What To Eat When Eating Out?: My husband's... - Early CKD Support

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What To Eat When Eating Out?

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My husband's labs on 11/25/2020 were Creatinine 1.64 and GFR 40. He was told to start eating low sodium and low potassium, which he did. On 02/25/2021 his Creatinine was 1.21 and his GFR was 57. The Nephrologist gave me credit as the cook. I realize that labs are just a picture of a given day, but still they showed improvement.

Now he wants to go traveling for a week or more and I would like suggestions of what he should order at a restaurant. I would appreciate an;y and all information.

Thank You,

19 Replies

Not just a picture of the day but a picture of a time in a day. Results do fluctuate depending on what you do, eat or drink prior to testing. I try to keep my test to the same time of day, usually in the early mornings before I get carried away with the days activities. This gives me a consistent comparison to chart my kidney performance. Testing 3 monthly.I have long wrestled with your question. The only solution I have found is to ask what exactly has been used in the cooking of what I would like to eat, explaining why I'm asking, or specify what my requirements are first. If I don't get the answer I need I walk away. This also applies equally to dinner parties.

Salads are usually a safe bet as is grilled fish or poultry cooked without salt or spices. That way I know there is no problem. I also contend with diabetes which really compounds the problem. If it doesn't get prepared or cooked with salt it will be sugar instead.

I have found a minor, irregular indiscretion has little or no effect on my GFR as long as it doesn't get out of hand and doesn't become a regular habit.

HI Zoey,Don't be afraid to stick to the diet when out. Ask for vegetables, no sauces, lean meats, no sauces, and lots of salad. If the order comes and it is huge, box up half and take it home.

When I do eat out and is a chain restaurant I would look at menu nutrients and work from there. I mainly have a salad, and if do feel need for a little meat, get a small amount from my wife. I would also take home some of the food if came in large amount. Sometimes I order the kids meal.

Thank you all for your replies and suggestions!

Welcome! It really is a minefield isn’t it ! Huge congrats at raising your hubbies eGFR by so much ! I was only diagnosed in Nov so in the U.K. an yet to eat out ! But it worries me as well. Looks like it’s going to be salads ! No dressing and veggies .

zoey_s profile image
zoey_s in reply to SkiingSailor

Thank You! It is a real challenge, but very necessary to change our eating habits.

Also no chocolate, no soda, no tomatoes., no apricots

Organic cabbage and Organic red bell pepper are very good for the kidneys . Chop some up and take along on your road trip in a ice chest to nibble on raw .

He can eat Peaches , Apples , all berries including blueberries . Filtered water , take a PUR water filter along on your trip .

zoey_s profile image
zoey_s in reply to seabreezegirl

Thanks for the suggestions. I really had to change things because I used a lot of potatoes, kidney beans, butternut squash and tomatoes in my cooking; also too much cheese and red meat. I have a little sign in my kitchen that says ' Life is change; growth is optional', we need to follow that thought with our new eating habits.

Great suggestions . Do you completely rule out all chocolate ? I have 25g of dark chocolate daily .

No chocolate,!! things that are good for people without kidney disease like dark chocolate, spinach, whole wheat breads , and orange juice... so on... are NOT good for people with kidney disease.

What a blow ! Thanks for the advice though !

Yes it is a bummer and I am sure all of us miss the foods we are no longer supposed to eat . But just think about the fact that you are loving yourself and loving your kidneys . So you can live longer and healthier . I just think about kidney dialysis. when I want to eat chocolate ice cream or cake then I am OK with not eating it ...

Absolutely right ! My philosophy exactly. I just didn’t know that we shouldn’t eat some chocolate ! I don’t understand people who say - oh it’s too hard ! I’m guessing dialysis is SO hard.

As a retired RN I have talked to many people on dialysis. It must be done for hours... 3 times a week . It is uncomftable . And people can get infections . And it does not work forever you know . Personally I would choose to not do it , but that is just me .

Hi Zoey,

It's basically making good choices and requesting no added salt, msg or additives.

You have gotten some great suggestions from Bassetmommer, Orange City Seabreezegirl and SkiingSailor.

I have had salads with lots of vegetables and dressing on the side. Avoid creamy Ranch, Caesar etc. as they are high in sodium.

He can order broiled chicken or fish cooked without sodium. I even order sides as asparagus, cauliflower and other vegetables grilled.

I also don't have soup and watch my portions.

Here are a couple of links that should help you.


Eating Out With Confidence NKF - Excellent but you can't copy the link.



This is for dialysis patients so don't be insulted. Google the other site.


Hope this helps!


zoey_s profile image
zoey_s in reply to Bet117

Thank you Bet! This is a great forum; lots of helpful, caring people. I appreciate your response. zoey

Bet117 profile image
Bet117 in reply to zoey_s


No thanks ever needed. I speak for all of us; our pleasure.

Your cooking sounds fantastic! You have grabbed the trick; not a diet but a lifestyle change. Your husband's labs are a testimonial to team work!

Reading all of this brought ideas to mind....

Potatoes and tomatoes are high in potassium; if all good, key is modify.

Avoid red meats and high sodium products like sausage, bacon and cold cuts.

I am allowed beans and hummus- love to dip cukes and peppers in it.

My husband eats it on a bagel or toast.

Add the cauliflower, onion, peppers, cabbage, squash and even some eggplant.

I roast them with olive oil cooking spray on the bottom of the cookie sheet and sprinkle with onion, garlic powders, smoky paprika, a dash of turmeric and often put a small amount of red wine vinegar and olive oil over it. 425 degrees until tender.

My husband loves it!

Enjoy your days away, he will do fine.

Try it when you get home! Keep in touch.

Safe journey!


I guess I will be the contrarian in this subject :). To follow your normal diet that seems to be working for you, when dining out, is certainly sensible, sound advice. And you also received some good ideas on what to order, etc. BUT where I differ, based upon not my knowledge, but what my MANY doctors (oncologist, kidney, heart, urologist, GP) tell me, is to not live your every moment, every minute, every day, consumed by thoughts of CKD. To go out to eat and have something that is NOT your usual at home diet, is NOT going to destroy your kidney, advance your CKD, etc. They even tell me have that piece of protein (beef) once a week if you wish. Have that occasional off limits treat. Now you will be gone for a week. To have the "off limits" mean 2 or 3 times, is NOT going to harm you. Part of living with "ckd" is not just physical but also mental. Life must still be lived, enjoyed. They advise me to simply stay within normal daily recommended requirements as much as possible. In other words no excess salt, protein, etc., etc. BUT it is NOT a day to day thing. It is the long haul. You really think a glass of soda at a restaurant once a week, for example, is going to destroy your egfr? Or a steak twice a month? Or how about that piece of chocolate cake one in a while. YES diet overall is important but it is not a cure, it is a benefit. Ah if it were only simple that if we follow a strict diet, day to day, hour to hour, our "CKD" would go away or we would improve our stage from 3b to 2, or 3a to 1. It is not going to happen. In short, use your common sense and experience, but going "off diet" here or there, once in a while, once a week, is not going to make any significant difference.

As to chocolate. You can pick any food ingredient or item, search the internet, find an article that says it is good for you, or another that says it is bad. First I ever heard about bad chocolate. Myself, the majority of nights for the past 4 years, at night, I treat myself to a small slice of a dark chocolate muffin, (about 1 inch thick by 3.5 inches x 3.5 inches) with a cup of coffee. My egfr four years ago was usually about 38. My most recent test was 53. Here is an article, study about benefits of chocolate with CKD.


Note the primary benefit is that which chocolate provides to cardio vascular system (including vessels in the kidney). Most people who die from kidney disease do NOT die from kidney failure but rather from heart related conditions.

Also chocolate is known to have a great positive effect on treating inflammation. Of course here to, everything in normal, moderate amounts.

As for dialysis of course it is not a pleasant experience for anyone. I mean is any medical procedure? But let's consider the alternative? The average person can extend their life 5 to 10 years on dialysis. There are significant cases where people lived 20 years or more. It is time consuming (about 3 days per week, 4 hours each). There are side effects (fatigue, confusion, inflammation, which are known and medicated if they occur. Generally you are also added to a transplant list. So would it be better to forego it and just surrender, or give it a try, hopefully get those additional years in which time there could be a positive development (transplant, new medical discovery, etc.) or just give up? To me the answer is clear. To others apparently not.

Thank you Rick. We had already been following your advice on occasional dinners out at my sister's home. We just enjoyed ourselves and didn't worry about it.As a retired registered nurse, I have cared for people in complete kidney failure. I will do all that I can to keep my husband from going there.

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