Tips for eating out

Living well with chronic kidney disease (CKD) does not mean you cannot enjoy a dinner out with friends and family. You might have some dietary restrictions. The following tips may help.

Group of friends eating out at a restaurantPlan ahead

Check out the menu: Go online and see what is on the menu and plan for your other meals to be at home in order to balance out the restaurant meal as best you can. For example cut back at home on foods that are higher in the nutrients you need to limit.

Take medications with you: If you are on phosphate binders do not forget to take them with you, so that you can have them with your meal. Keep medications with you, in your purse, pocket, or glove box of your car.

Picking a restaurant: If possible choose a restaurant where items are made in house, that way you can ask for special requests if need be. Consider calling a day ahead and letting the restaurant know of you dietary needs and see what they can do for you.


Chef making a healty salad

At the restaurant

Portion size: Most restaurant portions are large, consider sharing with a friend or family member or split the meal when it arrives at your table to take some home with you.

Food preparation: Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how your food is prepared or what it contains.

Food choices: Grilled options are a good choice as you can generally make requests to how they are prepared such as no sauce or no added salt. If you are getting poultry or fried food, remove the skin or outer crust as generally that is where the sodium is.\ If you have potassium or phosphorus restrictions pay attention to what the side dishes are to ensure that they fit with your dietary needs. If required request a substitute.

Person passing salad bowl to a friend at a restaurant

Special requests that can help you make better choices while eating out include:

  • Asking for sauces and dressings on the side
  • Find dressings that are oil and vinegar based or ask for lime or lemon to be squeezed on your salad
  • Request no MSG
  • Don’t add cheese or condiments to your dishes


Four people standing