Top holiday meal choices for those with End Stage Renal Disease

By: | Tags: , , | Comments: 0 | December 15th, 2016


You may not know that the average Thanksgiving or Christmas meal has over 2000 calories. This is more than what you would consume with regular meals over an entire day. This may not be a problem for most people, but it is for those with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

If you are a patient with ESRD, you need to be very careful about what you eat not just on a regular basis, but also and especially during the holidays. For those with ESRD, you need to consume foods with a lot of antioxidants. The latter help protect the body by neutralizing free radicals.

Some of the foods that you can eat without it affecting your condition include: Red bell peppers, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Garlic, Onions, Apples, Cranberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Cherries, Red grapes, Egg whites, Fish, and Olive oil. These are all great choices but as with most things in life, it is best to consume them in moderation.

Most patients should work with their doctor and renal dietitian to make sure they get enough protein in their renal diet as well as limit phosphorus, potassium and sodium. As a patient with kidney disease, you will likely be given a diet to ensure your nutritional needs are met. Since this is often confusing, utilizing home health nutrition management can help you make better decisions. This will often lead to better health and lower hospitalization rates.

In this article, we’ll also talk about the choices you need to make when eating during the holidays…

1. Don’t eat a holiday meal when you are very hungry: People tend to eat more when they are extremely hungry. Do not skip meals before your holiday dinner. Make sure that you eat well-balanced meals throughout the day and stick to your kidney diet as prescribed by your doctor. Remember to eat a light but wholesome breakfast and lunch before your holiday dinner.

2. Choose the foods you eat during a holiday meal wisely: Do not overeat during the holidays. Plan ahead of time by checking out the buffet and then, choosing the right foods based on your kidney diet prescription. Ask your doctor, renal dietitian, or home health nutrition specialist as to what foods you can eat and what you should pass up on.

3. Watch the portion size of your dishes: You should not overindulge when it comes to the portion size of the dishes during a holiday meal. Moderation is key. You can sample many different dishes, if you take small portions of each. You can also eat your food slowly and savour each bite, thereby ensuring that you are more satisfied.

4. Cut down on fat: Limit high fat items, such as fried foods, casseroles and creamy dishes, which are high in potassium and sodium. Remove the skin from turkey and other poultry foods. If you decide to eat roast beef, trim away the excess fat. Also, choose a kidney-friendly dessert, such as fruit pie, cobbler, pound cake, angel food cake, or lemon meringue.

5. Make use of healthy recipe substitutions for your dishes during the holiday meal: If you are cooking a holiday meal and you do not want to pack on the pounds, use healthy food substitutes for your kidney diet dishes. For example, instead of oil, you can use unsweetened apple sauce and instead of sugar, you can use a low calorie sweetener.

These are some simple ideas to keep you in top health through the holidays. Simply follow these tips and of course, consult your renal dietitian, doctor and ask us for help if your nutrition guidelines ever become overwhelming on your own. The possibilities of creative cooking and eating for those with ESRD are endless.

For more information on how to plan your renal diet, contact Ken at DirectMed Health Services at 312-642-5500 or at

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