A Low Oxalate Vegetarian Diet

When physicians suggest diets for patients struggling with calcium-oxalate kidney stones, a low oxalate diet is often recommended. However, for vegetarians, this can pose a problem for their lifestyle, as some of the items with the highest levels of oxalate are vegetables or grains, and therefore make such a diet difficult to balance while still staying healthy with other nutrients. Hope is not lost for vegetarians though, and the following is a collection of some tips for a low oxalate diet that doesn’t require you to bite into the forbidden meats.

First, the oxalate content of plants can change depending on the way they’re planted and grown, and can also have their oxalate reduced by boiling or steaming the vegetables, especially the leaves of leafy greens, and then discarding the water. So it’s recommended that if you are going to eat greens with lots of oxalate, to prepare them in this fashion to decrease the amount of oxalate you’re consuming. With that in mind, the list below will describe what to avoid for certain kinds of foods, and what to eat instead to keep a low oxalate diet.

 

Breakfast:

Avoid:

All-bran cereals, and most cereal advertising wheat or grains. Frosted mini-wheats, and most fruit cereals.

Instead Eat:

Eggs, Coconut flour muffins or pancakes, yogurt with mixed fruit (no granola).

Vegetables:

Avoid:

Beans, beets, raw carrots, okra, rhubarb, parsnip, spinach (raw or cooked), tomato sauce, turnips, or yams.

Instead Eat:

Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, cucumber, lettuce, mushroom, onions, pickles, radish, scallions, green pepper, or zucchini.

In small amounts, eating asparagus, cooked carrots, brussel sprouts, celery, and string beans are acceptable.

Snacks:

Avoid:

Almost all nuts and seeds except for flax seed, peanut butter, desserts such as brownies, cake, chocolate syrup and fudge, and avoid all potato chips.

Instead Eat:

Fig bars, graham crackers, saltines, Triscuits, wheat thins with reduced fat, apple butter, and Ritz crackers. For dessert, jello, Popsicles, sherbet, and vanilla pudding are good alternatives.

Drinks:

Avoid:

Hot chocolate, lemonade, brewed black tea, or V8 juices.

Instead Drink:

Other fruit juices such as apple juice, orange juice, or pineapple juice. In reasonable servings, these are fine. Though slightly controversial, it has been recently argued that coffee has a relatively low oxalate content, and is safe to drink. The most important thing in a low oxalate diet however is to drink lots of water.

Fruits:

Avoid:

Kiwis, dates, raspberries, star fruit, canned and dried pineapple, and dried figs.

Instead Eat:

Apples, grapes, lemons, peaches, plums, watermelons, fresh pineapple, strawberries, bananas, pears, or cherries.

Meals:

Avoid:

Tofu, veggie burgers, lasagna, spaghetti, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and pasta.

Instead Eat:

White rice, macaroni & cheese, popcorn, salads, any of the low oxalate vegetable mentioned, Santa Fe bean salad with black-eyed peas instead of black beans, rice and peas, and eggs in meals are all just a few options.


While it seems like a difficult hurdle to pass, a low oxalate vegetarian diet certainly is not impossible, and there are people willing to help. While most of the items listed were common foods, there are still more foods that have both high and low oxalate contents. So be sure to do some research and ask your doctor for a list of high oxalate foods, and take some time to look into more possible meals yourself.

 

  1. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Nutrition Department Retrieved from the URL: https://regepi.bwh.harvard.edu/health/Oxalate/files

  2. Norris, Jack, Oxalate, December 2013. Retrieved from the URL: http://veganhealth.org/articles/oxalate

  3. Heidi, Low Oxalate Meal Plans for the Low Oxalate Diet, Low Oxalate Info, October 12, 2012. Retrieved from the URL: http://lowoxalateinfo.com/low-oxalate-meal-plans-for-the-low-oxalate-diet/