Holiday Eating Tips for Dialysis Patients

Holiday Eating Tips for Dialysis Patients

Tis the season for family get-togethers, office parties, and holiday treats everywhere you look. While it may seem like an uphill battle, controlling your intake and still maintaining a kidney friendly diet during the holidays is possible. Without doubt, it will be tempting to veer off your regular diet, and as your leading Florence nephrologists, we’re here to tell you it’s ok to give in to one or two of those temptations, within reason, and still make your dialysis treatments comfortable and treat yourself without treating your body badly.

Don’t think of the holidays as a bad thing. If you overindulge one day, refocus and get back on track the following day. Here are some tips on how to eat healthy during the holiday if you have kidney disease.

  • Feature dish: Stick with roasted turkey, goose, chicken, duck or pork as your main dish. Avoid meats high in fat, like ham, or anything heavily seasoned, which likely means high in sodium or phosphorus.
  • Side dish: Rice, couscous or noodles are good choices. You can even opt for a small portion of mashed potatoes (ideally they will be seasoned with margarine and garlic rather than milk). Avoid sweet potatoes, yams, parsnips or winter squash, which are high in potassium.
  • Fruits & veggies: Whether it’s a vegetable tray or a side dish, help yourself to red peppers, cabbage, and cauliflower. Go for raspberries, strawberries, red grapes and blueberries if fruit is offered.
  • Dessert: Find desserts with the fruits you can enjoy – cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries – and pass over the pumpkin pie and chocolate treats.

If you have an opportunity to bring a dish, take advantage, and make it a kidney friendly item (and that doesn’t mean it has to be bland). Check out this recipe for Fresh Cranberry and Herb Stuffing.

As the holiday gatherings approach, here are some must dos, especially for the party day.

  • Eat small meals. Don’t skip breakfast or lunch because you’re planning for a holiday dinner.
  • Avoid salty foods. You’ll want to drink more, making your next dialysis treatment uncomfortable.
  • Use a small plate. Physically limit how much food you can put on your dish by using an appetizer or dessert plate.
  • Stay active. Don’t forfeit your daily walk or routine exercise because it’s the holidays. Make time to maintain healthy habits.
  • Be slow to seconds. Wait at least 10 minutes before you decide to refill your plate. Check out a holiday movie on TV or take a walk around the neighborhood to look at the holiday lights to give yourself time to determine if you’re really still hungry.

If you’re preparing the holiday meal, here are some replacement ingredients to keep your meal kidney friendly.


What’s needed: Substitute with:
1 whole egg 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute
Sour cream or cream cheese Low fat sour cream or low fat cream cheese
Sugar Truvia or other low calorie sweetener
Oil (for baking) Unsweetened applesauce
Regular Jello Sugar-free Jello or gelatin
Fruit in syrup Fruit in juice or water