Open Arms of Minnesota

OAM Renal Menu and Crispy Lemon Chicken Recipe

Out of all our medically tailored menus at OAM, the renal menu is the one we get the most questions about – and for a good reason! Renal is the medical term for kidney, thus our renal diet is planned for individuals with kidney disease. Specifically, our renal menu is planned for clients with end stage renal disease (ESRD), otherwise known as kidney failure. It’s low in potassium, phosphorus, and sodium to meet the needs of our clients with this illness. Many of the recipes on our renal menu are from Davita Dialysis, a kidney care organization that we have a close partnership with. Right now, about 5% of the clients we serve have ESRD.

The reason why individuals with kidney disease have special dietary needs is complex. Our kidneys have many important functions. They help our bodies filter waste and extra fluid, and balance chemicals they need to function optimally. When our kidneys aren’t working, fluid and nutrients, such as potassium, phosphorus, and sodium build up in the body, which can cause many negative health effects. For example, too much phosphorus in the blood can weaken bones by leeching calcium from them. Additionally, too much sodium and potassium in the blood can cause heart problems.

Individuals with ESRD typically undergo a procedure called dialysis, in which a machine and a special filter are used to “clean” the blood and help keep body fluid and chemicals in balance. Those with ESRD must undergo dialysis or a kidney transplant in order to survive.

There are several different stages of kidney disease. Medical and nutritional needs are different in each stage and vary person by person. Those in each stage of kidney disease are typically recommended to meet with a registered dietitian who can provide them with individualized nutrition education and support, based on their lab values, health history, weight, and more.

Written By Brianna Tobritzhofer, MS, RD, LD – OAM Senior Manager of Nutrition & Client Services

Photo Credit

The crispy lemon chicken recipe below is a recipe brought to our renal menu with inspiration from Davita Dialysis.


Adapted from Davita Dialysis by OAM Food Services Director, Blake Wangelin

Makes ~6 Servings


For the chicken:

  • Chicken thigh, boneless – 1 ½ lb
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Egg, raw – 2 each
  • Flour – 1 cup
  • Canola oil – 1 tsp
  • Lemon juice – 2 tbsp
  • Parsley – ¼ cup

For the couscous

  • Butter – 1 tsp
  • Peas – 1 cup
  • Onion, yellow, diced – ½ cup
  • Mushroom, sliced – ½ cup
  • Garlic, fresh, minced – 1 tsp
  • Basil, dried – ½ tsp
  • Black pepper – ½ tsp
  • Parsley – ¼ cup
  • Pasta, couscous, dry – 1 ½ cup
  • Water for boiling

On the Side: ½ – 1 cup cooked green beans.


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and get a pot of water boiled.
  • Prepare the breading by mixing the salt and the flour.
  • Whisk the eggs in a bowl until well-mixed.
  • Slice the chicken into strips and coat in flour.
  • Dredge them through the egg mixture and coat them in the flour once more.
  • Place chicken strips on a baking sheet far enough apart that they aren’t touching eachother.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. As soon as they come out, drizzle the lime juice on the top and sprinkle with parsley.
  • While the chicken is baking, boil the couscous until cooked through, and strain (do not rinse).
  • In a pan, cook the onion, mushrooms, and peas with the margarine until the onions are translucent. Then add garlic (this is so the garlic doesn’t burn before everything else is cooked).
  • Add the basil, black pepper, and parsley to season.
  • Mix the cooked vegetables with the couscous.
  • Blanch green beans in boiling water for 3 minutes, strain and serve right away with a little oil and a pinch of salt.

Nutrition Information:

For 1 Serving: 315 calories ; 10g fat (2g saturated fat); 330 mg sodium; 34 g carbohydrate; 6g fiber; 24 g protein; 587 mg potassium; 277 mg phosphorus

More from Open Arms

Bake Sale Graphic

Great Minnesota Bake Sale 2024

OPEN ARMS LAUNCHES INAUGURAL “GREAT MINNESOTA BAKE SALE” FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Ethan Armstrong [email protected] Cell: 320-815-2351 Minneapolis, MN, [7 June 2024] – Open Arms of Minnesota is thrilled to announce the launch of the first-ever Great Minnesota Bake Sale, set to take place

Read More »
Prida cap

Pride 2024

HAPPY PRIDE FROM OPEN ARMS! June is here, ushering in Pride Month—a time of great significance for Open Arms and our entire community. Our journey began nearly 40 years ago during the HIV/AIDS crisis, and with the support of a passionate and committed community,

Read More »

Thank You Graduating Cristo Rey Student Interns

Cristo Rey Students Wrap Up Internship With Open Arms Congrats to Cristo Rey student interns, Betsabe and Kai, who will graduate from high school this spring! Cristo Rey, a Catholic coeducational high school located in the Phillips neighborhood, developed an internship program with Open

Read More »
End Of Year Giving Graphic

Your Gift Will Help Us Serve More Clients!

Together we can continue to meet the increased demand for medically tailored meals with your support! We hope you think of us as you consider your year-end giving. Your donation is a gift of care, compassion, and encouragement!