A renal diet can be challenging enough without having to give up your familiar and favorite recipes. Many recipes may not seem to fit your diet recommendations, but by making some adjustments and substituting ingredients, you can come up with a kidney friendly version of your favorite dish.

One of the easiest and most important changes involves decreasing sodium in your recipes. Salt can be reduced without the loss of flavor. Add or increase other seasonings, like herbs and spices. As a general rule use greater amounts of fresh herbs, lesser amounts of dried herbs. For example, ½ tsp dried basil would be equal to 1TB fresh basil in a recipe.

Also eliminate or reduce soy sauce, MSG, garlic salt, onion salt and seasoning salt. Onion or garlic powders are good substitutes, as are fresh onion and garlic. Other low sodium seasonings include flavored vinegars, wine and hot pepper sauce.

Common high potassium ingredients include oranges, orange juice, dried prunes, dates and raisins. Try tangerines, lemon or lime juice and dried cranberries instead. Fresh vegetables can be leached, (soaked), before adding to a recipe to reduce their potassium content. Dairy products contain high levels of phosphorus. Non-dairy creamer, soy milk or rice milk can often be used to replace dairy milk in a recipe.

Ice or bananas are commonly used to thicken smoothie recipes, but ice increases the fluid content and bananas are high in potassium. If you freeze other low potassium fruit, such as berries, you can create a thick smoothie without adding either ice or bananas.

Love to bake? Try recipes that use yeast instead of baking powder or baking soda, which are higher in sodium and phosphorus. Use oil or unsalted butter or margarine instead of regular butter or margarine to decrease sodium even more.

Experiment to see what works and what doesn’t. Most of all, don’t give up what you love. Work with your dietitian and find a way to modify your favorites to make them renal friendly.

Judy Boccanfuso RD, CSR

Satellite Healthcare Windsor