Apr 9, 2020
Kidney Disease & COVID-19: Takeout Tips

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it new precautions for almost everything we do. When it comes to eating out, many restaurants are continuing to offer takeout options as social distancing practices remain in place.


It’s normal to want to take a break from cooking. Ordering takeout is a great way to support local businesses and satisfy food cravings. But when you’ve been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD), ordering the right takeout to maintain your kidney health can be complicated.


Diet is an important part of managing CKD progression. Eating fresh food and avoiding meals that are high in sodium, potassium or phosphorus is key.


The easiest way to do that when ordering food to-go is to look for less processed foods. Better choices are baked foods without high phosphorus ingredients or salty sauces and toppings. Choose vegetables without butter. Disregard dishes referred to as creamy, cheesy, loaded or smothered.


Do your best to also watch out for condiments. Condiments often contain high amounts of salt and may contribute to fluid retention. Ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, salad dressings, olives and pickles are historically high salt offenders. 


Plan ahead before you put in your takeout order. Cut back on fluids and food that is high in potassium and sodium during the day. That will help balance additional intake of those minerals.


A 2016 Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study found that 92% of popular restaurant menu choices exceed the threshold of calories for a normal meal. Share a meal or eat half of it and save the rest for leftovers. Because restaurant portion sizes are so large, you may be able to turn one order into two or three meals.  


Depending on your stage of CKD, you may be immunocompromised and at greater risk for COVID-19. Another way to protect yourself when ordering takeout is to transfer all food from the packaged containers to your own dishes. Discard the containers and always wash your hands before eating.


Additional Resources


Check out these articles and resources to help you maintain a kidney-friendly diet: