Kidney Diet Tips

Nutrition on the Go: Top Travel Tips

Summer is finally here! For many of us this means it’s time for day trips to local attractions, relaxing days at the beach, camping or even a road trip or flight to a faraway destination. Eating healthily while traveling can be difficult, especially when following a kidney-friendly diet. Yet, it is not impossible. Here are a few travel tips and recipes to help you avoid stress so you can focus on family, fun, and relaxation.

Travel tips to help you stick to a healthy, kidney-friendly diet

  1. Pack snacks in advance. Having snacks on hand when hunger strikes is one of the best ways to avoid pulling into the nearest drive through. See the lists below for suggestions.
  2. Plan ahead to choose which restaurants you will dine at. Choosing restaurants in advance gives you the opportunity to look up menus online. Some restaurants even have nutrition facts listed. Also, having access to online menus and nutrition facts can help you choose low-sodium options. This is usually one of the biggest concerns when eating away from home. However, if there is no information online, consider calling the restaurant in advance and asking how they typically accommodate customers with diet restrictions.
  3. If you plan on flying to your destination remember you can bring food through security and on the plane. Consider snack foods that do not need to be refrigerated and that will not easily get crushed in your carry-on. Although liquids are not allowed going through security, they can be purchased before boarding the plane.
  4. For road trips and trips to the beach bring a cooler. Having a cooler greatly expands your food options. Fruits, vegetables, and dips will stay much fresher and you can also pack ingredients to make a wrap, sandwich, salad or pasta salad for lunch or dinner. For more ideas download DaVita’s Today’s Kidney Diet: Summer Salads cookbook.
  5. Know your destinations, pit stops, and what your options are. If you know you will be flying out of a certain airport or will have a layover at another, plan ahead! Look up what your food options will be at the airports. Not enough time to purchase a meal? Consider what your options would be at grocery and convenience stores you will pass on the way.
  6. Read labels. Unfortunately, most packaged foods are high in salt . Make sure to always read food labels to find out how much sodium is in each serving so you can choose the best option. Also, pay attention to servings per container. Read the list of ingredients to ensure there are no phosphate additives In addition, many small convenience stores offer healthy options such as yogurt, fruit, and sandwiches.
  7. Always focus on whole foods when possible. This is the best way to guarantee you are avoiding packaged and processed foods high in sodium and phosphate additives. Whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and grains provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals to nourish your body1.

Easy snacks ideas

  • Fresh fruit: Apples, berries, grapes, cherries, plums, and watermelon. Be mindful of the fluid content of fruit, especially watermelon! Pair with DaVita’s Easy Summer Fruit Dip. Also, prepackaged peach, pear, or pineapple fruit cups (make sure they are in their own juice, not in syrup).
  • Single servings of applesauce.
  • Raw vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, pepper slices, celery, and carrots. Raw vegetables do contain more potassium than their cooked counterparts, so remember to portion control to 1/2 cup servings. If you’re bringing a cooler on your road trip or to the beach, pair with DaVita’s Garden Veggie Dip.
  • Air popped popcorn without salt. If you don’t have a popcorn air popper try purchasing popcorn kernels and popping in a paper bag in the microwave, then packaging for later. Instead of adding salt try lime juice and cumin or even chili powder for a kick. For a sweet treat try this Sugar and Spice Popcorn recipe.
  • Munch on dry cereal such as Chex or Cheerios. Portion in advance in individual containers or bags to avoid eating too much.
  • Unsalted pretzels or DaVita’s Addictive Pretzels.
  • Protein bars. Make sure to read the label to confirm there are no phosphorus additives. Avoid chocolate and nut flavors as these are usually higher in phosphorus. Ask your dietitian for suggestions of bars that are approved for a kidney diet. If you’re looking for less protein try Special K bars.
  • Animal crackers.
  • Newtons (strawberry, apple, or blueberry).

 Flavorful snacks to prepare in advance

Addictive Pretzels

Cereal Snack Mix with Salt-free Seasoning

Cran-Apple Cinnamon Snack Mix

Honey Maple Trail Mix

Dill Nibbles

Popcorn Balls

Poppy Krunch

For more recipes visit

Wondering where to travel next? Consider one of these popular destinations.


Biruete, A., Jeong, J. H., Barnes, J. L., & Wilund, K. R. (2017). Modified Nutritional Recommendations to Improve Dietary Patterns and Outcomes in Hemodialysis Patients. Journal of Renal Nutrition, 27(1), 62-70. doi:10.1053/j.jrn.2016.06.001

Krista Blackwell, RD, LDN, CNSC

Krista Blackwell, RD, LDN, CNSC

Krista believes eating well is an essential component of living a long, healthy and happy life. She has been with DaVita for over one year and has been working as a clinical dietitian in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area for almost four years. Krista is a certified nutrition support clinician and is taking classes for a master’s of science in applied nutrition. She enjoys being part of a strong team of renal medical experts at DaVita. In her free time Krista loves traveling, cooking, reading and staying active.