Kidney Diet Tips

Tips for a Lower Sodium Thanksgiving

The holidays are in full swing and for most of us that means spending more time with family and friends, which almost always involves food. Holiday food brings us joy, excitement and sometimes stirs emotions that bring back wonderful memories.

For some of us, especially those who are trying to follow a kidney-friendly diet, the connection of food and the holidays can bring on anxiety and concern.  And for good reason. Many favorite holiday foods are high in sodium, one of the nutrients that kidney patients are trying to limit.

Most of us have some knowledge of sodium—it’s basically salt. We know that too much sodium causes fluid retention and higher blood pressure, something that kidney patients want to avoid. Sodium is found in processed foods, many of which are used for holiday meals. Whether it is broth for the gravy and dressing or a seasoning blend for the turkey, all can contain a high amount of salt.

The good news is there are alternatives! offers holiday recipes that are kidney-friendly as well as tasty for all the guests at the gathering.  In addition to recipes, consider the following tips for limiting sodium when preparing or eating your holiday meals:

  • Go salt-less at the table. Fill a shaker with a salt-free seasoning blend like Mrs. Dash instead.
  • Forget the veggies loaded with sauce or cheese toppings and focus on fresh, minimal ingredient veggie dishes.
  • Don’t be a ham—or fill up on it. One slice can have over 1,000 mg of sodium—enough to ruin your day. Try to stay away from other highly processed proteins like sausages, deli meats and cheese products.
  • Don’t get side-tracked. When choosing side dishes, keep the portions small and use any sauces or gravies sparingly.
  • Plan your plate. Half-full with the raw or cooked vegetables, a quarter full of high quality protein like turkey, and the rest with those yummy sides.

Try one of these Thanksgiving favorites from the DaVita kidney-friendly recipe collection.dva-turkeybreastroastsliced-1674-resized

Roasted Turkey Breast with Salt-free Herb Seasoning 

Autumn Wild Rice

 Deviled Green Beans

 Pumpkin Cheesecake Barsdva-pumpkinbars_0281resized

 Cranberry Nut Bread


Kara Hansen

Kara has been a dietitian for over 11 years, spending her entire career with DaVita. She enjoys family time, cooking, soccer, hiking and traveling.