Dialysis? 6 Healthy-Diet Tips to Celebrate the Holidays

dialysis meals

It’s that time of year when food becomes a bigger part of everything you do. There’s office parties, get-togethers with friends, and family gatherings. And you’re probably more likely to go out to eat during the holidays, too.

You might be tempted to load your plate with all the options on the buffet table or devour a decadent dessert. But that’s a recipe for trouble when you’re on dialysis.

Why? When you depend on dialysis treatments to do the work your kidneys can’t, it’s important to limit the amount of sodium, potassium, and phosphorus you consume. (These Dialysis-Friendly meals make it easier.) And that means you have to be a little more strategic about what you eat and how you eat.

But that doesn’t have to put a damper on enjoying the holidays. Check out these 6 healthy-diet tips to eat healthier:

1. Practice Portion Control

Don’t dish up heaping piles of food on your plate. Instead, practice portion control. For example, a serving of chicken, beef, or fish is about the size and thickness of the palm of your hand. A serving of fruit...about the size of a baseball. A serving of rice about half that size.

2. Limit Sodium

Sodium helps your body balance fluids. Too much makes you thirsty, and that’s a problem when you need to limit fluids. Instead of grabbing the salt shaker, or slathering food in sauces and condiments, season your food with herbs and salt-free spices instead.

3. Limit Fluid Intake

This includes water, soda, alcohol, diet and sugary drinks, coffee, milk, and juice. While dialysis treatment is effective, it’s still not as efficient as functioning kidneys. Drinking too much leads to excess fluid build up that can lead to other complications.

So how much is safe to drink for dialysis patients? Limit your fluid intake to 32 ounces a day.

4. Limit Potassium

You need this mineral to support muscle function and keep your heart beat consistent. But too much potassium has the opposite effect and can put your health at risk.

So where is potassium found? The most common holiday culprits are things like candied yams, pumpkin and pecan pie, and mashed potatoes. Avoid or limit these foods. Some better options lower in potassium include rice, green beans, stuffing, and apple pie.

5. Limit Calcium and Phosphorus

Two more minerals you need to limit when you’re on dialysis...calcium and phosphorus. Phosphorus is frequently high in processed foods and some drinks. You may even consider taking a phosphorus binder to help absorb excess phosphorus. High-calcium foods to avoid include dairy products, fortified juices, and fortified cereals.

6. Balance Your Diet During the Holidays

Actually, you should strive to follow a balanced diet all the time. If you’re consuming too many calories, or eating the wrong foods, it could lead to problems. But if you follow this advice, and look for ways to limit sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, you’ll feel better and be healthier. One easy way...avoid or limit dressings and sauces, and skip the salt shaker at the holiday table.

Hungry for some good food during the holidays? Here’s an easy way to serve up a hot and healthy meal in minutes. Just pick your favorite breakfast, lunch, or dinner from the Dialysis-Friendly menu.