Restaurant visits and dining out with kidney disease can be a major concern for patients. It is hard enough to plan and structure your food according to your blood results. A far bigger challenge for Kidney disease patients are dinner invitations, family meetings and other social gatherings.
Dining Out with Chronic Kidney Disease
Social life does not stop when diagnosed with Kidney Failure. It is those events that scare me in particularly. Even though most of my family and friends are aware of my health condition, I do not like to make it a constant topic.
Facing the challenge to enjoy these days, I have found some great tips on National Kidney Foundation™ that I love to share with you. Please note however, that your diet differs from other kidney patients and not all information might apply to everyone.
Here are my Top 5 Tips for dining out with Chronic Kidney Disease
Get a copy of the menu
Review the menu or meal plan prior to visit. Prepare your choices and contact the restaurant if you have any doubts or you need detailed nutritional information. If you cannot find any food that suits your diet, ask the restaurant to prepare a special food for you.
Ask about ingredients
Certain meals combine a variety of different ingredients such as herbs, flavors etc. If you are unsure just ask the waitress or waiter about the ingredients. These days restaurants are familiar with food allergies and different health regimes, and therefore train their staff on in debt knowledge of food preparation. At the least the restaurant staff is used to answer those questions.
Ask for foods on the side
This is my favorite. As I already mentioned I do not enjoy the attention that I get at times. Asking for foods, such as extras, sauces, vegetables etc. to come on the side allows me to simply avoid anything that will harm my diet. And nobody notices.
Plan your day before eating out
Knowing that you are going to eat out, you should keep sodium, potassium, and phosphorus intakes low at any other meals you might have on that day.
I used to take phosphate binder every lunch or dinner I ate. When eating out this can be a bit tricky. In my personal experience I had to mix the powder into my food. It was later that I discovered it works just as fine to mix the powder in a cup of water. Every few bites I would take a sip. Make sure to consult your doctor beforehand if this would be an option for you too. For me personally this was a big relief.
The Menu: Which foods can I order?
- Bagels or any other white refined bread
- Toast with Marmelade
- Low-potassium fruits, such as pineapple and grapes
- Plain doughnuts
Lunch and dinner
- Noodles or Pasta dishes (avoid cheese or sauces, go for vegetables instead)
- Cooked vegetables
- Salads without dressings
- Low-potassium vegetables, such as green beans or corn
- Pasta salad
- Rice dishes
- Sandwiches made without cheese or heavily salted meats
- Apple cake
- Pound cake
- Sugar or butter cookies
My Tip: Avoid anything with chocolate, cacao, nuts or caramel, as well as ice cream or cream cakes. Most creamy desserts contain lots of protein that you do want to avoid. Opt for plain cakes or cookies. I usually do not eat dessert, so I admit this part seems easier for me.
- Apple juice
- Wine (limit yourself to one glass)
My Tip: When drinking fruit juices, make sure it is fresh pressed juice. Especially in restaurants and bars soda drinks are sold as fruit juices. Ask when placing your order if it contains actual fruit juice.
My Tip: When dining out with kidney disease opt for a glass of wine. I highly recommend red wine for you. A glass of red wine is in my opinion the healthiest alcoholic choice. So you can enjoy yourself whilst still having some cardiovascular health benefit. After all a kidney failure patient is always on the lookout for the best nutritional options.
The Menu: What NOT TO ORDER
- Beer or any other alcoholic drinks (other than wine)
- Bran, such as bran muffins or bran cereal
- Cheese (cheese toppings, cheese sauce)
- Cola and other soda beverages
- Dried fruits and nuts
- Fried and breaded meats, poultry, and fish
- Kiwi, Melon and Oranges
- Milk, Cream and Yogurt
- Orange juice
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes in any form
- Processed meats (ham, bacon, sausage, pepperoni, etc)
- Sauces (Tomato sauce, Soy sauce etc.)