Oil, Egg, and Butter Substitutions that Are Easy on Your Kidneys

Oil, Egg and Butter

Who says switching to a plant-based diet means having very limited options? Here are plant-based alternatives to oil, butter, and eggs and how best to use them in everyday dishes.

I. Plant-Based Oils and Where to Use Them

Cooking oil

Here’s a rundown of heart- and kidney-healthy cooking oil options as recommended by the National Kidney Foundation:

  • Olive oil - Made from pressed olives, olive oil contains mono-unsaturated fats that can lower your cholesterol levels. It’s good for the heart, too.

    Where to use it: Drizzle over salads and cooked pasta or veggies; replace it with butter or margarine as a dip for bread. You can also use it in your sauces

  • Corn oil - This oil is rich in vitamin E which acts as an anti-inflammatory antioxidant in the body.

    Where to use it: Corn oil is commonly used in deep frying and sautéing, but it can also be mixed into salad dressings, marinades, bread, and other baked foods.

  • Coconut oil - It has a combination of fatty acids believed to increase fat loss and heart health. Studies also suggest that the fatty acids in coconut oil provide energy to brain cells to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

    Where to use it: Coconut oil has versatile uses in the kitchen. You can use it for baking and frying, as well as making sauces, marinades and dressings. You can also mix it with your smoothies and desserts.
  • Canola oil - What’s great about canola oil is that it can be heated to different temperatures, plus it has a neutral taste and flavor. This is why it’s a popular choice for cooking. Canola oil is low in saturated fat and monounsaturated fat.

    Where to use it: Sautéing, stir-frying, grilling, and baking as well as in marinades and salad dressings.

  • Sunflower oil - Known for its neutral flavor, sunflower oil has a high concentration of essential fatty acids (e.g. linoleic acid), which helps prevent cholesterol buildup and heart disease. Sunflower oil can be used for different cooking applications because it can withstand high cooking temperatures.

    Where to use it: Refined sunflower oil makes for a good substitute to any neutral-tasting oil. It can be used for frying, sautéeing, and searing. You can also mix it in salad dressings.

How to Choose the Right Oil to Use

When deciding which oil to use, should you choose based on taste or the oil’s impact on your health? Cleveland Clinic gives us a few pointers in choosing the right oil type:

  • Consider how much fat you want to eat. Nutritionally speaking, all cooking oils are classified as a fat. You could choose your oil based on your preference on taste. But plant-based oils are still fats. Consult with your renal dietitian and determine how much fat is healthy for you, then let it guide your choice. 

  • When cooking for health, choose olive oil. Extra-virgin olive oil is good for the heart and it helps lower bad cholesterol levels. It’s also packed with nutrients that aid bodily functions, such as beta carotene and vitamins A, E, D, and K.
  • Consider your diet as a whole. Factor in your nutrient requirements with respect to your CKD diet. Aim to get a balance of nutrients including a healthy amount of fats.

  • Use as little oil as possible. Whether you’re sautéing or frying, make sure to limit your use of oil to a minimum. Cooking foods in oil or any kind of fat promotes free radicals (unstable atoms that can cause cell damage and illnesses). You can cut back on oil by baking, grilling, or quickly sautéing your food.

II. Plant-based Butter Substitutes

Applesauce

This key ingredient is so embedded in many diets due to its flavor. We use butter when cooking veggies and potatoes and even in baking bread, cakes, and muffins. 

However, it contains saturated fat which contributes to heart disease. And we know that heart disease is one of the leading causes of CKD.

If you’re looking for butter substitutes, here are some options to choose from:

  • Olive oil - Use olive oil as a dip for bread or to sauté anything. This superfood can also be used in baking bread or biscuits, although not for baking pastries as olive oil has a strong flavor.
  • Applesauce - For a number of baking applications, applesauce is an excellent butter alternative. This vitamin C- and fiber-rich option is great for enhancing moisture in baked goods. You can also use it as a natural sweetener to your oatmeal.

  • Veggie broth - For a more flavorful option for sautéing vegetables, consider vegetable broth in place for butter. Ensure to use just enough broth to keep your veggies wet and to allow it to simmer well. You can also use broth as a fat replacement in baked veggie recipes.

Reminders When Using Butter Alternatives

  • Each of these replacements offers a distinct flavor. You need to experiment on them to find the right match for your needs.

  • Not all these substitutes work on a 1:1 ratio, so you may need to figure out the appropriate amount to use based on your desired results.
  • These substitutes may not produce the same flavor that butter gives. Depending on your use, you may have to do a trial and error test to achieve the flavor you’re looking for. 

III. Ways to Replace Egg in Your Dishes

Egg

Egg whites are okay for kidney disease patients. They can provide you adequate amounts of your daily protein dose. But if you wish to take the path of a rigid plant-based diet, here are ways you can replace 1 egg in your dishes:

  • Use ¼ cup of applesauce
  • Use ¼ cup of silken tofu (also called soft or Japanese-style tofu)
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water. Let it sit for 15 minutes before using.
  • Mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 3 tablespoon of water
  • Mix 3 tablespoons of chickpea flour with 3 tablespoons of water
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 2 ½ tablespoon of water. Let it sit for 10 minutes before using.

The items outlined here are just the tip of the iceberg! It’s totally up to you to figure out ways to make your meals more exciting and appetizing. Feel free to experiment on flavors, but don’t forget to seek the advice of your renal healthcare team.