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Kidney-Friendly Holiday Meal Tips to Share with Your Patients

Holidays around this time of the year tend to revolve around traditions that include food, which can pose a significant challenge for patients who are trying to adhere to a kidney diet. However, with a few changes, it is possible for kidney patients to enjoy meals and celebrations with loved ones.

Consider talking with your patients to share with them how planning ahead can reduce stress and enjoy their holidays with healthy choices. For patients who will be cooking, you can offer a few tips that are kidney-health friendly.

Planning and Cooking Tips for Kidney Patients

Even if your patient is not cooking an entire meal, bringing a kidney-healthy dish to a celebration can help make sure they have a healthy option to enjoy. The tips below can help patients plan and cook delicious kidney-healthy options.

  • Double-boil potatoes and other vegetables to reduce potassium. Patients can learn more about this process in this article, “Lowering Potassium in Potatoes.”
  • Reduce sodium by using fresh ingredients. In addition to choosing fresh or frozen vegetables over canned options, remind patients that flavoring dishes with herbs and spices–instead of salt–will help reduce sodium.
  • Choose homemade when possible. Making dishes from scratch, like making gravy from turkey drippings instead of using a mix or a jar, offers more control over the ingredients and can be friendlier to kidney health. Stuffing is another dish that kidney patients may want to consider making from scratch instead of going with a store-bought option. Many boxed options have both high sodium and phosphorous.
  • If possible, buy a fresh turkey over frozen. Frozen turkeys may be injected with phosphorus additives.
  • Count cranberry sauce as a fruit serving if you are counting carbohydrates.

The DaVita Diet Helper meal planning and meal creations features can also help patients as they plan their kidney-friendly holiday meals, whether they’re cooking for a crowd or bringing a dish to a loved one’s celebration. They can even find kidney-friendly holiday recipes on DaVita.com.

Meal and Diet Tips for Kidney Patients

Enjoying festive meals and treats with family and friends can be one of the best things about the holiday season. To help your patients enjoy the festivities while keeping their kidney health a priority, suggest the following tips as they fill their plates:

  • If you are on a high protein diet eat high protein foods, such as turkey first. Try to get in 4 to 5 ounces to start your meal.
  • Enjoy eight ounces of a kidney-friendly beverage and sip slowly to help limit fluids.
  • Avoid salt and salty foods.
  • Remember to take phosphorus binders with your meal.
  • Use a smaller plate to help control portions sizes.
  • When selecting a beverage, select apple cider over eggnog for a kidney-friendly choice.
  • Choose a small slice of lower potassium fruit pie, or use a kidney-friendly recipe for pumpkin or sweet potato pie.

If your patients ask for additional resources or recipes that are specific to kidney disease, they can visit DaVita.com.

Sue Yager, MS, RDN, LDN

Sue Yager, MS, RDN, LDN

Sue works as a dietitian in Carpentersville and Marengo in Illinois She has been a dietitian for the past 15 years. The last eight have been in kidney care. In her spare time, Sue enjoys reading and riding her bike.