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Eating Out
Everyone enjoys a meal out or a take-away, be it for a special or romantic occasion or just because you don'­t want to get the pots and pans out one night. But if youĂ­re on a renal diet can you still enjoy a meal out? The answer is, of course, yes but a little planning and being a little careful with what you choose can make all the difference and help you have an enjoyable and healthy time.
Here's your guide to eating out on a renal diet:
  • If you are limiting your fluids intake, take less during the day if you wish to drink more with your meal
  • Spicy and salty foods are likely to make you thirsty and encourage you to drink more. Many Chinese dishes, in particular, contain monosodium glutamate which may make you very thirsty so cut down on fluid before your meal.
  • Cut down on high potassium foods earlier in the day to allow yourself more choice at the restaurant or take-away
  • Try to balance the potassium content of your meal. For example, if having chips, which are high in potassium, avoid having mushrooms or tomatoes with them. If having a tomato rich meal, such as bolognaise, choose pasta or rice with it, rather than potatoes.
  • Mostly try to choose the lower potassium rice, pasta, garlic bread, naan bread rather than chips and jacket potatoes.
  • It is safer to indulge in phosphate rich foods rather than those high in potassium so some pate for starter or some cheese and biscuits at the end of a meal might be better treat than a chocolate and nut gateaux!
  • Remember- you will still need to take your phosphate binders with your meal so make sure you take them with you!

    Here are a few food ideas to help you decide what to choose when eating out:
    Pub Grub
  • Most grilled, roast or fried meat, poultry and fish will be suitable as will roast dinners with boiled or mashed potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and veg with mint or apple sauce. If you need to be careful with your potassium and are choosing roast potatoes, keep it to a small portion as they may not have been pre-boiled.
  • Avoid soup as a starter as this can be high in both salt and potassium and will need to be included as part of your fluid allowance.
  • Prawn cocktail, melon and pate make suitable starters.
    Indian Meals
  • Try to avoid very spicy dishes, as these are likely to make you thirsty. Biryani are drier curries and may be useful in avoiding excess fluid.
  • Choose balti, rogan josh, bhuna with rice, naan bread or chapattis and try to choose plain breads rather than Peshwari or Keema which are higher in potassium and salt.
  • Avoid Korma as this is often made with coconut milk, which is high in potassium.
    Chinese
  • Meat and poultry dishes such as sweet and sour, in lemon sauce and chow mein would be suitable. Eat with rice or noodles.
    Italian
  • Pasta is low in potassium and phosphate and a great choice. Enjoy with carbonara, bolognaise or other sauces. Try to avoid those with both tomatoes and mushrooms.
  • Pizza is suitable but again try to avoid mushrooms as a topping. Choose meat, poultry, onion, sweetcorn, pineapple for example instead.
  • Garlic bread makes a great accompaniment.
    Desserts
  • Ice-cream, gateaux, meringue, cheesecake, apple pie or crumble are all suitable but try to avoid desserts containing chocolate, coffee, dried fruit or nuts if you are watching your potassium intake.
    Drinks
    You may wish to have a tipple with your meal. Spirits tend to be lower in potassium than wine and beer and you could try them with mixers such as lemonade, soda water, ginger beer or lime cordial. Avoid fruit juices due to their high potassium Content.
    If choosing beer, limit your intake to half a pint to avoid excess fluid and potassium and if you prefer a glass of wine with your meal white wine tends to be a little lower in potassium than red wine. But remember, all drinks need to be counted as part of you fluid allowance if you have one.