Top 3 Ways to Spice Up Your Diet While On Dialysis

Apr 2, 2018

olive oil being poured onto salad

Living with kidney disease usually means changes to what you can eat and drink. A kidney (renal) dietitian will recommend a renal diet designed control waste in the blood.

Renal diets focus on ensuring you get the right amount of sodium, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium as well as limiting excess fluids. Dietary guidelines go down much easier with some healthy ways to add extra flavor and spice. Here are some top culinary tips to help each meal be delicious.

Herbs, Seed Spices, and Alliums

  • Sauté shallots, onion, or garlic in some oil before adding your meat or veggies.
  • Grate some ginger or turmeric root onto fish before it bakes in the oven.
  • Add fresh lime or lemon juice to seafood or chicken for a tangy flavor.
  • Stir a bay leaf and/or some chopped parsley, thyme, and rosemary into stews and soups.
  • Sprinkle baked veggies with ground seed spices like coriander, cumin, and anise.

Marinate Meats

Soaking meat in juices and spices a few hours before cooking boosts the flavors on your dinner plate.

  • Mix up a marinade for chicken, salmon, beef, or even shrimp. Remember, leave out salt, soy sauce and other ingredients that might have a high sodium content.
  • Put meat in a sealed container or freezer bag.
  • Add a marinade, making sure to cover meat completely.
  • Seal the container and refrigerate for an hour or more. The longer the meat absorbs the juices, the stronger the flavor.

Here are two easy-to-make marinades to try:

Lemon Garlic Marinade

  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

Balsamic Marinade

  • 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tbsp. spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley

Salt-Free Shaker Blends

Watching sodium intake is essential l for people living with CKD (and a great idea for anyone!). Instead of reaching for the salt shaker, mix up one of these blends and store in a jar or small container.

House Blend

  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp dill
  • ¼ tsp turmeric


  • 2 tbsp. parsley
  • 1 tbsp. dill
  • ½ tbsp. chives
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp ground pepper

There are many herbs and spices that make food flavorful even when salt isn't an option. Marinades and blends can improve your experience on a renal diet. Experiment with a wide variety and choose your favorites. Consult your dietitian if you have any questions. Enjoy your flavorful food!

Categories: Recipes, Kidneys