Kidney Diet Tips

Kidney-Friendly Thanksgiving Shopping Tips

 The smell of the plump, juicy turkey roasting in the oven. The sound of family and friends gathered for a homemade feast. It’s Thanksgiving shopping time! Navigating the holidays while following a kidney-friendly diet can be difficult. Especially when that holiday is Thanksgiving. Whether you are making your family’s main meal or you are simply bringing a side dish, here are some healthy tips for shopping for those delicious Thanksgiving Day foods.

Label Reading

Before you buy, start with the nutrition label. First, take a look at the serving size. This is the amount of food that provides you with the amount of nutrients listed on the label. When possible, consider making a recipe from scratch instead of buying a processed product. For example, boxed stuffing mix and frozen vegetable casseroles are higher in sodium compared to homemade dishes. To keep it kidney-friendly, try to stick to the suggested serving size on the package or recipe. For example, if you are making a boxed stuffing mix that suggests a serving size of 1/2 cup, try to serve yourself only that amount. As you increase the serving sizes of your food, you also increase the nutrient content. Be aware that if you double your serving size, your calories, sodium, fat, protein, carbohydrate, phosphorus and potassium content double as well.

Whether its packaged gravy or frozen green beans, be on the look-out for sodium, potassium, and phosphate additives. Aim for 5% or less of the daily values of sodium per serving, as excess sodium can cause high blood pressure and increased thirst. If you are watching your blood sugars or have been diagnosed with diabetes, don’t forget to look at the carbohydrates section. Also, remember that most phosphorus is often hidden in our foods. Don’t let hidden phosphorus complicate your holiday season. Be sure to look at the ingredient list and if your food item contains additives, use caution.

Canned, Frozen or Fresh

Fruits and vegetables contain sources of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function. Many of them are low in potassium and phosphorus too, making them kidney-friendly! However, knowing which types of fruits and vegetables to buy can be overwhelming. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be easier and more budget-friendly to buy specifically when they are in season. On the other hand, frozen fruits and vegetables are typically less expensive year-round and just as nutritionally sound as fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, fruits and vegetables are often canned or frozen when they are at their peak of freshness. Just make sure that there are no added sugars, oils, butters, or salt in your frozen goodies, as these can add unwanted calories, fat, and sodium into your diet. Search for the frozen fruits that say “unsweetened” or “no sugar added”.

Canned fruits and vegetables can be a great way to save time, because it usually take less time to cook them. However, canned fruits and vegetables often have added syrups and sodium to them, so look for the cans that say “packed in juice” or “no salt added”.


For kidney-friendly recipes check out these great Thanksgiving Day side dishes  using fruits and vegetables.

This November, make your Thanksgiving meal extra special. Plan ahead before Thanksgiving shopping. Try out some healthier kidney-friendly recipes, label reading tips, or overall grocery shopping tips for you and your loved ones. Enjoy your favorite foods but in a healthier way! Try out some more Thanksgiving recipes here . Happy Thanksgiving!


Additional Kidney Diet Resources

Visit and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

DaVita Food Analyzer

DaVita Dining Out Guides

Today’s Kidney Diet Cookbooks

DaVita Kidney-Friendly Recipes

Diet and Nutrition Articles                                                      

Diet and Nutrition Videos

Kidney Smart® Virtual Classes

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Kellsey Reed RDN, LDN

Kellsey Reed RDN, LDN

Kellsey Reed RDN, LDN has been a dietitian for three years, working in the acute-care, long-term care, and dialysis settings. She is a Philadelphia-based dietitian who loves to travel, bake, and spend time with her two cats Chia and Mr. Flax. Kellsey has a passion for helping others learn more about all things nutrition-related!