Kidney Diet Tips

Dining Successfully at Carrabba's Italian Grill

Dining at restaurants such as Carrabba’s Italian Grill can require a little more out of the box thinking for people following a kidney diet. Italian foods in general can be higher in phosphorus with their generous use of cheeses in dishes. They may also be higher in potassium with frequent use of tomato-based sauces.

Some tips when eating at Italian restaurants include:

  • Ask for tomato sauce on the side to put on yourself or ask for light on the sauce
  • Go light on the parmesan cheese
  • Avoid anything that says Parmigiana
  • Stick with Italian bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • Avoid olives and prosciutto
  • Stay away from soups since they are hidden source of salt
  • Take part of your meal home. Restaurant portions are usually very generous.

carrabas-by-deannaI asked Carrabba’s staff to prepare a meal that was not listed on their menu. They were actually very happy to accommodate. I chose some whole wheat pasta, with kidney-friendly vegetables such as mushrooms, asparagus, red peppers and artichokes. I had them add chicken to increase protein in my dish, and to use olive oil. This meal, which is pictured here, may be possible to recreate at other similar restaurants.

Other dishes on Carrabba’s menu that are renal-friendly include:


  • Meatballs and ricotta-light on sauce or sauce on side
  • Italian Lettuce Wraps
  • Calamari


  • Tuscan Strawberry salad- minus pine nuts and tomatoes
  • Italian salad-minus olives, tomatoes and cheese


  • Tuscan Grilled Chicken
  • Chicken Bryan-minus tomatoes
  • Chicken Marsala
  • Veal Marsala
  • Tuscon Grilled Sirloin/Filet/Pork Chop/Veal Chop
  • Wood Grilled Tilapia
  • Salmon Certriolini-minus tomatoes
  • Mahi Wulfe-minus tomatoes
  • Linguine Postiano-tomato sauce on side
  • Spaghetti and meatballs-tomato sauce on side

Your next visit to an Italian restaurant should not require any extra thinking with these helpful tips and ideas. With careful planning and requests for kidney-friendly foods you can enjoy the visit. Buon appetito!


Deanna Denny, RD

Deanna Denny, RD

Deanna Denny is currently a DaVita renal dietitian and has worked in the dietetics field for over 5 years. She is an avid foodie; loves exploring foods from all sorts of areas and cultures. She has a one year old Australian shepherd named Ace who means the world to her. She's a huge animal lover. She also enjoys traveling and spending time at home with her boyfriend and puppy.