Kidney Diet Tips

Dining Out on a Kidney Diet

Dining Out

Putting together all the pieces of a kidney diet may make dining out a challenge. By following a few guidelines, it is possible to stick with a renal diet and enjoy eating out.

  • Be familiar with the restaurant choices before you go. Pick up the takeout menu or check the restaurants website to view the menu. If you need help selecting the best diet choices, bring the menu to your renal dietitian and ask for help.
  • If you are on a low potassium diet, cut back on higher potassium foods during the day if you plan to eat out at dinner. The same applies to sodium, phosphorus and fluids. By ‘saving’ some of your choices during the day, you can enjoy a bit extra at dinner and still stay within your diet goals.
  • Bring phosphorus binders with you and take them with the meal. These medications work to bind phosphorus in the stomach and gastrointestinal track as food is digested. Timing with the meal is important.
  • To reduce sodium, request foods to be prepared without extra salt or MSG when possible.
  • Request condiments, sauces and salad dressings on the side and limit the amount used.
  • Order the smaller size beverage and decline refills to help limit fluid intake.
  • If meal portions are large consider splitting an entrée or taking half home.
  • Instead of mixed dishes, order a steak, chicken, shrimp or fish entrée. These are usually lower in sodium, potassium or phosphorus compared to casseroles and mixed food entrees.
  • Share dessert and avoid those with chocolate or nuts. Stick with fruit pie, cobbler, angel food or pound cake, sherbet or sorbet. Many restaurants offer fresh berries as a dessert option.

For additional information see the DaVita.com article Dining out on the Dialysis Diet.

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 20 years experience working with people with diabetes and kidney disease. She is co-author of the popular kidney cookbook "Cooking for David: A Culinary Dialysis Cookbook". Sara is currently the Manager of Kidney Care Nutrition for DaVita. She analyzes recipes and creates content, resources and tools for the kidney community. In her spare time Sara loves to spend time with her young grandson, including fun times together in her kitchen.