Kidney Diet Tips

Homemade Marinades to Spice Up Your Grill

With summertime in full swing and Labor Day upon us, we are in the heart of grilling season. If you are anything like me, you turn to the basics such as hamburgers, chicken and the occasional kabob. Lately I have been experimenting with easy low-sodium marinades that add an extra burst of flavor. Adding a homemade marinade to your favorite meat and vegetable can provide additional flavor and tenderness; plus you can control the amount of sodium.

Following a low-sodium diet has many advantages for the entire population and especially for those on dialysis. For patients with chronic kidney disease and those on dialysis, having less salt in your diet can lower blood pressure and prevent fluid retention and thirst. Complications of excess sodium in the diet include edema, shortness of breath and heart failure.

Creating your own marinades takes only a few minutes and allows you to include your favorite flavors. It replaces store bought marinades which contain high amounts of sodium and other additives.

Most marinades call for the following components: an acidic ingredient, a seasoning and an oil.

  • Acidic ingredient: vinegar, citrus juice, buttermilk
    • The acidic ingredient is the base of the marinade, helping to tenderize the meat and add flavor.
  • Seasonings: garlic, pepper, herbs, spices, mustard
    • The seasonings added to the marinade are the primary flavoring agents and can be customized to your taste.
  • Oils: olive, canola, vegetable
    • Adding oil to your marinade will not only keep the meat moist, but also help to maintain the flavor of the seasonings.

The amount of marinade absorbed is around 25%, but varies with the marinade thickness and acidity, and the type and surface area of the meat.

To keep things clean and safe, place the meat in a zip top bag and pour in the marinade. The meat should marinate at least a few hours or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator before cooking.  When it’s time to grill, simply remove the meat from the marinade, discard the marinade, place the meat on a preheated grill, and ENJOY!

Here is one of my favorite marinated chicken recipes, Grilled Buttermilk Garlic Chicken. Check out the Meat Marinade  and Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs recipes for your next grill session! For more recipe ideas for grilling this summer read “Healthy Grilling Recipes for People with Kidney Disease”.

Jessica Triggs, MPH, RDN

Jessica Triggs, MPH, RDN

Jessica has been a registered dietitian for over 10 years with nearly all of that time working with the renal population. She is passionate about the power of food in improving the health of our communities. She grew up on a farm in Kansas and enjoys gardening and incorporating farm fresh foods in to a healthy diet for her family. Jessica and her husband have two young daughters with whom they enjoy traveling.