a food is, the most likely it is to include extra salt, sugar, artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, or other additives.

In terms of kidney health, the things most concerning about highly processed foods are excessive amounts of salt and sugar. Some people may also need to be on the lookout for additives, such as phosphorus or potassium.

What Makes a Frozen Meal “Kidney-Friendly”?

Before we move on, how do we define “kidney-friendly”?

A kidney-friendly diet, also known as the renal diet, is highly individualized, but there are some common threads that most people with chronic kidney disease should consider.

  1. Lower in sodium. Salt tends to increase blood pressure, and keeping blood pressure under control is key for optimal kidney health.
  2. Low or moderate protein content. The current kidney nutrition guidelines recommend a lower protein diet to people aiming to slow kidney disease progression and preserve kidney function.
  3. Rich in plant foods. Plant foods are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and they also reduce the dietary acid load on the kidneys. This means the kidneys have less work to do.
  4. No phosphorus additives. Artificial phosphorus in foods is the most important kind to avoid, in order to keep blood phosphorus levels under control.

Therefore, my criteria for frozen meals are as follows:

  • Less than 750 mg sodium
  • Contains plant based protein
  • At least 3 grams of fiber
  • No added phosphorus

And without further ado, here are my suggestions!

1. Amy’s Black Bean Veggie Burger 


Per 1 serving
Sodium: 300 mg
Fiber: 3 grams
Protein: 6 grams

Amy's Black Bean Veggie Burgers, a good choice for people following a renal diet

A black bean burger is a classic vegetarian meal! To use your burger in a meal, just heat it up on the stovetop, on a grill, or in the microwave. Then, serve in on a bun, in a wrap, or over a salad. There are so many different options.

2. Healthy Choice Unwrapped Burrito Bowl


Per 1 serving
Sodium: 550 mg
Fiber: 8 grams
Protein: 8 grams

Healthy Choice Simply Steamers Unwrapped Burrito Bowl frozen meal, a good choice for people following a renal diet

I love burrito bowls, don’t you? Nothing beats a nice simple combo of grains, beans, and veggies. With this dish, you’ll find brown rice, black & pinto beans, corn, bell pepper, and a tomatillo sauce. You can even add some extra veggies on the side if you wish. For example, try some sheet pan fajita veggies.

3. Tres Latin Foods Kale & Bean Pupusas


Per 1 serving
Sodium: 370 mg
Fiber: 12 grams
Protein: 9 grams

Pupusas are cornmeal cakes, often stuffed with meat or cheese, but this version is plant-based. Tres Latin Foods Kale & Pinto Bean Pupusas provide a nice serving of plant protein plus a hefty dose of fiber (an incredible 12 grams per serving). Plus, this one is a gluten-free option for my GF friends out there. 

4. Sweet Earth Cacio E Pepe


Per 1 serving
Sodium: 540 mg
Fiber: 7 grams
Protein: 16 grams

Sweet Earth Cacio E Pepe frozen meal, a good choice for people following a renal diet

Have you ever tried cacio e pepe? If you aren’t familiar, it is a simple pasta dish that literally translates to “cheese and pepper.” This frozen meal actually features dairy-free parmesan cheese, as well as some veggies like peas and broccoli. In terms of protein, please note this meal is slightly higher in protein than some other options on this list. The amount of protein you need is individualized based on your weight, stage of kidney disease, and other factors. Remember, your personal renal diet will likely be different than your neighbor’s.

5. Amy’s Tofu Scramble Breakfast Wrap 


Per 1 serving
Sodium: 420 mg
Fiber: 3 grams
Protein: 10 grams

Amy's Gluten Free Tofu Scramble Breakfast Wrap, a good choice for people following a renal diet

Are you always rushing out the door in the morning? If so, Amy’s Tofu Scramble Breakfast Wrap is a great option for a meal on-the-go! This wrap is made with organic tofu, hash browns, and veggies. As a bonus, it’s also a good pick for my gluten-free friends out there.

6. CedarLane Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie 


Per 1 serving
Sodium: 610 mg
Fiber: 7 grams
Protein: 9 grams

Cederlane Simply Plant Powered Vegan Lentil Shepherd's Pie frozen meal, a good choice for people following a renal diet

Next, we have a plant-based twist on a classic meat-heavy meal. But don’t have to give up a dish like shepherd’s pie just because you’re trying to eat more kidney friendly – just make it plant-based! Instead of the traditional beef or Iamb, CedarLane blends veggies and green lentils in a savory gravy. Then, they top it with creamy whipped potatoes.

7. Saffron Road Vegetable Biryani with Basmati Rice 


Per 1 serving
Sodium: 650 mg
Fiber: 6 grams
Protein: 10 grams

Saffron Road Vegetable Biryani with Basmati Rice frozen meal, a good choice for people following a renal diet

This vegetable biryani dish contains flavors such as ginger, garlic, turmeric, and red chili pepper. In terms of the plant-powered ingredients here, you’ll find cauliflower, green peas, cashews, chickpeas, and caramelized onions. Yum!

In Summary

There you have it – seven tasty plant-based options that couldn’t be easier to prepare! I like suggesting that my patients stock up on a few “quick” meal options such as these, to have on hand just in case. Or, add these renal diet-friendly meals into your usual rotation, if you find quick & easy meals to be a helpful option in general. 

What other plant-based frozen meals are you enjoying? If your favorite isn’t here and you’d like to share it, comment below! 

For more help and guidance unique to you, consult with a Board Certified Renal Dietitian (like me!). I’m also on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook dishing up helpful info and meal ideas to help you out in the meantime. Until next time, be well. — Kate, Your Kidney Dietitian

*NOTE: this article was updated on 3/8/24. One meal from the original article, the Tattooed Chef Veggie Hemp Bowl is no longer available, so it was replaced with an alternative option.*

Picture of Kate Zalewski, RDN, CSR, LDN

Kate Zalewski, RDN, CSR, LDN

Kate Zalewski is a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified Specialist in Renal Nutrition based in Chicago, Illinois. She helps people with kidney disease and other kidney health concerns navigate the complex and confusing world of nutrition. With a gentle yet realistic approach, Kate guides you in making changes that can improve your labs and slow disease progression, while still allowing you to enjoy the foods you eat. Book an appointment with Kate.

8 thoughts on “Best Frozen Meals for a Renal Diet (Easy and Healthy!)”

  1. Caroline M Ellis

    Hi Kate,
    These are excellent choices. I will definitely stock up on these items. Can they be purchased at Trader Joes, Whole Foods or Aldi’s ?

  2. Hi Kate! Thanks for these great options for days when I am just too tired to cook . I found the Amy’s veggie burgers & the burrito bowl. I have been searching for the breakfast wrap. Target is supposed to have them, but none do here in my area. I don’t live near a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. I have checked online thru Amazon too. Anyway thanks again for some tasty kidney friendly frozen options. ?

  3. Thank you Kate for these ideas..Will certainly help on those nights when I want something different or just don’t want to cook..

  4. How much potassium is in these foods?
    I thought hashbrowns and llentils were high in potassium.
    Aren’t some of these products pretty high in sodium???

    1. Hi Carol, thanks so much for your comment! Always keep in mind, kidney nutrition is all about understanding your unique dietary needs – so what works for one person might not necessarily work for you! Nor can I post options that meet every single person’s needs, but I have done my best here and explain why I picked the choices I did.

      I have another blog post on potassium you may way to take a look at, which discusses how many people with CKD can still include higher potassium foods in their diet no problem. Regarding sodium, as mentioned in the intro, all these options contain less than 750 mg sodium, which is an appropriate amount for 1 meal on a 2,300 mg sodium diet.

      Please let me know if you have additional questions!

    1. Hi there! It would vary per each product but I expect you’ll be able to find many of these at places like Target, Whole Foods, Fry’s, Safeway, etc. I would check the store locator on the manufacturer’s website if there is a specific product you are looking for.

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