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Kidney Diet Tips

November 22, 2013

Preparing for a Kidney-friendly Thanksgiving

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This weekend many of us are pulling out favorite recipes, making our grocery list and planning for Thanksgiving Day celebration. For kidney patients, having foods that limit sodium, phosphorus and potassium (if restricted) is vital to staying on track and feeling good throughout the holiday season.

Take advantage of the kidney-friendly holiday recipes on DaVita.com. Start by downloading the DaVita Kidney Diet Delights holiday cookbook, a fabulous collection of holiday recipes.

Revisit our past Thanksgiving Kidney Diet Tips and look for new holiday tips coming early next week.

Happy Thanksgiving shopping!

DaVita Dietitian Sara

Kidney diet resources from DaVita.com


December 5, 2012

Holiday Flavors for the Kidney Diet

December is the month for holiday celebrations, and now is the time to pick out a few ‘go to’ kidney diet holiday recipes you can prepare with little fuss. By selecting recipes made for your kidney diet you can always feel good about enjoying food with your guests or bringing a dish to a holiday event. There are so many choices in the DaVita recipe collection, I thought I would inspire you with a few of my ‘go to’ favorites.

We all love easy when there’s so much to do, so my first holiday pick is a quick appetizer with only 4 ingredients plus apple slices and low-sodium crackers.

Holiday Cheese Ball is a combination of cream cheese, Russian dressing, onion powder and a thin coat of ground walnuts. Mix the ingredients and form into a ball then wrap it and refrigerate for 30 minutes while you slice the apples and pull out your favorite serving dishes.

Holiday Cheese Ball also travels well. Keep it wrapped and place in a cold lunch bag to transport.

You can change it up by shaping it in a log instead of a ball, or by serving with celery of other low potassium raw vegetables.

Holiday Cheese Ball keeps over several days so you can make it a day in advance or save part for a second event the next day. Read more…

February 24, 2012

Kidney Diet Tips: A new recipe for Sodium Girl’s Low-Sodium Recipe Rally

This week I’m stepping up to the challenge. Sodium Girl, who blogs on living salt-free and who has first hand experience dealing with kidneys, has challenged her readers to take a salty recipe and replace the high-sodium ingredients with low-sodium substitutes, creating a low-sodium dish full of flavor. I found out about the challenge a day ago, so had little time to to stew on what to create. Last night my hubby kept popping into the kitchen to check on the end result of the yummy smells and clanging pots.

I started with a couscous recipe I love from allrecipes.com. Here’s the original (and to give credit, it was created by Levedi, a cook who has shared several recipes.)

Couscous, Cranberry and Feta Salad


  • 1/3 cup couscous
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing, or to taste
  • salt to taste


  1. Place the couscous and cranberries in a heatproof bowl. Pour in the boiling water, and stir with a fork. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Fluff the couscous with a fork, and fold in the cucumber and feta cheese. Season to taste with balsamic vinaigrette and salt.

Makes 2 servings.

Nutrients (my calculations–used 1/4 tsp salt for the recipe)

243 calories, 6 g protein, 40 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat, 13 mg cholesterol, 455 mg sodium, 175 mg potassium, 116 mg phosphorus, 91 mg calcium, 2.9 g fiber.

The feta cheese, salad dressing and salt to taste–all full of flavor and sodium, were my challenges. Additional challenges–the mushy cuccumber I had planned to use, and an almost empty bag of dried cranberries, plus keep it kidney-friendly with low potassium and low phosphorus ingredients. Needless to say, my creation was a bit different from the original recipe, but ended as a pleasant culinary surprise.

Here’s my low-sodium rally recipe:

Couscous, Apple and Carmelized Onion Salad 


  • 2 cups thinly sliced white onion (Maui or other sweet onion variety)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar glaze
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 small apple, cut, cored and thinly sliced (leave the skin on)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted sweet butter
  • 1/3 cup couscous
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and cook onions over medium heat, stirring often. When the onions are translucent and soft, cover with a lid and continue to cook until carmelized, about 15 minutes. Stir about every 3-4 minutes and adjust heat if needed.
  2. In a separate nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray, cook apple slices over medium heat until tender. Reduce heat to medium low and cover with a lid. Continue cooking until soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add balsamic glaze and honey to caramelized onions and stir.
  4. Boil the water, add butter and stir until melted. Pour over couscous in a bowl. Cover and let set for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle cinnamon over couscous and stir with a fork to mix.
  6. Add onions and stir until well mixed; add apples, toss and serve.

Tip: Serve hot or cold–it’s great both ways!    

Makes 2 servings


230 calories, 4 g protein, 37 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 7 mg sodium, 155 mg potassium, 66 mg phosphorus, 32 mg calcium, 3.4 g fiber.

I loved participating in this challenge. Sodium Girl has not only proven you can live with and enjoy a low sodium, salt-free diet, she has also prompted a whole group to create and prove there is flavor without salt. Thank you Sodium Girl!

What’s next? March is National Nutrition Month. Find out what the DaVita Dietitians are doing to celebrate!

Kidney diet resources from DaVita.com

September 16, 2010

How much salt do you use?

If you have kidney disease or are at risk one question to ask yourself is “How much salt do you add in cooking or at the table?” Try to evaluate by measuring all the salt you use in cooking or at the table for 2 to 3 days. Use the chart below to estimate added salt and the effect of reducing it. Read more…

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