How to Keep Your Healthy Kidney Diet Through the Holidays

The holidays are a time where people let themselves go, try out new foods, and add a few more cheat days to their schedule. However, the holidays shouldn’t be an excuse to practice poor eating habits, especially for those who have strict kidney diets they must stick to, such as individuals with CKD.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to ensure that you maintain a healthy kidney diet through this festive period. Below, we’ve compiled some tips and recipes to help you satisfy your holiday cravings without sacrificing your kidney health:

Holiday Parties, Dinners, and Nights Out

It’s likely you plan to meet up with your family members and friends over the holiday season to celebrate. These holiday get-togethers almost always include extravagant spreads of food and plenty of alcoholic beverages. 

But while it can be tempting to cheat a little on your kidney diet and stock up on holiday meals and treats, resist! It’s not worth putting your kidney health at risk to overindulge in holiday eating. Here are some tips to stick to:

    • Know what you can and can’t dish up. If your doctor tells you to avoid certain foods such as high-sodium mashed potatoes or processed meats like ham or sausage, don’t make exceptions. It’s not worth the health risks to eat foods specifically prohibited by your doctor. Along those same lines, if you are allowed to eat very limited amounts of certain foods, make sure you take frequent inventory of what you’re eating and stay within your prescribed limits.
    • Consider bringing your own food. This might seem odd if you’re attending a guest or family dinner, but it’s much safer to simply notify your host know about your kidney diet and health problems. If they don’t have food options that fit within your diet, feel free to offer your own dish that includes kidney-friendly foods such as fresh fruits and veggies.


  • If you’re hosting, try out some fun CKD-friendly recipes. Most guests love trying new foods, and there are plenty of healthy recipes for your kidney diet that are also delicious!


Kidney-Friendly Recipes

A kidney-friendly recipe involves limiting certain types of ingredients and seasonings while also considering appropriate serving sizes. Here are some delicious recipes you may want to try this holiday season:

1. Vegetarian Egg Rice

Egg fried rice is a filling and tasty way to add plenty of fresh vegetables into your diet. It’s quick to cook, packed with flavor, and makes an excellent side dish for a festive meal.

Simply beat some eggs and chop a variety of vegetables such as onions, carrots and green onions. Fry them together with white rice and use some low-sodium soy sauce for taste. As a secret tip from Chinese chefs, try to use rice that has been left in the fridge overnight. This dries out the rice and ensures that your rice isn’t sticky or mushy when you fry it. If you don’t have time for this, make sure that you’re not using rice that is fresh out of the cooker. Instead, give it an hour or two to cool down before frying.

2. Vegetable Platter

Raw vegetables are a great kidney-friendly appetizer and can be paired with dips for a yummy pre-meal snack. Consider cutting sticks of peppers, cucumber, and radish and serving them on a plate with cream cheese or low-sodium cottage cheese dip. Carrots and celery sticks are also acceptable, but make sure they’re kept to a minimum.

If you’re serving for more guests, add some other dips such as hummus or salsa for their enjoyment, but try to avoid them yourself!

3. Turkey Stir-Fry

Stir-fries are a great way to add a bit of excitement to holiday meats such as turkey and also an excellent way to control flavor and seasonings without putting a strain on your kidneys. 

Fry some shredded turkey with chopped carrots and broccoli and add some low-sodium seasonings to taste. Remember to use just a small amount of oil (if any) when frying and to use olive or peanut oil rather than vegetable oil. Hoisin sauce can add a sweet touch to the meal and a bit of water will be necessary to soften the carrots and broccoli. We suggest adding the vegetables first before the meat, especially if it’s already cooked.

4. Honey-Lemon Salmon

Salmon with a bit of lemon and honey can be a delightful low-fat holiday meal that satisfies your kidney diet and your guests.

For this recipe, mix honey, lemon, and pepper in a small bowl and rub some garlic into the fish. Next, heat olive oil in a skillet and cook the salmon fillets over medium heat, carefully flipping them after 4-5 minutes. Add the honey lemon and allow it to thicken into a glaze.

As you dive into your holiday celebrations, remember that your health is still a priority! These healthy tips and recipes can help you stay consistent with your kidney diet while still enjoying holiday eating this time of the year.