A cost-efficient renal diet program combines food choices that avoid taxing the kidneys with frugal shopping habits. Patients following a renal diet typically reduce protein, electrolyte and fluid intake while increasing carbohydrates and fats to ensure adequate caloric intake, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Low-protein foods include fresh legumes such as pinto beans as well as vegetables and grains, the Medical College of Wisconsin's Division of Nephrology notes. These foods make good substitutes for high-protein meat and dairy products. However, it's important to choose produce with low levels of potassium, the NIH recommends. Fruits such as peaches, grapes, apples, pineapple and pears are better than oranges, bananas and melon. For vegetables, choose broccoli, cabbage, carrots, beans, lettuce and summer squashes over asparagus, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach and winter squashes.
Patients can save money on produce by purchasing in season, MoneyCrashers notes. Fruit and vegetable bargains change monthly, so planning accordingly is a cost-effective way to purchase these items, as stated by About.com.
Patients can also save money by shopping on Wednesdays, when stores often run manager specials, and by maximizing those savings by using coupons when possible, according to Bankrate. This may be a good way to purchase healthy carbohydrates, such as whole-grain bread. Coupons are often available for the iron-fortified cereals the NIH recommends for helping to combat anemia as well such fats as olive oil, as noted on the Lozo grocery-coupon site.