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Aug 17, 2009 11:30 AM

very restrictive meal ideas needed

My dad has been having kidney problems and the doctor has put him on a low potassium/sodium/protein diet and I'm having a hard time figuring out what to cook him 3 meals a day every day of the week while at the same time maintaining his calorie count.

We've been doing a lot of rice and low gluten pastas.... Some vegetables like zucchini, squash, eggplant, cauliflower which are low in potassium... at dinner he can have 4 oz of a lean protein so I've been grilling pounded thin chicken breasts to make it look like more.

I've been using lemon juice and olive oil and lots of herbs and curry to offset the need for sodium but I am running out of ideas! He also has to watch his fluid intakes which takes soups out of the equation.

any help would be greatly appreciated

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  1. IMO, olive oil + unsalted butter+ white wine+lemon juice+ a small amt of balsamic vinegar was my favorite "sauce" for veggies/pasta while I was on my dr recommended sodium cutback. I think the fats added a mouthfeel to the acids and mellowed them out quite a bit when mixed together and heated up.

    1. IMO you need professional help/advice...Contact your dad's Physician, and have him recommend a registered dietitian or nutritionist to help you with meal plans. Also the National Kidney Foundation should be an excellent resource for materials. HTH

      Best Wishes.......

      1. Looks like cooked cabbage is on the low potassium list. Use rice and chopped vegetables that he can have to make stuffed cabbage rolls. Cook in unsalted chicken broth and use the leftover broth for something other family members can eat. Same idea, but with stuffed peppers or zucchini.

        Stretch the 4 oz of chicken by making chicken meatballs and mix with shredded zucchini.
        I've used a small portion scoop to make the meatballs, then did the math to figure out how many meatballs equals 4 oz. It has often come out to 5 or 6 meatballs which looks like a lot.

        Can he have flour? If so, you can make the no-knead bread without salt and use that for slicing and bread crumbs (like for the meatballs above).

        I was late to the party with smoked paprika. It's my new best friend. I swear it tastes like bacon. Use it lavishly on vegetables or anything that you might use ham or bacon with.
        Can he have legumes? I love smoked paprika with lentils. Any type of beans? Make garlic bean spread for cucumber rounds or lettuce leaves. If you cook your own beans from dried, you can prepare them without any salt.

        Make "dry" soup. Like minestrone without the stock. Saute carrots, onions, celery if allowed, zucchini in olive oil, add just enough water to steam them. A few canellini or black beans, cooked small pasta. Serve like hash.

        Whatever fruits he is allowed should help with the calories. Low protein is a tough one.
        Can he have any dairy or eggs as an exchange for the protein allotment? If so, you could make your own low fat yoghurt cheese. That might help with some of the curry dishes.

        Good daughter. Lucky dad that he has a personal chef.

        2 Replies
        1. re: nemo

          thanks for the suggestions. Beans are out though as they are high in protein. Dried beans that is. Green beans are ok. He needs to be below 35g protein per day. The dietitian was not very helpful with the meal planning aspect or with recipes.

          1. re: bw2082

            bw2082: I was meaning to suggest beans instead of any meat on a particular day. It seems to me 1 cup of cooked beans, lentils, or chickpeas can run from 15 to 17 grams of protein, and a cup of legumes can be very filling. 1-1/2 cups would keep him well below his 35g max.

            I figured you had already met with a professional. Best of luck. You'll figure it out.

        2. Since the dietitian was little to no help, consider calling a reference librarian if you have a well staffed library system. They should be able to pull up books or periodicals on living with kidney disease, perhaps even specific to daily menus from which you can pull ideas. Good luck!

          1. I sympathize. My brother spent several months on dialysis, and the diet was horribly restrictive. I ordered a cookbook online--"Cooking for David"--which he found extremely helpful. If you go to this website of the National Kidney Foundation, you'll find it and a number of other selections. (I've heard from others that The Renal Patient's Guide to Good Eating is excellent; maybe you can find a used one on-line.)