Kidney-Friendly Recipes for Kids

Your kidneys are your body’s natural filtration system. It’s important to keep them healthy so they can perform this vital task. Eating the right foods and snacks can support kidney health. 

The nutritional needs of children with renal insufficiency are complex. The goals of medical nutrition therapy are to:

  • Promote normal growth and development
  • Maintain optimal nutrition status
  • Reduce the risk of malnutrition, uremic toxicity and metabolic abnormalities

Diet recommendations are individualized. Fluid and electrolyte recommendations will vary depending on an individual’s primary diagnosis, urine output, stage of chronic kidney disease (CKD), and serum chemistry values. To help prevent metabolic abnormalities, dietary sodium, potassium and phosphorus may be restricted. 

Here, we provide kidney-friendly recipes created by our Division of Nephrology team as a resource for families.

These recipes are designed to be used by patients who are followed by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Division of Nephrology. Before using, please refer to our  Recipe Disclaimer

Applesauce Pancakes

pancake photo Makes: 10 to 12 pancakes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup soy milk (or nut milk)
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract 
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon 
  • Optional on top: Butter & honey

Nutrition Facts for 1 Pancake

  • Calories: 88 kcal
  • Fat: 0.6 g
  • Protein: 2.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 167 g
  • Sodium: 13 mg
  • Potassium: 58 mg
  • Phosphorous: 34 mg


  • Food processor 
  • 1 nonstick pan or griddle


  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor. 
  • Once mixture is well combined and chopped, grease a pan with nonstick cooking spray (or a small amount of butter).
  • Preheat the pan over medium heat until warm.
  • Pour the pancake batter into the pan, creating piles throughout the pan. 
  • Cook until bubbles begin to form, then flip to cook the other side. 
  • Cook until both sides are golden and firm. 
  • Remove from the pan and serve warm. Top with butter and honey, if desired. 

Chef Tips/Adjustments:

  • These pancakes freeze very well and can be made in advance.
  • Note: These pancakes are more dense than regular pancakes because they don’t use baking soda/powder. 
  • Any type of milk can be used in this recipe (e.g., soy milk, almond milk). Cows milk should be avoided, as it is highest in potassium and phosphorous. Water can also be used for a lower phosphorous and potassium content. 
  • Other dry seasonings can be added for additional flavor (e.g., nutmeg, cloves)
  • Honey or granulated sugar can be added for sweetness. Regular sweetened applesauce could also be used.  

Carrot Stars

carrot stars Makes: 22 to 23 pieces

Total Time: 30-35 minutes


  • 3 cups sliced carrots, cooked
  • 2 eggs, raw
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder 

Nutrition Facts for 1 Star

  • Calories: 21 kcal
  • Fat: 1 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 2 g
  • Sodium: 13 mg
  • Potassium: 73 mg
  • Phosphorous: 18 mg


  • In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients. 
  • Chop until all ingredients are blended and smooth. 
  • Grease a star-shaped mold with nonstick cooking spray. 
  • Scoop carrot mixture into each star cavity, dividing evenly. 
  • Place in a 350° oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. 
  • Remove from oven and let cool before removing from molds. 
  • Serve warm or store in the refrigerator for future use. 

Chef Tips/Adjustments:

  • Store in sealed container in the refrigerator. 
  • Seasonings can be adjusted as desired. 
  • Carrot can be substituted with other pureed vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower.
  • Description automatically generatedThis recipe can be frozen for future use in a sealed container.  

Energy Bites

energy bites Makes: 9 to 10 bites
Total Time: 5-10 minutes


  • 1 cup rolled oats 
  • ¼ cup macadamia nuts
  • ¼ cup coconut milk (or any milk)
  • 1 tbsp coconut flakes 
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 2 dried dates 

Nutrition Facts for 1 Bite

  • Calories: 110 kcal
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9 g
  • Sodium: 2 mg
  • Potassium: 102 mg 
  • Phosphorous: 64 mg


  • In a food processor, combine all ingredients. 
  • Chop all together for about 15 to 20 seconds or until a thick mixture is formed. 
  • Roll the mixture to form small balls.
  • Serve or store in the refrigerator for future use. 

Chef Tips/Adjustments:

  • Store energy bites in a sealed storage container in the refrigerator. 
  • Peanut butter can be substituted for another type of nut butter, or it can be omitted. 
  • Dates are used in this recipe to help hold everything together. They should not be substituted or omitted. 
  • Macadamia nuts can be substituted with any other nut. 
  • To decrease potassium and phosphorous, omit the peanut butter. This will make each bite 67 mg of potassium and 43 mg of phosphorous.  

Kale Chips

kale chips Makes: 2 to 3 cups 

Total Time: 25-30 minutes


  • 3 cups kale leaves, raw
  • 1 tbsp olive oil for drizzling
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder 

Nutrition Facts for 1 Cup

  • Calories: 51 kcal
  • Fat: 5 g 
  • Protein: 0.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 2 g
  • Sodium: 7 mg
  • Potassium: 89 mg 
  • Phosphorous: 18 mg


  • Preheat oven to 350°. 
  • Remove the thick stems from the kale, keeping just the leaves. 
  • Put the kale leaves in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and add a dash of seasonings to coat. 
  • Place on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  
  • Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature. 

Chef Tips/Adjustments:

  • An air fryer could also be used for this recipe. 
  • Store at room temperature in a paper bag to keep texture crispy.  
  • Adjust seasonings as desired. 
  • Beets, jicama and/or carrots can also be added for a variety of vegetables, though the potassium and phosphorous content will increase.

Crispy Chicken Fingers

Makes: 5 to 6 tenders

Total Time: 25-30 minutes


  • 1 lb chicken tenders, raw
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour 
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, unseasoned
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, raw 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder

Nutrition Facts for 1 Chicken Finger

  • Calories: 119 kcal
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Protein: 13 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7 g
  • Sodium: 12 mg
  • Potassium: 130 mg 
  • Phosphorous: 177 mg
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil for frying


  • In a medium-sized bowl, add the all-purpose flour. 
  • In another medium-sized bowl, crack the eggs and whisk to combine. 
  • In another medium-sized bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and dry seasonings. 
  • Pour the vegetable oil in a pan and heat to a medium temperature. 
  • Trim any fat or tendons off the raw chicken tenders. 
  • Test to make sure that the oil is hot enough by dropping a breadcrumb into it; it should bubble.
  • Coat the chicken tenders in the all-purpose flour, then coat with raw egg, then coat with the breadcrumbs on all sides. 
  • Gently place the coated chicken tenders into the hot oil. The oil should be bubbling around the chicken. 
  • Flip the chicken once the breadcrumbs become golden brown (1-2 minutes). 
  • Remove from the hot oil and place on a plate coated with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. 
  • Season with another dash of garlic powder. 
  • Serve warm. 

Chef Tips/Adjustments:

  • This recipe is low in sodium, but it has higher amounts of phosphorous and potassium due to the high protein content of the chicken. Firm tofu can be used in place of chicken for a lower amount of phosphorous and potassium. 
  • Create nuggets by slicing the raw tenderloins into nugget sizes. 
  • Store in the refrigerator after tenders sit on fresh paper towels to absorb all excess oil. 
  • Reheat tenders in oven or air fryer for best texture. 
  • This recipe can also be made in an air fryer. 
  • Parmesan cheese can be omitted.

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