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Kidney-friendly diet & COVID-19

Ordering take-out with confidence

Many restaurants are now closed to enforce social distancing, but take-out is still available from many eateries. Here are some ideas for making ordering take-out easy even with your special kidney diet. Start by knowing your diet well and asking your dietitian for any tips or advice. If you have sodium, potassium, phosphorus, or protein restrictions, this information will help you make good decisions based on your specific dietary needs.

Plan ahead

Choose a restaurant where it will be easiest to select foods best suited for your diet. Restaurants where food is made to order are the best choice.

Making your selections

Look over the menu carefully. Ask for more details about items you do not know about. When you place your order explain that you are following a special diet. Make special requests about the way your food is prepared as follows:

Entrées:

  • Portions served in restaurants may be much larger than what you eat at home. When ordering take-out, estimate an amount close to what you normally have. (3 ounces of cooked meat, fish, or poultry is about the size of a deck of cards). Plan to have leftovers or split the meal with another person.
  • Grilled items are good choices.
  • Request that salt not be added when cooking.
  • Request that gravies or sauces be served in a separate container.
  • Avoid mixed dishes or casseroles. They are usually higher in sodium and phosphorus.
  • Remove the skin from poultry and any crusts from fried foods to decrease sodium content.
  • It is best NOT to add steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, or hot sauce because of the high sodium content.
  • Lemon or lime juice and vinegar make good sauces and will bring out a lot of the natural flavor of foods. Black pepper will add zest to the food without making you thirsty.

Side dishes:

  • If you need to restrict potassium, choose starches and vegetables that are lower in potassium, such as rice, noodles and green beans.
  • If your meal does not include a good choice for your diet, request a substitute.
  • Ask that sauces be omitted or served in a separate container.

Stay safe

Ask the delivery person to leave the bag outside your door or be sure to keep your distance from them, especially if you need to pay them directly. If you have to pay them directly, consider wearing gloves. You can also wipe down the bag with a disinfectant wipe. Make sure food is well heated and reconsider the use of uncooked foods that aren't prepackaged. Of course, wash your hands before eating. Other tips on Safe Food Handling can be found at the FDA website.

 

What kind of foods should I have in my house?

If there is a virus outbreak in your area and you need to decrease your risk of getting sick, it’s important that you have food in your home. This will help reduce your risk of infection by allowing you to avoid crowded spaces like grocery stores and drug stores.

It's important for you to have shelf stable food choices to help you follow your kidney diet. Shelf stable means foods that last a long time without spoiling, such as canned foods. It’s important to prepare now by stocking up 2-3 weeks’ worth of healthy, kidney friendly foods, fresh water, and medicines. Check with your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your medications.

What should I know about shelf stable foods?

It’s important to keep shelf stable foods on hand to avoid getting sick if an outbreak happens in your area.

Reminders:

  • Throw away cans that are opened, dented, or past their expiration date to avoid food poisoning.
  • Avoid using salt (and salt substitutes if you have a potassium restriction)
  • Keep distilled water on hand (bottles or jugs).

What are some kidney friendly low-sodium items (no potassium or phosphorus restriction)?

Includes all dialysis friendly foods as well as foods listed below.

Fruits (2-3 servings/day)

  • No sugar added canned fruits
  • Dried fruit
  • Fruit Juice

Vegetables (2-3 servings/day)

  • No salt added or low-sodium canned vegetables

Protein

  • Low-Sodium canned meat
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Meat
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Dried beans and peas
  • No sodium added or low-sodium canned beans
  • Shelf stable Tofu
  • Unsalted Nut butter
  • Unsalted Nuts and Seeds

Dairy (2-3 cups/day)

  • Dry Milk Solids
  • Evaporated milk
  • Shelf stable milk alternative (refrigeration required after opened)
  • Rice, soy, almond

Grain

  • Whole grain breads and pastas
  • White or brown rice
  • Unsalted crackers
  • Dry cereals: Low sodium
  • Cooked Cereals
  • Cream of wheat or rice
  • Grits
  • Rolled or steel cut oats

Fats

  • Unsalted butter or margarine
  • Low-sodium mayonnaise (single packets)
  • Salad or cooking oil

Sweets

  • Animal crackers
  • Chewing gum
  • Graham crackers
  • Hard candy
  • Jellybeans
  • Vanilla Wafers

Other

  • Low-sodium Soups and Broths
  • Honey
  • Jelly
  • Jam

Shelf stable recipes

Here are some recipes you can make with shelf stable ingredients from your pantry.

Guide:
1 carb choice= 15g carbohydrates

Breakfast

French Toast

3 servings, 2 slices per serving

Nutrition facts

Source: Living Well on Dialysis Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canned evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
  • 6 slices French bread or preferred bread, cut diagonally (about 1 inch thick)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted margarine

Directions

  1. Beat eggs, milk, water sugar, vanilla and cinnamon (optional) together in large bowl, until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Soak bread in egg mixture until saturated.
  3. Heat margarine in skillet until melted.
  4. Cook bread over medium heat until golden brown, about 12 minutes on each side.
  5. Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar and/or with pancake syrup of your choice.

Nutrition

  • Calories 331
  • Carbohydrates 45g
  • Protein 15g
  • Fat 12g
  • Saturated Fat 4g
  • Sodium 485mg
  • Potassium 262mg
  • Phosphorus 228mg
  • Calcium 170mg

Appropriate for

  • Diabetes: 3 carb choices
  • Kidney disease stage 5 or dialysis
  • Early kidney disease
  • Low sodium diets

Fruit Pancakes

4 servings

Nutrition facts

Source: National Kidney Foundation

Ingredients

  • 2 cups canned apples
  • 1 cup white flour (all purpose)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 egg or egg substitute
  • Optional: pinch of cinnamon in batter mixture

Directions

  1. Beat egg or egg substitute with sugar and a pinch of salt until foamy.
  2. Add liquid non-dairy creamer, water and flour and mix thoroughly.
  3. Fold in sliced apples.
  4. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto a heat, lightly oiled griddle. Flatten pancakes and cook over medium heat until golden brown on both sides.
  5. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Try it with different canned fruit!

Nutrition

  • Calories 182
  • Carbohydrates 37g
  • Protein 5g
  • Fat 2g
  • Saturated fat 0.5g
  • Sodium 64mg
  • Potassium 112mg
  • Phosphorus 62mg
  • Calcium 24mg

Appropriate for

  • Stage 5 kidney disease or dialysis
  • Diabetes: 2 carb choices
  • Heart healthy: low sodium, low in saturated fat
  • Early kidney disease

Mexican Brunch Eggs

8 servings, 1/2 cup per serving

Nutrition facts

Source: Living Well on Dialysis Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted margarine
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups canned corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 eggs, beaten, or 2 cups low-cholesterol egg substitute
  • 2 cups unsalted corn chips
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimiento

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, sauté onion (optional) and garlic in margarine until soft. Add corn, cumin and cayenne. Stir to combine. Pour in eggs or egg substitute and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until eggs are set. Arrange corn chips on a large platter. Spoon egg mixture on chips and sprinkle with pimiento.
  2. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

  • Calories 155
  • Carbohydrates 11g
  • Protein 7g
  • Fat 10g
  • Saturated Fat 2g
  • Sodium 59mg
  • Potassium 143mg
  • Phosphorus 110mg
  • Calcium 42mg

Appropriate for

  • Early kidney disease
  • Kidney disease stage 5 or dialysis
  • Diabetes: 1 carb choice
  • High blood pressure: low sodium

Snacks

Easy Fruit Salad

6 servings, 1/2 cup per serving

Nutrition facts

Source: National Kidney Foundation

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup golden seedless raisins, packed
  • 8-ounce canned mandarin oranges, juice pack
  • 1 cup fresh or canned apple, quartered or chopped, juice drained
  • 8-ounce fresh or canned pineapple, juice drained
  • 8-ounce canned pears, juice pack

Directions

  1. Early in the day, cut pears into 1/4-inch cubes. In bowl, combine all the canned fruits and their liquid. Add remaining ingredients and refrigerate.
  2. Drain fruits well just before serving.
  3. Serve

Nutrition

  • Calories 104
  • Carbohydrates 27g
  • Protein 1g
  • Fat 0g
  • Sodium 8mg
  • Potassium 244mg
  • Phosphorus 26mg
  • Calcium 22mg

Appropriate for

  • Diabetes: 2 carb choices
  • Early kidney disease
  • Kidney disease stage 5 or dialysis
  • Low sodium diets

Snack Mix

6 servings, 1 cup per serving

Nutrition facts

Source: Living Well on Dialysis Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice cereal squares
  • 1 cup corn cereal squares
  • 1 cup unsalted tiny pretzel twists
  • 3 cups unsalted popped popcorn
  • 1/3 cup unsalted margarine, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Mix cereals, pretzels and popcorn in large bowl. Combine melted margarine, garlic powder and onion powder. Pour over cereal mixture and toss to coat. Add Parmesan cheese.
  2. Bake in 350F oven for 7–10 minutes. Cool. Store in sealed container.

Nutrition

  • Calories 180
  • Carbohydrates 17g
  • Protein 2g
  • Fat 12g
  • Saturated fat 2g
  • Sodium 110mg
  • Potassium 38mg
  • Phosphorus 27mg
  • Calcium 46mg

Appropriate for

  • Diabetes: 1 carb choice
  • High blood pressure: low sodium
  • Early kidney disease
  • Kidney disease stage 5 or dialysis

Entrée

Pasta Salad Niçoise

6 servings, 1 1/2 cups per serving

Nutrition facts

Source: National Kidney Foundation

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked small shell macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups canned green beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped dry parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil
  • 1 7-3/4-oz can low sodium tuna packed in water, drained
  • 5 green onions, chopped, including tops (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Toss pasta with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl. Set aside. Blanch green beans by dropping into boiling water for 2 minutes. Transfer to a colander and chill under cold running water. Drain.
  2. In a large bowl, combine beans, lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, mustard, parsley and basil. Add tuna, pasta, pepper, and green onions (if available). Toss, then cover and chill at least 1 to 2 hours.

Nutrition

  • Calories 336
  • Carbohydrates 33g
  • Protein 16g
  • Fat 16g
  • Saturated fat 2g
  • Sodium 23 mg
  • Potassium 218mg
  • Phosphorus 133mg
  • Calcium 38.5mg

Appropriate for

  • Stage 5 kidney disease or dialysis
  • Diabetes: 2 carb choices
  • High blood pressure: low sodium
  • Early kidney disease: use a smaller can of tuna to decrease protein

Tuna Salad

4 servings

Nutrition facts

Adapted from Food Network

Ingredients

  • 2 6-ounce cans tuna, low sodium packed in water, drained
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes and drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise, low fat
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)

Directions

  1. In a small mixing bowl break up the tuna with a fork. Toss with the celery, onion and parsley. Add the mayonnaise, mustard and season with pepper, to taste. Stir to combine. Add lemon juice, to taste, if using.
  2. Serve over lettuce or bread

Nutrition

  • Calories 129
  • Carbohydrates 3g
  • Protein 17g
  • Fat 5g
  • Saturated Fat 1g
  • Sodium 247mg
  • Potassium 194mg
  • Phosphorus 116mg
  • Calcium 16mg

Appropriate for

  • Stage 5 kidney disease or dialysis
  • Diabetes: <1 carb count
  • High blood pressure: low sodium
  • Early kidney disease: use smaller cans of tuna to decrease protein content

Pea Risotto

4 servings

Nutrition facts

Adapted from Good Housekeeping

Ingredients

  • 1 can chicken broth, low sodium
  • 2 1/4 cup and 2 tbsp water
  • 16 oz canned green peas, low sodium, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cup white rice*
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

* if you are on dialysis ask your dietitian about adding in whole grains like brown rice

Directions

  1. In 2-quart covered saucepan, heat chicken broth and 2 1/4 cups water to boiling on high.
  2. In blender, combine 1 1/2 cups peas and 1/4 cup hot broth mixture. Remove center part of blender top; cover blender and blend peas and broth mixture until pureed. Set remaining peas aside.
  3. In microwave-safe 3 1/2- to 4-quart bowl, combine olive oil and rice. Cook, uncovered, in microwave on High 1 minute. Stir in remaining hot broth mixture; cover bowl with vented plastic wrap and cook in microwave on Medium (50 percent power) 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking.
  4. Stir in pea puree; cover with vented plastic wrap and cook on Medium (50 percent power) 8 minutes longer or until most of liquid is absorbed. Stir in Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and remaining peas.
  5. To serve, spoon risotto into 4 shallow serving bowls and garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition

  • Calories 252
  • Carbohydrates 37g
  • Protein 11g
  • Fat 7g
  • Saturated Fat 2 g
  • Sodium 155mg
  • Potassium 189mg
  • Phosphorus 115mg
  • Calcium 95mg

Appropriate for

  • Early kidney disease
  • Stage 5 kidney disease or dialysis
  • Heart healthy: low sodium, low in saturated fat
  • Diabetes: 2 carb choices per serving

Chicken Noodle Soup

9 servings

Nutrition facts

Source: National Kidney Foundation

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp, ground oregano, dried
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup canned carrots, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp basil leaves, dried
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped 
  • 8 oz, low sodium canned chicken
  • 1 tablespoon butter, salted
  • 10 oz dry egg noodles, enriched
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cup canned chicken broth, low fat, low sodium
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

  1. Melt butter or margarine in a large pot
  2. Add onion, celery, and carrots
  3. Cook until onions are translucent
  4. Add water, chicken broth, chicken, and noodles
  5. Bring to a boil
  6. Reduce heat to simmer
  7. Add herbs
  8. Simmer for 20 minutes

Nutrition

  • Calories: 176
  • Carbohydrates 26g
  • Protein 10g
  • Fat: 4g
  • Saturated fat 2g
  • Sodium 128 mg
  • Potassium 303mg
  • Phosphorus 143mg
  • Calcium 24mg

Appropriate for

  • Early kidney disease
  • Stage 5 kidney disease or dialysis
  • Diabetes: 2 carb choices
  • Heart healthy: low sodium, low in saturated fat

Sweet and Sour Chicken

6 servings, 1/2 cup per serving
Source: Living Well on Dialysis Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 1 20-oz can pineapple chunks, juice pack
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup unsalted margarine
  • 12 oz, canned chicken breast, drained and rinsed (OR 1 lb fresh or frozen boned chicken breast, cut into 1/2 cube)
  • 1 cup canned red bell pepper, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings (optional)
  • 3 cups hot cooked white rice

Directions

  1. Drain pineapple, reserving 1/3 cup juice. Combine sugar and cornstarch. Mix in pineapple, reserved juice, vinegar and orange marmalade. Set aside. Melt margarine in a wok or large skillet. Add chicken and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add canned red pepper and onion (if available) and cook 2 minutes. Add pineapple mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Serve over rice.

Nutrition

  • Calories 315
  • Carbohydrates 63g
  • Protein 10g
  • Fat 2g
  • Saturated Fat 1g
  • Sodium 466mg
  • Potassium 443mg
  • Phosphorus 128mg
  • Calcium 38mg

Appropriate for

  • Diabetes: 4 carb choices
  • Heart healthy: low in sodium, low in saturated fat
  • Early kidney disease
  • Kidney disease stage 5 or dialysis

*If you have early kidney disease or diabetes, consider substituting brown rice as a higher fiber option

Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

8 servings, 1/2 cup sauce and spaghetti per serving
Source: National Kidney Foundation

Ingredients

  • 1, 28oz canned ground beef, low sodium OR 1 1/2 pound 95% lean / 5% fat ground beef, raw
  • 4 cups cooked spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp, ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp, oregano leaves, dried
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 6-ounce canned tomato paste, low sodium
  • 16-ounce canned crushed tomatoes, low sodium
  • 14.5-ounce canned green beans, low sodium, drained and rinsed
  • 4-ounce canned sliced mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 medium onion (optional)
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced

Directions

  1. Combine garlic and onions in oil over low heat until tender.
  2. Add meat; cook and stir until brown; drain fat.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients; break up tomatoes.
  4. Simmer uncovered over low heat about 30 minutes.
  5. Serve over cooked spaghetti

Nutrition

  • Calories 240
  • Carbohydrates 33g
  • Protein 18g
  • Fat 4g
  • Saturated Fat 1g
  • Sodium 105mg
  • Potassium 477mg
  • Phosphorus 166mg
  • Calcium 65mg

Appropriate for

  • Diabetes: 3 carb choices
  • Heart healthy: low sodium, low in saturated fat
  • Early kidney disease

Tacos

8 servings
Source: National Kidney Foundation

Ingredients

  • 3 cup shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 tsp, ground black pepper
  • 8 shell taco shells
  • 15oz canned beef, low sodium OR 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning, no salt or msg
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil

Directions

  1. Heat oil
  2. Place canned meat and all remaining ingredients, except taco shells and lettuce, in a skillet
  3. Cook until meat is hot or done and ingredients are well-blended
  4. Stuff taco shells with 2-oz of meat and top with shredded lettuce and other desired taco toppings

Nutrition

  • Calories 197
  • Carbohydrates 10g
  • Protein 17g
  • Fat 10g
  • Saturated Fat 3g
  • Sodium 84mg
  • Potassium 266mg
  • Phosphorus 152mg
  • Calcium 28mg

Appropriate for

  • Stage 5 kidney disease or dialysis
  • Diabetes: 1 carb choice
  • High blood pressure: low sodium

Dessert

Pine-Apple Fruit Whip

8 servings, 1/2 cup per serving
Source: Living Well on Dialysis Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel (if available)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • Cinnamon or nutmeg

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over pineapple juice to soften, and stir over low heat until gelatin is dissolved. Stir in lemon peel, honey and applesauce. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally. When mixture mounds slightly if dropped from spoon, beat until fluffy. Divide among 8 dessert dishes. Refrigerate until firm. Garnish each with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg.

Nutrition

  • Calories 70
  • Carbohydrates 18g
  • Protein 1g
  • Fat 0g
  • Saturated Fat 0g
  • Sodium 4mg
  • Potassium 91mg
  • Phosphorus 7mg
  • Calcium 9mg

Appropriate for

  • Stage 5 kidney disease or dialysis
  • Diabetes: 1 carb choice
  • Heart healthy: low sodium, low in saturated fat
  • Early kidney disease

Apple Crisps

8 servings, 1 cup per serving
Source: National Kidney Foundation

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted margarine
  • 2 tablespoon all purpose white flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 7 cups canned apples, drained

Directions

  1. Place sliced apples in 9" pie pan.
  2. Sprinkle sugar and spices over apple. (1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cinnamon).
  3. In a small bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, flour and margarine together until crumbly.
  4. Sprinkle over apples.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is golden brown.

Tip: Try with canned pears or peaches!

Nutrition

  • Calories 243
  • Carbohydrates 53g
  • Protein 2g
  • Fat 4g
  • Saturated Fat 1g
  • Sodium 7g
  • Potassium 175mg
  • Phosphorus 45mg
  • Calcium 18mg

Appropriate for

  • Stage 5 kidney disease or dialysis
  • Heart healthy: low sodium, low in saturated fat
  • Early kidney disease

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