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

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