Kidney Diet Tips

Outdoor Living: Tips for Barbeques and Picnics

Break out the barbeque and pack the picnic coolers!  Warmer weather brings wonderful opportunities for outdoor living and great food. Whether you prefer a sizzling steak from the backyard grill or cool picnic sandwiches at the park, here are some tips to keep your outdoor celebrations fun and full of flavor.
Tips for Grilling:

  • Barbeque rubs are a simple and fast way to add flavor to grilled meats.  During grilling, the rub forms a savory crust that helps seal in the juices to keep meats moist and tasty.  Many commercial rubs are high in sodium.  However, you can easily combine salt-free spices that you have on hand at home to create a kidney-friendly rub customized to your taste preferences.
  • For those who like flavor with a little “zing”, try this recipe for “Zippy Barbeque Rub”:

Combine the following:  2 tablespoons garlic powder, 2 tablespoons onion powder, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons oregano, 2 teaspoons thyme, 2 teaspoons paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper.  Brush the meat, poultry or fish with a small amount of  vegetable oil.  Rub both sides with the above mixture before grilling as usual. Recipe makes 1/4 cup rub.  This mixture can be made in advance, stored covered for up to a year and used when you need it.

  • Glazes are another great way to add flavor when barbequing. A glaze is a sauce that typically has either honey, sugar or preserves as a base to help it adhere during cooking.  Keep in mind that, in order to prevent burning, glazes are to be added only during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. A few quick brushes of glaze can delightfully enhance both the taste and appearance of grilled meats and poultry.
  • Here is a basic renal-friendly glaze that goes well with chicken:

Combine the following: 1/4 cup honey, 1 teaspoon grated orange peel, 2 tablespoons pineapple juice, 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard, 1 small clove garlic, minced and a dash of black pepper.

Family on vacation having barbecueWhen packing your picnic cooler, remember these foods safety tips:

  • Keep chillin’.  For cold food to be safe, it needs to be kept colder than 40°F to prevent bacteria from growing. Be sure the food is already cold before putting it in the cooler.
  • Time for inspection. Check to be sure your cooler is clean and free of any cracks or damage.
  • No peeking! Fill the cooler with ice, or use ice packs and frozen bottles of water. Do this just before leaving the house, and don’t open the cooler until you’re ready to serve the food.
  • Pack it up.  Place foods snugly in the cooler and be sure the lid to the cooler fits securely with no gaps.
  • Two coolers are better than one.  Keep cold drinks in a separate cooler because the cooler with drinks will be opened and closed frequently.
  • A cool ride. Transport the cooler in an air-conditioned car, if possible. When you arrive at your destination, find a shady spot for the cooler out of direct sunlight.
  • Check out these suggested recipes for picnics:

Sweet and Tangy Oven-Fried Chicken

Picnic Potato Salad

Minted Lemonade

Be sure to “surf” for even more barbeque and picnic recipes. Best wishes for a safe, carefree and flavorful summer.

Additional Kidney Diet Resources

Visit and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

DaVita Food Analyzer

DaVita Dining Out Guides

Today’s Kidney Diet Cookbooks

DaVita Kidney-Friendly Recipes

Diet and Nutrition Articles                                                       

Diet and Nutrition Videos

Kidney Smart® Virtual Classes

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Cheryl Hathaway, RDN, CSR, LDN

Cheryl Hathaway, RDN, CSR, LDN

Cheryl lives in Lancaster, PA and has been a Renal Dietitian for over 25 years. She appreciates that her job allows her the opportunity to help her patients feel their best and keep as active as possible with good nutrition. In her downtime, Cheryl enjoys hiking, reading, cooking, following Carolina Panthers football and going on weekend getaways with her husband Mike.