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Traveling and the Dialysis Diet
Being on dialysis does not have to mean your travel days are over! DaVita has more than 2,500 dialysis centers nationwide making it easier to continue your treatments while traveling. After talking with your treatment team and insurance carrier about your travel plans, you will want to pack any medications you will need during your vacation (It is a good idea to pack extra medication in case of any travel delays). When planning your vacation, you also want to think about what, where and when you will be eating. Following your kidney-friendly diet plan can help you feel better and stay healthy while on vacation.
Solid food items can be transported in either your carry-on bag or checked bag. Liquid or gel food items (such as drinks or gelatin) larger than 3.4 ounces are not allowed in carry-on bags. (These items must be placed in checked bags.) Refer to the TSA website for rules on flying with food.
Some airlines offer complimentary snacks during your flight. However, these tend to be high in sodium (such as salted peanuts or pretzels). Bring your own low-sodium snacks instead. Some kidney-friendly snack ideas are:
- Protein bars
- Unsalted or low-sodium pretzels, crackers or tortilla chips
- Graham crackers, unsalted rice cakes
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Rice Krispies® treats, Fig Newtons, shortbread cookies, vanilla wafers (watch portion size if you have diabetes)
- Hard candy or gum (great for quenching thirst during a long flight!)
Camping or Road Trips
Packing a cooler with kidney-friendly meals and snacks can help you stick to your kidney-friendly meal plan. Here are some great on-the-go staples to pack with you:
- Sandwiches made with low-sodium, fresh-cooked meats
- Hard-boiled eggs or egg salad
- Canned tuna or chicken (pick the no-salt-added brands or rinse salted products under running water for 3 minutes to reduce sodium content)
- Fresh or canned low-potassium fruits (apples, plums, peaches, grapes, pineapples, strawberries, pears)
- Unsalted crackers, pretzels or popcorn
- Nutrition bars and drinks (ask your dietitian for kidney-friendly options)
- Light-colored sodas such as 7-Up Sprite, and ginger ale (check all others for phosphate additives)
When preparing to eat at a fast food place or restaurant, research menus ahead of time and choose wisely. Many places post their menus online. Extra sodium, potassium, and phosphorus is often found in fast food. Use the Dining Out Guide from DaVita Diet Helper ™ for tips on what to order at various types of restaurants.
Dialysis at Sea Cruises® is the largest provider of dialysis services aboard cruise ships in the world. Visit www.dialysisatsea.com for more information. Let the cruise line know ahead of time if you have any specific dietary needs such as food allergies or intolerances. Cruise ships often have a variety of food options, such as restaurants, buffets, cafes and room service. Follow the tips in the Dining Out Guide from DaVita Diet Helper ™ when ordering your food.
Find a Dialysis Center: Call DaVita Guest Services at 1-800-244-0680 to talk to one of our placement specialists and find a dialysis center near your travel destination(s) if you are a DaVita patient or if you are not a DaVita patient and wish to have dialysis at a DaVita center while traveling.
For more on this topic read “Eating Tips for Travelers with Kidney Disease“.
Additional Kidney Diet Resources
Visit DaVita.com and explore these diet and nutrition resources:
- DaVita Diet Helper online meal planner and tracker
- DaVita Kidney-Friendly recipes
- Today’s Kidney Diet cookbooks
- Diet and Nutrition articles
- Kidney Diet and Nutrition Hub
- Kidney Smart® Classes taught by kidney experts in your area
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.
DaVita Kidney Care. Travel support for dialysis patients . Accessed February 4, 2019.
DaVita Kidney Care. Travel checklist for people on dialysis . Accessed February 4, 2019.
Transportation Security Administration. What can I bring: food . Accessed February 4, 2019.
DaVita Kidney Care. Travel . Accessed February 4, 2019.
Davita Kidney Care. 5 Lunches On-the-Go for a Kidney Diet . Accessed February 11, 2019.