Eating out at restaurants, take out or attending celebrations is something many of us enjoy. Even with CKD you can still eat out. But it takes some planning. This blog post will walk you through tips and tricks for managing your sodium, protein, potassium and phosphorus and still enjoy your foods. So, let’s get into eating out with CKD.
Eating Out With CKD Tips
Planning ahead is important. Start with thinking about all the meals you will have in the day, if necessary cut back on serving sizes of foods high in sodium, potassium or protein earlier in the day.
One of the best strategies is to read the menu ahead of time. Calling restaurants or taking to family about how food will be prepared can help you share how to make changes to the recipes like lowering the sodium. Many restaurants or fast food locations have websites that list their nutrition information, be sure to check this out.
Read the menu carefully and ask for special requests. By reading the menu carefully, you’ll likely find the foods that will be higher in sodium or potassium from the ingredients. And don’t be scared to ask for special request to make the meal more suitable for you like cooking without salt or substituting a high potassium item for a low potassium item.
Most restaurant portions have grown larger over the years. If you are served a big portion of food, you will
probably eat more than you need to. This can affect your blood sugar levels if you also have diabetes. So monitoring your portion sizes is important. Always look for a balanced plate like this:
- Half the plate should be vegetables
- One quarter of the plate should be grains (like pasta, rice or potato)
- One quarter of the plate should be protein (like lean meat, poultry, fish, legumes or tofu)
When reading menus aim for about 700 mg sodium per serving. One trick if you are eating out and the sodium is higher, have half the portion; share it with a friend or take the rest home for later.
Be sure to ask the staff not to cook with salt, and of course do not add more at the table. The foods will naturally have salt in them. Foods with more sauces or breading will be higher in sodium, so try to choose fresher foods.
Requesting half portions of protein can help keep you on track with your protein restrictions. But, you can also take it home for another meal or share it with a friend. Remember to use your palm to estimate the portion size of protein. A palm size serving is about 2.5 oz or 75 g protein for animal protein. A fist is about the size of 1 cup or 250 mL for legumes like beans or peas.
Don’t forget there may be extra protein in some foods like cheese or sauces. So asking for substitutions may be needed.
Choosing dishes that are lower in potassium is important if you are following a low potassium diet. And remember that portion sizes is important for grains and starches. Check out this blog post on whole grains for more information.
Here are some lower potassium vegetables:
- Beans, string green/yellow
- Peppers, bell
- Spaghetti squash
- Snow peas
If you are on a potassium restriction, choose low potassium foods earlier in the day to give you more room when eating out.
Added phosphorus sources will be difficult to determine because we often do not have the nutrition information of products. So one trick is choosing fresher foods, which often do not have phosphorus additives.
Desserts are often a big culprit for phosphorus because they can have chocolate, nuts and caramel in them. Choose desserts that have a simple preparation that won’t have hidden phosphorus additives. If you are unsure, share a portion with a friend.
Desserts like gelatin, sorbet, or fruit will be lower in phosphorus. Some other kidney-friendly dessert choices are: angel food cake, apple or lemon pound cake, sugar cookies, shortbread cookies, pies/cobblers made with apple, berries or lemon.
So Can You Eat Out With CKD?
The answer is YES. Eating out is a nice change from having meals at home. But, it is important that you try to follow your nutrition needs closely. Ask your server questions and make special requests so your meal is prepared exactly how you want it.
Are You Looking for Support With Your CKD?
Eating out and enjoying foods is still possible wtih CKD. If you are looking for support with balancing your CKD and living life to the fullest connect with Emily here.
Nutrition plays an important role in preserving your kidney function, but a balanced and personalized approach to nutrition is important. Want to learn more about Emily? Learn more here.