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Developed by CORU registered kidney (renal) dietitians

What’s sizzling this summer?

As the inclement summer season rolls on, the optimistic among us have our picnic baskets and barbecue tongs on standby. You can enjoy a fun filled summer picnic or barbecue by making wise food decisions. So when the sun does start to shine, be renal diet ready with our top tips and tasty recipes.

  • For the barbecue, choose burgers, chicken, fish, steaks or pork chops. Fresh meats are low in salt compared to processed meats like hot dogs and sausages. At the picnic, choose fresh, unprocessed meats, poultry or fish for your sandwich fillings rather than ham, bacon, and smoked salmon which are high salt choices.
  • Limit high potassium foods. Summer barbecues and picnics often contain large amounts of salads which are high in potassium e.g. tomato or potato salad.
  • Monitor your fluid intake. Use a small glass. Remember to enjoy alcohol in moderation.
  • Offer to make a side or main dish for the barbecue or picnic if you are not hosting it. You will be sure that there will be something tasty that you can eat.

Each recipe will tell you how many protein and vegetable exchanges a serving will provide. None of the recipes contain high quantities of dairy or potatoes and as such will not affect your daily allowance.

Check your diet sheet to see what your allowances are.

All the recipes are kidney friendly and do not include ingredients that are high in potassium, phosphate or salt. If they are low in fat they have been marked low fat. The allowances (exchanges) are in keeping with the Irish Nutrition & Dietetic Institute (INDI) renal diet sheet.

Egg mayonnaise and cress sandwiches


Serves 4


4 medium, hard-boiled, peeled, chopped

3 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tsp ground black pepper

8 slices white bread, lightly buttered

¼ bunch cress



  1. For the egg mayonnaise and cress sandwiches, mix the eggs and mayonnaise together in a bowl. Season, to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Spread the egg mayonnaise onto four slices of the bread. Sprinkle over the cress and close the sandwiches with the remaining slices of bread.
  3. Remove the crusts and cut each sandwich into four small triangles.


Per portion: 1 sandwich (or 4 small triangles).

This dish provides 1 protein exchange.

Lemony Chicken Pittas


Serves 4


12 butterhead lettuce leaves (60g)

8 slices cucumber (48g)

1 tbsp fresh mint

4 tbsp fresh lemon juice (80ml)

400g roast chicken breast

4 small white pitta breads



  1. Shred the lettuce and mix with some chopped cucumber, a pinch chopped fresh mint and the lemon juice.
  2. Chop the roast chicken into pieces and stir into the salad.
  3. Slit open the pitta breads and warm briefly in a toaster.
  4. Stuff pitta breads with the salad and chicken mix.


Per portion: 1 small round filled pitta. This dish provides 1/2 portion of vegetables and 3½ protein exchanges.  This is a low fat dish.


Barbeque lamb kebabs


Serves 4 (8 skewers)


400 g leg of lamb, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 red, 1 green pepper, stem and seeds removed and cut into 2.5 cm cubes

2 red onions peeled, quartered and divided again (16 pieces in total)

For the marinade

2 tbsp olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

1 garlic clove, crushed

You will also need 8 skewers. If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to use. This helps to stop them from burning. If you are using metal skewers, take care as they will get very hot!


Mix the ingredients for the marinade together in a bowl. Add the lamb, cover and leave to marinade in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Thread alternate pieces of lamb, pepper and onion onto your skewers to make approximately 8 kebabs

Cook on a hot bbq for 10-15 minutes, depending on how you like your lamb, turning regularly.

Serve with pitta bread.

If preferred or if the weather isn’t befitting a bbq, you can cook the kebabs on a grill or griddle pan.

Per portion: 2 kebabs provides 3 protein exchanges and 1 vegetable exchange



Serves 4


  • 450 g minced beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 egg , beaten
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To serve (to make 4 portions)

  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 tomato sliced
  • 4 leaves ice berg lettuce


Mix the ingredients for the burger together in a bowl.

Divide the mixture into 4 large or 8 small patties

Cook the burgers for approximately 15 minutes or until well cooked through

Serve with side salad as above and a burger bun or ciabatta roll as desired

Per portion: 1 beef burger with side salad provides 31/2 protein exchanges and 1 vegetable exchanges

Rice and pineapple salad


Serves 4


  • 120 g long grain rice
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 3 rings of tinned pineapple
  • 5 tablespoons French dressing



Boil the rice until cooked, drain and allow to cool.

Once cooled, tip the rice into a bowl.

Add the pepper, pineapple, and pepper

Stir in the dressing and serve

Per portion: salad provides 1 vegetable exchanges


Joanne Walsh, Senior Clinical Nutritionist, St. James’s Hospital, Dublin.

Gillian Quinlan, Senior Dietitian, Mid Western Regional Hospital, Limerick