Managing your diet is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health when you’re on dialysis. But that’s harder to do during the holidays when you’re more likely to attend a party, go out to eat, or have dinner with family and friends.
Need a little help? Check out our Eat This, Not That Holiday Guide for Dialysis Patients for tips on controlling potassium, phosphorous, sodium, and fluids, what to eat, and what to avoid.
Watch out for foods high in potassium like potatoes, pumpkin pie, squash, and dried fruit. Plan ahead and leach potatoes to lower potassium levels. We’ve got several Dialysis-Friendly Meals that include mashed potatoes that you’ll enjoy. Or instead of potatoes, try side dishes like green beans, mixed vegetables, or steamed cauliflower. And if you plan to eat dessert, choose desserts lower in potassium like angel food cake or sugar cookies.
During the holidays, steer clear of high-phosphorus foods like cheese, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, egg nog and ice cream. But go ahead and enjoy low-phosphorus options like turkey, roast beef, fish, and chicken. If you do want something cheesy, check out Dialysis-Friendly meals like Cheese Manicotti & Vegetable Alfredo, Three Cheese Ravioli & Spinach Alfredo, or the Cheese Omelet with Hashbrowns and Broccoli.
It’s a challenge for a lot of people to eat less sodium, not just for those on dialysis. That’s because processed foods, burgers and fries, pizza, and canned soups and meats are all high in sodium, and these foods often show up during the holidays. Your best bet, prepare your own meals using low-sodium recipes, or pick your favorite entrees from our list of Dialysis-Friendly Meals.
Here’s another reason to avoid foods high in sodium during the holidays. They make you thirsty. And to protect your health, you need to limit the amount of fluids you consume from food and drinks. On strategy that works well for people is to fill up a water bottle with the amount of fluid you want to drink in a day. Then keep it with you, and skip the punch bowl and fountain drinks.
The holidays are hectic enough with shopping, travel plans, parties, and family gatherings. And you shouldn’t have to stress about your diet either. Eat regular meals throughout the day. Carry snacks with you if you won’t have time for a bite to eat. And follow the Eat This, Not That Holiday Guide tips to eat right and protect your health.