Kidney Diet Tips

Work-free, Stress-free Labor Day

Labor Day marks the end of summer. Celebrations include local events, camping out or barbequing at home. These fun events, typically surrounded by  food and drink, can be frustrating for those on a kidney diet. With a little bit of planning you can have a stress-free Labor Day holiday weekend.

Whether you are dining out or preparing food at home, there are some things you can do to be successful in keeping with your diet.

 Dining Out

  • Review the menu. If you are out at events with your family and friends and plan on dining out select the restaurant ahead of time. Many restaurants have their menus and nutrition information available online. Ask your dietitian to review the menu with you and help you select the best kidney-friendly options when dining out.
  • Swap out the side dish. Don’t be afraid to ask about substituting those high potassium potatoes with a lower potassium side dish such as rice or low potassium vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, corn, green beans or summer squash.
  • Hold the cheese. Many dishes can be made more kidney-friendly by omitting the cheese. Dairy products are high in phosphorus and need to be limited on a kidney-friendly diet.

Preparing Meals

  • Select your entrée. For meals prepared by you, your family or friends, limit processed meats such as hot dogs or lunch meat. Processed meats are high in sodium and have added phosphorus. Instead, marinate your own chicken or steak with herbs and spices and throw it on the grill. Consider trying a homemade marinade to save money and limit sodium. See the following recipes on for some delicious marinade recipe ideas!

  • Consider making an entrée salad for the main course. You can prep the ingredients ahead of time and quickly toss the ingredients to make an easy, stress-free dish. Try this DaVita Eats Mandarin Chicken Salad recipe.

Limit Fluids

  • Most dialysis patients are advised to drink 32 ounces per day. If you are unsure how much fluid you can drink ask you dietitian about your daily fluid goal.
  • Limit foods high in salt. Eating more salt in your diet makes you thirsty and may cause you to drink more fluids.
  • Remember foods such as gelatin, sherbet and popsicles count as fluid.
  • Purchase an 8-ounce bottles of water or small 8-ounce cans or cartons of soda or juice. Avoid those with phosphate additives.
  • Limit your fluid intake prior to the celebration. This will allow you to have more fluid remaining at party time.
  • Suck on hard sour candy or chew sugar-free gum to help keep your mouth moist. Treating thirst may help you to keep within your fluid goal.

Enjoy celebrating the end of summer this Labor Day in a kidney-friendly, stress-free way.

Michelle Montgomery, RD, LD

Michelle Montgomery, RD, LD

Michelle has been a dietitian for six years, working at two DaVita centers in Idaho for the past four years.