Kidney Diet Tips

Labor Day Weekend: Tips for Kidney Patients to Stay on Track

Happy Labor Day!

Who doesn’t look forward to a 3-day weekend? (Perhaps that’s why we officially celebrate most of our holidays on Mondays.) For some people, however, a holiday weekend can be a challenge. Following your health plan is easier when you are on the regular, weekly routine. Getting out of the usual schedule can be stressful and derail your best intentions, especially with your kidney diet or diabetes diet.

Cookouts, picnics, travel and social activities are fun, but also add the challenge of sticking with your diet, exercise and medication routines.

Before you kick off the holiday weekend, read these 7 tips to help you stay on track with your kidney diet and health plan.

Use your planner  In business, successful people rely on their day planners and ‘To Do’ lists to stay on track. You can use the same tools and plan for diet success over the holiday weekend. Start by mapping out your activities, meals and medications. Knowing when and what you will be doing helps you focus on ways to stay on track with your diet.  Make a ‘To Do’ list and check it off as you do things like refill your pill holder, take a morning walk, make a grocery list and prep for a recipe or meal.

Create a menu With so many kidney-friendly recipes on, you have lots of great food choices for breakfast, brunch, picnics or backyard cookouts. Start planning your 3 day menu or select from a menu already created in Diet Helper. After you have a menu, a shopping list and trip to the grocery store is sure to motivate you to start preparing for your weekend meals. To get started, check out 5 ingredients or less recipes, Grill recipes, No Cook recipes, Picnic recipes or Potluck recipes from the DaVita kidney diet recipe collection.

Utilize leftovers Part of your holiday plan is to minimize time spent in the kitchen, so as you create your menu, add extra entree and vegetable portions to save as leftovers for a quick meal the next day. Turn leftover grilled chicken or fish into an entrée salad. Create a breakfast smoothie with leftover fruit salad. Top those leftover beef or turkey burgers with grilled veggies on a bun or as an open-face sandwich. Recreating a new meal with leftovers can inspire you and cut down on cooking time.

Write it down People who write down what they eat are more aware of the cumulative effect of food, and they are more likely to stick to an eating plan. Use a pad and pen or download one of the many apps for tracking your intake as you go.

Out of sight, out of mind Whether it’s taking your medications on time, remembering the best foods to choose at a social event, or tracking how much liquid you are consuming, you are more likely to remember if you have triggers like sticky notes, handouts posted on your refrigerator, alarms, or visual reminders.

Tune in Our bodies give us cues before problems get out of hand. Tune in by taking your blood pressure, monitoring your blood glucose or weighing yourself each day. Do an assessment on yourself . Are you short of breath or have swelling? Are you experiencing familiar or unfamiliar symptoms? Is your appetite good or do you feel stuffed from eating too much? Once you tune in and identify things that might be happening to your body, you can focus on a plan to get back on track.

Over/under Even the best made plans do not always go according to your intentions. Make adjustments to correct for overeating by having less the next day. If you veer from your plan by eating foods higher in sodium, potassium or phosphorus, or drinking too much fluid, decrease your intake the next day.

Remember to ‘begin with the end in mind’ as you plan for a fun 3-day holiday weekend, and stay on track with your diet and health plan. I hope you feel great when the short week starts Tuesday morning.

Kidney diet resources from


Sara Colman, RDN, CDCES

Sara Colman, RDN, CDCES

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 30 years experience working with people with diabetes and kidney disease. She is co-author of the popular kidney cookbook "Cooking for David: A Culinary Dialysis Cookbook". Sara is the Manager of Kidney Care Nutrition for DaVita. She analyzes recipes and creates content, resources and tools for the kidney community. In her spare time Sara loves to spend time with her young grandson, including fun times together in her kitchen.