Dialysis-friendly meals away from home


Feeling like a night out? Go for it.

Here are some tips on enjoying your time at a restaurant while keeping close to your individual nutrition plan. 

  • Balance out your meal with extra careful choices for the few meals before and after your restaurant meal. Cut back on serving sizes and especially limit foods with sodium, phosphorus, and potassium.
  • If possible, choose a restaurant that makes freshly cooked food to order. Many restaurants post their menu online for early planning. If you have questions or a special request, call ahead and speak with the staff.
  • Choose from the menu carefully. Consider sharing a main dish with a friend. 
  • Ask the staff to adjust how the food is prepared. Don’t be afraid to ask for ‘the sauce on the side’ or ‘hold the cheese’ or ‘no added salt, please.’
  • Carry your phosphorus binders with you to take with your meal.
  • Get more tips from this NKF publication: Dining Out with Confidence.  

As you look over the menu, keep these tips in mind.

Print this full list and take it with you!

Better choices – Cooked vegetables, unsalted chips or crackers

Limit/avoid – Soup, juice, potato skins, guacamole, cheese

Better choices – Lettuce salad, cucumber, onion, radish, green pepper, macaroni salad


Limit/avoid – Creamy or cheese dressings, avocado, pickles, olives, potato salad

Better choices – Grilled or broiled steaks, chops, roasts, ground meats, turkey, chicken, fish


Limit/avoid – Meats with breading, cheese or tomato sauces; processed meats (hot dogs/sausage/bacon)

Better choices – Any cooked vegetable without sauce


Limit/avoid – Beans, legumes, sauerkraut, avocado, vegetables with sauce

Better choices – Rice, noodles, pasta, macaroni salad


Limit/avoid – Pasta/noodles with tomato sauce, rice with soy sauce, baked potato, potato salad

Better choices – White, wheat, French, sourdough, bun, bagel, unsalted

breadsticks, English muffin, croissant


Limit/avoid – Salted crackers, salted roll, salted breadsticks

Better choices – Canned fruit cups, sorbet or gelatin (count in fluid allowance), angel food or white cake 


Limit/avoid – Anything with chocolate, coconut, nuts or molasses

Better choices – Coffee, brewed tea, non-cola soft drinks (decaf or regular count as fluid allowance)


Limit/avoid – Fruit juices, milk, vegetable juices, cola-based soft drinks, flavored tea

Bring your phosphorus binders when you eat out

Your kidney doctor may order a medicine called a phosphate binder for you to take with meals and snacks. This medicine controls the amount of phosphorus your body absorbs from the foods you eat.


There are many different kinds of phosphate binders – pills, chewable tablets, powders, and liquids. Some binders also contain calcium, while others do not.