Blog post

Celebrate Labor Day with kidney-friendly tips and recipes

Dietitian Lauren Elkins of Marina Del Rey Hospital offers some important reminders — and a few delicious recipes — that can help keep your celebrations kidney-healthy.
picture of couple at an outside grill

It is hard to believe that summer is winding down, with Labor Day quickly approaching. Many people mark this holiday as a last opportunity to enjoy the nice weather during a long weekend. Celebrations typically include firing up the grill to barbeque, packing a picnic for the park or taking one last family vacation. As you prepare for the upcoming holiday, enjoy these kidney-friendly tips and recipes to ensure healthy and cheerful festivities.

Tips to Remember

When people hear "BBQ," they often think of only meat. However, low-potassium fruits and vegetables can be a tasty treat on the grill. Just a few minutes on the heat really enhances their flavors (see fruit and vegetable grilling recipes below).

If you are on dialysis and need to limit your fluids, stay as cool as possible to decrease your thirst. Try to avoid spicy or salty foods that increase thirst. Some people find that sucking on a piece of hard candy helps with thirst. Also, be aware of hidden fluids in foods like watermelon.

Cheese is often a popular party appetizer or snack, but remember to monitor your cheese intake to avoid excess sodium or phosphorus. If you are on dialysis, be sure to follow your dietitian's guidance.

Try to consume some foods that are high in antioxidants, such as berries, cherries, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, onions and red peppers. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants can reduce chronic inflammation associated with kidney disease, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Kidney-Friendly Grilling Recipes

Chicken and Vegetable Kebabs

Recipe yields approximately 4 large kebobs. Be sure to follow the food and fluid plan you discussed with your doctor and dietitian for guidance on your specific serving size.


  • 1 Tbsp peach jam
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Mrs. Dash® herb seasoning blend
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts 
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 medium purple onion


  1. Place jam in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 10-15 seconds to melt. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, Mrs. Dash® and salt with jam.  
  2. Cut chicken into approximately one-inch cubes. Place cut up pieces in a large, zippered plastic bag and pour 3 tablespoons marinade on top. Refrigerate bag to marinate (at least 1 hour).
  3. Cut vegetables into bite-sized pieces to be placed on kebob. Keep vegetable sizes consistent to ensure even cooking. Place cut-up vegetables in a bowl and add remaining marinade. Stir to coat.
  4. Heat grill to medium heat. While the grill is heating, thread vegetables and chicken pieces onto skewers.  
  5. Place skewers in covered grill for approximately 12-15 minutes, turning every 3-4 minutes to ensure even cooking.

Grilled Fruit (of your choice!)


  • Choose a low-potassium fruit of your choice such as pineapple, peaches or plums. Be sure to follow the food and fluid plan you discussed with your doctor and dietitian for guidance on your specific serving size.
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Cooking spray


  1. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  2. Wash fruit. Cut fruit into slices according to type. Pineapple: 3/4-inch slices. Peach and plums: cut in half with pits removed.
  3. Apply a light coat of oil on outer layer of fruit.  
  4. Place on clean grill. Cover and cook until visible grill marks are present and fruit is tender (about 5 minutes).

For more kidney-friendly recipes, visit the American Kidney Fund's Kidney Kitchen®.