Kidney-Friendly Holiday Tips

Written & Sourced by: Lauren Budd Levy MS, RDN, CSR, FNKF

Introduction

Navigating social gatherings like holidays, barbeques, and other events can be very stressful when you have CKD. The pull between making healthy choices and convenient choices can leave you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. In this article, you will learn how to navigate these situations confidently and know you are making healthy choices for yourself. 

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Holiday Tips Video Cover

Three key ways to enjoy your gatherings and maintain your healthy lifestyle:

  1. Set yourself up for success from the beginning
  2. Bringing a healthy choice
  3. Enjoying yourself!

Often, we know when we have a big event coming up. Start with a plan and build your day around this plan. 

Setting yourself up for success

Ask yourself the following questions and make a plan to address the answers:

  • Will the event be all day?
  • Can I make healthy food choices (low salt, etc.) before or after the event?
  • Can I make the rest of my day vegetarian or meatless?
  • How will I stay hydrated or follow my fluid restriction?
  • Can I exercise the day of or take a walk after the event or meal?

Many events and holidays are built around tradition and traditional foods. Traditional foods are not necessarily unhealthy and need to be altered. If you find that the traditional foods you eat contain a lot of salt and fat or are too high in protein or potassium, consider making simple adjustments that maintain the core of the dish.

Dietitian Tip:

  • Try halving/omitting the salt in the original recipe or using no added salt canned products.
  • Make a non-cream-based variation of the dish. 
  • Example: Instead of green bean casserole, make green beans almondine.  

If you are not hosting the event, bring a dish that meets your health needs that others may enjoy. 

Bringing a healthy choice

Here are some of our favorite meals to bring to all different types of gatherings:

So much of holidays or events are about the people and memories around the event. Remember the reason why you are gathering in the first place and enjoy yourself. 

Enjoy yourself

Some healthy tips for enjoying the meal but not overdoing it are:

  • Pause eating when you are 80% full for a few minutes, and then evaluate if you want to eat more.
  • Make a fun mocktail or non-alcoholic holiday drink that you can enjoy.
  • When serving yourself, make a leftover plate at the same time. This way, you do not feel like you need to eat everything in one sitting. 

Conclusion

Navigating holidays and social events can be overwhelming with CKD, but they do not have to be. With some planning and the right mindset, you can enjoy your holiday and still eat kidney-friendly. Looking for more support on navigating CKD? Join our Donator Membership for ongoing video tutorials, meal plans, and more. 

Lauren Budd Levy MS, RDN, CSR, FNKF (23)

Lauren is a renal dietitian since 2009. Owner/Founder of Happy Health Nutrition and a plant-based eater; Lauren believes kidney health is a lifestyle and not a diet. Kidney disease impacts all aspects of life and food choices are vitally important for kidney health.

Lauren enjoys working with people, experimenting with recipes, and finding ways that healthy choices feel attainable, sustainable, and enjoyable.

Lauren works to take the frustration and confusion out of the renal diet and empower people to follow a kidney-friendly lifestyle.

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