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Positively Thanksgiving: Kidney Diet Tips to Keep You on Track
It’s almost here—my favorite fall holiday! Maybe it’s the cooking or the fact there are no presents to buy, or maybe it’s the memories of Thanksgivings past and the leftovers on Friday. As you plan for this year’s holiday, think about the good times past and what you can do this week to feel good and stay healthy. A positive approach can make the difference in how you handle your food choices on Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season. Many dishes are high in sodium, potassium and phosphorus. You have several options though. Think ahead and plan your Thanksgiving plate with the goal of feeling good afterwards.
Here are our favorite Thanksgiving kidney diet tips:
- Look at the table and select 2-3 of your favorites but focus on the dishes that are closest to your diet.
- Apply the 25% rule. Serve yourself a 25% portion of the item in question. For example, instead of one piece of pumpkin pie, have 1/4th piece. Fill in the gap with another dessert that’s more kidney-friendly.
- If the potatoes are not reduced-potassium, decide on either the mashed white potatoes or the sweet potatoes or yams, then limit to a small portion.
- Salted gravy on the table? Take only 1-2 tablespoons and see if it satisfies. You can always add more if needed.
- Count the number of items served that fit into your kidney diet plan. Fill your plate with these items first then fill the gap with smaller amounts of the foods that are not on your plan.
- Remember your phosphate binders and make adjustments if recommended by your doctor or dietitian.
- Remove the cheese or nut topping—no need to eat extra phosphorus when what’s underneath is so good.
- Identify the foods high in sodium and leave these off your plate. Do you really need the bread or rolls that have hidden sodium? Can you go gravy-free? What about the soup—are you happy with a salad with vinegar and oil or low-sodium dressing instead?
- When limiting fluids focus on the glass that is half full; sip slowly and savor your favorite holiday beverage. Hot or very cold drinks require you to slow down and sip so your liquid is not gone before you know it.
- The first and last sips are the best. Enjoy every drop but focus on these two the most.
- Ice, gelatin, gravy and anything that pours at room temperature are foods that count as fluid. Pick the ones you like the most and leave off or limit the others.
- Take a break. In-between the main meal and dessert is a great time to take a walk or play a game for extra exercise.
- Prepare some of your favorite holiday recipes from DaVita.com to serve with the holiday feast.
- Do a recipe makeover with family favorites to reduce ingredients high in sodium, potassium or phosphorus.
- Be prepared to choose from the best choices first—turkey, roast beef or fresh pork with cranberry sauce instead of salted gravy.
- Rice or pasta dishes are lower in potassium than potato dishes.
- Choose low potassium vegetables without sauces— broccoli, turnips, carrots cauliflower, peppers, cabbage, green beans, green peas, zucchini squash, lettuce salad with cucumbers, celery, peppers onions and radish.
- Best desserts include fruit pies such as apple, berries or lemon meringue; a dollop of whipped topping is fine.
Ask your dietitian and other patients about their best tips for staying healthy during Thanksgiving and the holidays. Check out past Thanksgiving tips for the kidney diet:
Additional Kidney Diet Resources
Visit DaVita.com and explore these diet and nutrition resources:
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.