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5 Tips for Grilling Kidney-Friendly Meals

In this article originally published in July 2013, we revisit advice from Chef McCargo, a ‘Next Food Network Star’ winner, about healthy foods and grilling.

Photo by Nick Nice on Unsplash

In the United States, almost 400,000 Americans are on dialysis due to kidney failure. This summer, Fresenius Medical Care, the nation’s leading dialysis provider, and Chef Aaron McCargo Jr. have come up with the following five tips for dialysis patients for healthy summer eating.

“Even with the dietary limits placed on them by kidney failure, there’s no reason dialysis patients can’t enjoy the satisfying flavors of healthy, low-fat foods cooked on the grill,” said McCargo. “The following simple tips can help patients and their families prepare tasty yet healthy meals that keep them feeling their best.”

1. Make a grocery list and stick to it. When choosing your grilling menu, pick foods high in protein and low in saturated fat, such as lean meats, poultry and fish.

2. Choose dialysis-friendly fruits and vegetables. When grilling, use low-potassium vegetables such as summer squash, onions and peppers.

3. Add flavor with herbs. Use seasonings instead of salt to flavor meats, side dishes and appetizers. Basil, rosemary, lemon and garlic are great ways to enhance the flavor of food, as is garlic powder or no-salt Italian seasoning.

4. Be careful with cheese. Avoid high-phosphorous cheeses such as American and parmesan. Instead, try substituting one ounce of mozzarella, Swiss, Provolone or brie when grilling.

5. Watch your fluids. Hot weather tends to increase thirst. To avoid drinking excess water or other liquids, try sucking measured amounts of frozen grapes or ice cubes instead. Limiting salt intake can also reduce cravings for liquid.

For more grilling ideas and all of Chef McCargo’s recipes, please visit

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