What do you order when eating at a restaurant?

Posted by hello1234 @hello1234, Jul 15, 2021

Hi all, I am a one year post kidney transplant patient With food safety in mind, what food items do you order when you order from a restaurant? Also, what are some of your favorite EASY meals to make at home? Before my transplant I worked full time and was never too comfortable in the kitchen. I am looking for some easy to make lunch and dinner ideas (no deli meats) to make at home and safe food item ideas to order when I order at a restaurant? Thanks everyone!! 🙂

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@hello1234

I am so happy to hear that your Cellcept dosage was reduced for a great reason (liver doing well!!) and not an infection. My CMV is considered resolved so far, thank goodness. I was super worried about having CMV, but the Valcyte treatment did the job. They are continuing to monitor the CMV and keep the Cellcept reduced. My kidney function is stable so far and doing well so I am hopeful that maybe this is my new maintenance dosage!

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Oh, Valcyte…I took that along with Bactrim for 3 months post transplant. I’m glad the CMV has gone away. I have an ongoing thing with oral thrush due to Sjogren’s, and probably our meds. Did you have to do Nystatin in the hospital after your transplant? The dreadful “swish and swallow.” That’s to keep oral thrush away. But, not working on me anymore. So, have to get something different.

The link Rosemary shared on Vacation Tips has some good ideas on restaurant eating for transplant people. I also wanted to recommend an air fryer. It’s quick, super easy to clean, and healthy as it limits the amount of oil you need.

Good luck in keeping your kidney functions up and Mycophenolate dosage down!

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@athenalee

Oh, Valcyte…I took that along with Bactrim for 3 months post transplant. I’m glad the CMV has gone away. I have an ongoing thing with oral thrush due to Sjogren’s, and probably our meds. Did you have to do Nystatin in the hospital after your transplant? The dreadful “swish and swallow.” That’s to keep oral thrush away. But, not working on me anymore. So, have to get something different.

The link Rosemary shared on Vacation Tips has some good ideas on restaurant eating for transplant people. I also wanted to recommend an air fryer. It’s quick, super easy to clean, and healthy as it limits the amount of oil you need.

Good luck in keeping your kidney functions up and Mycophenolate dosage down!

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I took Valcyte for the first six months after transplant because my donor was CMV positive and I was CMV negative. I stopped Valcyte in January and came down with invasive CMV in May. I am so thankful that 900mg bid Valcyte resolved the infection in 6 weeks. Regarding your thrush, maybe your newly reduced Cellcept will help? Are they thinking of giving you oral Diflucan or something else? I really like your suggestion about getting an air fryer! Do you have any favorite things (easy) to make in the air fryer? I am going to go on-line now and buy one!

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@rosemarya

@hello1234,
I have located some information about foods and food safety for transplant recipients.
Did you have a limited diet before transplant?

Transplant Food Safety
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/blog/transplant/newsfeed-post/food-transplant/
Vacation Tips and Tricks for Transplant Patients
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/blog/transplant/newsfeed-post/vacation-tips-and-tricks-for-transplant-patients/
From the National Kidney Foundation
https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/foodsafety
Food Safety Brochure from FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration)
-People with Organ Transplants
-Being Smart When Eating Out
https://www.fda.gov/media/83744/download

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Thank you so much Rosemary! These detailed reference materials are awesome! I really appreciate these attachments including vacation ideas and tips.

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@hello1234

I took Valcyte for the first six months after transplant because my donor was CMV positive and I was CMV negative. I stopped Valcyte in January and came down with invasive CMV in May. I am so thankful that 900mg bid Valcyte resolved the infection in 6 weeks. Regarding your thrush, maybe your newly reduced Cellcept will help? Are they thinking of giving you oral Diflucan or something else? I really like your suggestion about getting an air fryer! Do you have any favorite things (easy) to make in the air fryer? I am going to go on-line now and buy one!

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I’m hoping reducing Mycophenolate will help. Certainly can’t hurt!

The air fryer comes with a recipe book. You can do pretty much cook anything in it. You can modify recipes to suit your health needs and taste as well. I’m particularly found of air fried fish, mostly salmon. Also, sweet potato fries…very little oil needed. If you like tofu, it makes great crispy tofu. Here’s a good website to get you started –
https://www.liveeatlearn.com/vegetarian-air-fryer-recipes/

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I travel a lot!. When I had my first renal transplant my doc said – if the place looks dicey, eat fried food because the fryer will kill nasty bacteria. In a pinch that’s what I did for years until I developed gluten intolerance. First transplant 1987, second 2000. I eat what I want – I don’t eat anything unless I really want that food – so I’ve stayed slim. I eat ton’s of veggies and fruit, brown rice etc. and mostly organic – especially when I eat chicken etc. Good luck!

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@lizzy102

I travel a lot!. When I had my first renal transplant my doc said – if the place looks dicey, eat fried food because the fryer will kill nasty bacteria. In a pinch that’s what I did for years until I developed gluten intolerance. First transplant 1987, second 2000. I eat what I want – I don’t eat anything unless I really want that food – so I’ve stayed slim. I eat ton’s of veggies and fruit, brown rice etc. and mostly organic – especially when I eat chicken etc. Good luck!

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@lizzy102, Those dicey restaurants can be found everywhere, local and when traveling. Your doctor presented an unusual piece of advice! I'm glad that worked for you, but after my transplant, I lost any desire for the taste fried food.
I have found that many restaurants, especially independent ones, will prepare foods with special diet in mind. My husband and I go during the uncrowded hours.
When going to an unfamiliar or new restaurant, I check the menu online or at the door before entering. Me and my husband have also walked out of restaurants when we do not think are practicing food safety of cleanliness.

What kinds of veggies and fruits can you get locally? Do you have a special chicken recipe that you would like to share?

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@rosemarya

@lizzy102, Those dicey restaurants can be found everywhere, local and when traveling. Your doctor presented an unusual piece of advice! I'm glad that worked for you, but after my transplant, I lost any desire for the taste fried food.
I have found that many restaurants, especially independent ones, will prepare foods with special diet in mind. My husband and I go during the uncrowded hours.
When going to an unfamiliar or new restaurant, I check the menu online or at the door before entering. Me and my husband have also walked out of restaurants when we do not think are practicing food safety of cleanliness.

What kinds of veggies and fruits can you get locally? Do you have a special chicken recipe that you would like to share?

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I can’t eat things fried in lard or if they’re not drained well – I’ve been known to ask for clean napkins and to wick off oil even from pizza! I take for granted that folks check restaurants ahead, call to let them know one’s needs re: food safety and as I wear a cochlear implant need to sit in a quiet area.
I just put my rub on a chicken I’ll rotisserie on the grill this evening. We’ll have it with Quinoa, kale and a beautiful little Buffalo burrata (tomatoes, buffalo burrata- small balls, with salt, olive oil and a healthy drizzle of a nice thick aged balsamic. I’ll grill some peaches after the chicken comes off.
Try this favorite recipe from Christopher Kimball’s “Cookish” p. 208. Almond, Caper and Herb-Crusted Chicken cutlets. It’s quick:
1/4 c. Sliced almonds
1/2 c. Pinko breadcrumbs (I use GF ones)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 4 oz, chicken cutlets (about 1/4” thick)
1/4 c. Lightly packed fresh tarragon or fresh dill, chopped
6 t. Neutral oil
Lemon wedges or Dijon or sour cream to serve
Combine almonds, panko, 1 t. Salt, 1/2 t. Pepper, Season dry cutlets with sprinkles of salt and pepper, tarragon/dill and capers pressing firmly. Coat both sides of each cutlet with almond mixture, pressing firmly. In a heated 12” skillet with 3 T. Oil until oil shimmers, add 2 cutlets and cook until golden brown, be patient don’t mess flip them for 2.5 min! Transfer to paper towel lined plate (cover with another plate to keep warm). Wipe out skillet add 3 T. Oil, heat to shimmering, add last two cutlets and repeat. Cutlets are finished to tender goodness when an instant read thermometer inserted gently into the center of the meat reads 165*. Serve with lemon wedges or other choice.
I serve this with brown rice and green beans or Swiss chard. You use what you love.

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After my husband's liver transplant in 2020, our best friend has become our instant pot. I can cook pork chops, chicken, etc. in the instant pot very quickly upon getting home from work, and when topped with a favorite seasoning (no sodium such as Mrs. Dash or grill mates) it makes a good protein basis to build our meals. Since the initial " I'm feeling better, I'm eating more " gain, we have both lost weight (20lbs). We add a vegetable or salad and usually a small baked potato to round out our meal. I also make homemade Chinese and use reduced-sodium soy sauce and other ingredients. (Pinterest is a great source of inspiration). I have decided not to stress too much about sodium, but to cut it whenever possible. I don't use things like canned/jar spaghetti sauce –I make my own now.
When we go out, he is careful not to order anything that hasn't been thoroughly cooked, so stays with more home-cooked type meals, thin-crust pizza, or asks for no lettuce, etc. on a taco. We rarely eat out. It has lost its appeal.

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Hi all,
It's wonderful to be at the stage of my kidney transplant journey when one of my biggest concerns is BLUEBERRY PANCAKES (at a restaurant)!! I always loved blueberry pancakes, but I am concerned that in a restaurant environment the kitchen probably will not clean them well, if at all.
I was thinking the cooking process of the pancakes would probably kill all of the germs, but I would still be ingesting dirty blueberries.
Do you eat things like blueberry pancakes, strawberry shortcake, baked apples, etc when you are eating in at a restaurant? Are you concerned about their food safety or am I overdoing my concern level?
Also, when you order take out, do you microwave the food when you get it home to be extra safe that all germs are gone or just eat the food if it's already hot?
Thanks everyone!

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@hello1234

Hi all,
It's wonderful to be at the stage of my kidney transplant journey when one of my biggest concerns is BLUEBERRY PANCAKES (at a restaurant)!! I always loved blueberry pancakes, but I am concerned that in a restaurant environment the kitchen probably will not clean them well, if at all.
I was thinking the cooking process of the pancakes would probably kill all of the germs, but I would still be ingesting dirty blueberries.
Do you eat things like blueberry pancakes, strawberry shortcake, baked apples, etc when you are eating in at a restaurant? Are you concerned about their food safety or am I overdoing my concern level?
Also, when you order take out, do you microwave the food when you get it home to be extra safe that all germs are gone or just eat the food if it's already hot?
Thanks everyone!

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Hey Hello1234, you'll notice that I moved your questions about blueberry pancakes and food safety when eating out to this related discussion that you started a few months back. Betchya forgot about it, right? 😉

Great questions that I'm sure members like @rosemarya @athenalee @estrada53 @btwest6 @lizzy102 and others have thoughts on.

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@hello1234

Hi all,
It's wonderful to be at the stage of my kidney transplant journey when one of my biggest concerns is BLUEBERRY PANCAKES (at a restaurant)!! I always loved blueberry pancakes, but I am concerned that in a restaurant environment the kitchen probably will not clean them well, if at all.
I was thinking the cooking process of the pancakes would probably kill all of the germs, but I would still be ingesting dirty blueberries.
Do you eat things like blueberry pancakes, strawberry shortcake, baked apples, etc when you are eating in at a restaurant? Are you concerned about their food safety or am I overdoing my concern level?
Also, when you order take out, do you microwave the food when you get it home to be extra safe that all germs are gone or just eat the food if it's already hot?
Thanks everyone!

Jump to this post

I’m 20+ years out on my second kidney transplant so my experience may be different (33 years total with transplant). When I was transplanted, the SOP I learned was pretty short and sweet. Take your meds like you life depends on it, it does. Exercise. Wash your hands constantly. Use hand sanitizer immediately after touching surfaces exposed to public touching. Wash food you’re going to eat (when in developing countries don’t eat leafy stuff). Eat. Eat lots and a good variety – watch weight gain from eating too much sugar or fat. When in doubt eating out, eat the deep fried stuff (cooked hot enough to kill bacteria).
The upshot is that I’ve eaten just about everything I was inclined to eat. I don’t worry about restaurant food, I usually let my server know that I’m chemically immunocompromised and ask for them to wash hands or use a napkin to carry my plate (hands that handle money? Ick!). I’ve gotten sick twice from restaurant food in 30+ years – I remember them because of the oh so unpleasant time I spent worshiping at the throne.
Do I think that the food service industry has become more careless or less clean in 30 years? I do not. I know the industry is better than it was 30 years ago about food service (do your research). Caveat, chain restaurants. I don’t eat at national chain restaurants for many reasons, top reason? There is no incentive for staff that turns over rapidly to maintain sanitary standards. Watch the servers in any restaurant – hair or face touching? Not sanitizing after handling money? Are the high chairs/booster seats clean? Look at the bathroom, is it clean, are soap and towel dispensers full? If not, leave. Oh! One more thing. I avoid at all costs buffet style restaurants and salad bars, once the food lands in the trays at the buffet, it will fall victim to an assault of completely unconscious people finger licking – grab the spoon – cough – sneeze and kids who reach and grab food.
I choose to eat at local chains sometimes and at lovely restaurants (that may cost a bit more). After all, I don’t eat out often (love to cook) and don’t mind spending more to get more quality control.
My advice? I don’t have any. The above is my experience and thinking from my point of view. I am so grateful to have the freedom my beautiful kidney gives me, so grateful to wake up each morning. I really don’t sweat the small stuff, stress is much more harmful to my kidney and my health than about anything else.
1234? Please reply, I’d love to learn how things have changed over the years.
Best of good health and joy to you!

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@lizzy102

I’m 20+ years out on my second kidney transplant so my experience may be different (33 years total with transplant). When I was transplanted, the SOP I learned was pretty short and sweet. Take your meds like you life depends on it, it does. Exercise. Wash your hands constantly. Use hand sanitizer immediately after touching surfaces exposed to public touching. Wash food you’re going to eat (when in developing countries don’t eat leafy stuff). Eat. Eat lots and a good variety – watch weight gain from eating too much sugar or fat. When in doubt eating out, eat the deep fried stuff (cooked hot enough to kill bacteria).
The upshot is that I’ve eaten just about everything I was inclined to eat. I don’t worry about restaurant food, I usually let my server know that I’m chemically immunocompromised and ask for them to wash hands or use a napkin to carry my plate (hands that handle money? Ick!). I’ve gotten sick twice from restaurant food in 30+ years – I remember them because of the oh so unpleasant time I spent worshiping at the throne.
Do I think that the food service industry has become more careless or less clean in 30 years? I do not. I know the industry is better than it was 30 years ago about food service (do your research). Caveat, chain restaurants. I don’t eat at national chain restaurants for many reasons, top reason? There is no incentive for staff that turns over rapidly to maintain sanitary standards. Watch the servers in any restaurant – hair or face touching? Not sanitizing after handling money? Are the high chairs/booster seats clean? Look at the bathroom, is it clean, are soap and towel dispensers full? If not, leave. Oh! One more thing. I avoid at all costs buffet style restaurants and salad bars, once the food lands in the trays at the buffet, it will fall victim to an assault of completely unconscious people finger licking – grab the spoon – cough – sneeze and kids who reach and grab food.
I choose to eat at local chains sometimes and at lovely restaurants (that may cost a bit more). After all, I don’t eat out often (love to cook) and don’t mind spending more to get more quality control.
My advice? I don’t have any. The above is my experience and thinking from my point of view. I am so grateful to have the freedom my beautiful kidney gives me, so grateful to wake up each morning. I really don’t sweat the small stuff, stress is much more harmful to my kidney and my health than about anything else.
1234? Please reply, I’d love to learn how things have changed over the years.
Best of good health and joy to you!

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Hi @lizzy102 😊 It is a pleasure to meet you! Congratulations on your wonderfully successful 20+ year kidney transplant…WOW, that's awesome!
Thank you for all your food safety tips. I don't think much has changed from when you first received your transplant. But you are the second person I heard about "deep fried foods" being safer due to the temperature of the oil. I normally try to stay away from fried foods but maybe I will splurge on "fish and chips" if I am in a restaurant!
From the food safety rules you shared, can I assume that blueberry pancakes and strawberry shortcake would be a "yes" if it's a restaurant that appears clean?
Maybe if the restaurant is clean, they will clean (or at least rinse) the blueberries and strawberries?
When you had food poisoning those two times in 30 years, did you need to take antibiotics or any meds to resolve it or was your immune suppressed system able to recover on it's own?
Thanks again for jumping in to help me! I LOVE hearing from transplant patients that are experienced since I am only a one year NEWBIE post kidney transplant patient and still learning the ropes! ❤

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