Healthy For The Holidays

Dining Out with Confidence

Don’t let a kidney-friendly diet prevent you from enjoying a meal out!

December 2, 2022

“Can I eat out if I have kidney disease?”

Of course you can!

Dining out on a kidney-friendly diet can still be an enjoyable experience, and you don’t have to completely ditch your favorite cuisines. Reminder: a kidney-friendly diet is typically low in salt, potassium, and phosphorus. With a few modifications and help from the restaurant staff, you can treat yourself to a meal that satisfies both your taste buds and your health needs.

Whether you’re dining in or ordering takeout, here are some tips to consider when eating on a kidney-friendly diet:

Menu-stalk beforehand: Call the restaurant or look up their menu online ahead of time so you know what choices you have.

Pre-game with low-sodium food: Try to limit foods that are high in sodium on the day you eat out to compensate for your restaurant meal (which is usually higher in salt).

Take control where you can: Ask for sauces and dressings on the side so you control how much you use and prevent salt/fat saturation before you even have a chance to begin!

  • If you are following fluid restriction instructions from your doctor, request a small glass and politely turn down refills for your beverage.
  • Ask your server how your meal is prepared so you can make any special requests right from the start.
  • Request that your vegetables are boiled to help limit your potassium intake.
  • Find meals on the menu that are already flavored with herbs and spices and use pepper to add additional flavor.
  • If you’ve been prescribed a phosphorus binder, remember to bring them with you.

See? Enjoying a yummy meal out while watching your kidney health isn’t so hard after all thanks to these simple tips.

Food Swaps for the Win

What foods are best to order at your favorite Chinese restaurant, or at the drive-thru window? Consider these options recommended by our Somatus dietitians for different types of cuisines you might be craving. If you are unsure which nutrients to limit for your specific health condition, speak with your Somatus dietitian or a medical provider*.


Better choicesFoods to limit or avoid
  • Fettuccine alfredo (1/2 portion)
  • Pasta primavera without tomato
  • Pasta with olive oil, garlic, or pesto
  • Salad with oil/vinegar dressing
  • Grilled seafood, chicken, beef, or pork
  • Unsalted bread
  • Tomato sauce and clam sauce
  • Sausage, pepperoni, and prosciutto
  • Anchovies
  • Cheese
  • Desserts with chocolate, nuts, cream, or cheese


Better choicesFoods to limit or avoid
  • Grilled or broiled chicken, steak, fish, porkchop, seafood, plain hamburger
  • Plain white rice, pasta, bread
  • Cauliflower, bell peppers, green beans, cabbage, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus
  • Small side salad
  • Apple pie or strawberry shortcake
  • Soups
  • Beans, spinach, and sauerkraut
  • Potatoes
  • Casseroles mixed with cheese
  • Ham, corned beef, sausage, and bacon
  • Breaded, battered, and fried foods

Fast Food

Better choicesFoods to limit or avoid
  • Small sandwich (grilled chicken, hamburger, turkey, tuna, roast beef) with lettuce, onion, mayonnaise, and/or cream cheese.
  • Unsalted onion rings
  • Small side salads or coleslaw
  • Lemon-lime or orange soda, root beer
  • Grapes or apples
  • Sugar cookies
  • Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Hot dogs
  • Ketchup and mustard
  • French fries and potato chips
  • Pickles and olive
  • Tomatoes
  • Sodas like Cola and Dr. Pepper
  • Milkshakes


Better choicesFoods to limit or avoid
  • Burritos without beans
  • Tacos with meat and lettuce
  • Fajitas
  • Corn tortillas
  • Green salsa verde and sour cream
  • Beans
  • Cheese
  • Chips
  • Salsa with tomatoes


Chinese and Thai

Better choicesFoods to limit or avoid
  • Stir fry dishes
  • Spring rolls and potstickers
  • Fortune cookies
  • Pad Thai without peanuts
  • Soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, fish sauce, and peanut sauce
  • Bok Choy and mung beans
  • Soups
  • Curry
  • Desserts with banana and mango

Are your taste buds tingling? Ours are! Don’t let following a kidney-friendly diet prevent you from enjoying a meal out. By planning ahead, making small adjustments, and selecting better options, you’ll be all ready to dig in!



*These materials do not provide medical advice. The information contained in these materials is for educational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you read in these materials. If you are a Somatus member, call (855) 851-8354 to speak to your health support team. If you are not a Somatus member, please speak with your healthcare provider.

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