Liver-Friendly Food Options When Eating Out

Eating out can be a challenge when you have liver disease, especially for those with severe liver damage such as cirrhosis or an associated condition. The good news is that you can enjoy liver-friendly food options when eating out.

Preparing ahead and learning liver-friendly options is key. No matter where you choose to eat, look for lighter, healthier options.

Appetizers

Fresh is always best. Start out by loading up on fresh veggies with salad. For starters, choose the salad bar. I usually go for:

  • Lettuce, spinach, kale, and dark leafy greens (they're packed with vitamins!)
  • Tomatoes
  • Beets
  • Artichokes
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Avocado
  • Beans

For dressing, choose low sodium options, if possible. Serve dressing on the side then lightly drizzle on your salad or dip your fork in the dressing before bites.

Liver-healthy side dishes

Ask how side dishes are prepared. Ask for low salt or no-salt seasoning. Load up on fresh veggies. Avoid fried. Steamed or sautéed is best. Side dishes prepared with garlic (liver-healthy) add great flavor without adding sodium. I usually look for:

  • Broccoli
  • Squash (all types)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Steamed beets or artichokes
  • Steamed cabbage
  • Steamed or sautéed carrots
  • Steamed or sautéed green beans
  • Legumes
  • Whole Grains: Quinoa, wild rice
  • Avoid heavy sauces that can add too much sodium and added calories

Liver-friendly main dishes ideas

My favorites include:

  • Lettuce wraps with grilled chicken or grilled fish. Load up your lettuce wraps with fresh veggies, bean sprouts, shredded carrots, meat, and a squirt of lemon
  • Grilled veggie flatbread pizzas (enjoy a liver-friendly pizza with fewer calories)
  • Grilled or baked fish, such as salmon
  • Roasted, baked, or grilled poultry

Dessert

Dessert is a treat, but you can still enjoy some liver-friendly dessert options such as fruit salad with a small dollop of whipped cream. If you are going to indulge in a sweet dessert, try splitting with someone, or asking the waiter to divide it prior to serving. Many restaurants have mini desserts available as well. Avoid heavy or fried options. You can also choose coffee or hot tea instead. Enjoying a warm drink is relaxing and makes you feel included as others eat dessert.

Liver-friendly guidelines

If you know where you are going, look at their menu ahead to scout out your best options. Talk to your doctor about liver-friendly options and you too can enjoy eating out with liver disease.

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