For those of us with food restrictive diets, eating at restaurants can be more stressful than cooking at home. This is especially true for those following a low-oxalate diet, as most restaurants aren’t yet very familiar with accommodating oxalate reduction. But there’s no reason you should miss out on restaurant nights with friends and family. We’ve rounded up 10 kidney-friendly, low-oxalate meals that you can find on menus from five different cuisines. Count on these dishes for flavorful meals that won’t interrupt your diet, no matter where you’re dining.
- Chicken Marsala
This Italian classic will warm you up on a night out with friends. It’s cooked with low-oxalate ingredients including chicken and chicken broth, butter, cream, mushrooms, and Marsala wine. Chicken marsala is typically served with the oxalate-packed herb parsley, but when used just as a garnish, it shouldn’t throw off your diet for the day. If you are close to your recommended intake, simply request the meal without the parsley garnish.
Calamari, or cooked squid, is a low-oxalate seafood dish that is great for sharing around the table. It’s commonly served fried, but you can order it grilled for a lighter and friendlier dish for your kidneys. While calamari itself is low in oxalate, restaurants typically serve this dish with tomato sauce; for a lower oxalate alternative, ask for ranch dipping sauce instead.
- Steak and Potatoes
This classic, hearty American dish works well in the low-oxalate diet. Like most meat, steak is low-oxalate and packed with protein. Instead of potatoes, which are loaded with oxalates, ask the waiter if they offer a mashed cauliflower option. If not, ask for a side of some grilled broccoli, squash, and/or zucchini as a kidney-friendly option.
- Grilled Salmon
Try grilled salmon for a less caloric alternative to steak and other red meats. You can order it with a side of white rice for a low-oxalate meal that won’t weigh you down. The lemon it’s typically served with is low-oxalate as well. French
- Strawberry Crepes
Want a delicious, diet-friendly dish you can order out at brunch? Strawberry crepes are light but sweet and low in oxalate. You can also order crepes with other low-oxalate fruit including bananas, blueberries, and pears.
- Coquilles St. Jacques
This classic French dish has been passed down for generations, and for good reason. Coquilles St. Jacques (or scallops) are cooked with delicious, comforting ingredients, which are fortunately also low-oxalate, including butter, cream, white wine, mushrooms, and cheese.
- Chicken or Steak Fajitas
Fajitas are packed with low-oxalate veggies including sweet peppers and onion. You can order fajitas with chicken or steak, both of which are low-oxalate, and enjoy with cheese. Just make sure to skip oxalate-packed toppings including tomato, avocado, or guacamole. But, don’t worry, you can still order that side of sour cream.
- Ropa Vieja
This Cuban specialty is a rich, flavorful stew that is also low in oxalate. Like fajitas, it’s typically cooked with kidney-friendly vegetables including onion and sweet peppers. Ask your waiter to leave out any beans that are included, and order with white rice and sweet plantains instead.
You can count on sushi for a light, low-oxalate meal out, as long as you pay a little attention to what rolls you’re ordering. The simplest sushi roles (rice and fish) are kidney-friendly, low in calories, and a source of healthy fats. Avoid having too many sushi pieces from rolls that include oxalate-packed avocado, tofu and other soy products, asparagus, or tomato.
Pho is a widely popular Vietnamese noodle soup made with kidney-friendly ingredients including rice noodles, meat, onion, and lime, typically with some other garnishes as well. When you order, keep an eye out for parsley or other leafy greens, which are sometimes served over Pho broth, and remove these before eating.
A Note On Drinks
Although water is always recommended, if you’ll be ordering an alcoholic drink with your meal, stick to wine. Wine has been evidenced to generally carry lower oxalate levels than other hard beverages.