Kidney-Friendly Eating Tips for the Winter Holidays

The biggest challenge around holiday eating is finding kidney-friendly foods that won’t shatter your sensible eating habits. Finding foods that are not too salty and with no phosphate additives can be tough. Take a look at the tips below for some practical suggestions.

Plan Ahead

  • Eat a high protein breakfast. This helps control your hunger and portion sizes at your holiday meal.  
  • When attending a social gathering, bring a dish to share that will be healthy for you, and great for everyone. 
  • Plan your holiday meal using renal friendly recipes. Use the recipe links below to help you make your shopping list. 

Shopping For Your Kidney-Friendly Holiday Meal

  • Choose apple cider instead of eggnog to keep your beverage choice renal friendly.
  • When grocery shopping, look for a fresh turkey. Frozen turkeys may be injected with sodium phosphates. If you see the letters “p h o s” in the ingredient list, beware! That means phosphates are added. Look for a turkey with no added phosphates.
  • Cranberry sauce is a great choice for a lower potassium fruit, and it makes a colorful addition to your holiday meal.
  • Use a non-dairy whipped topping or aerosol whipped cream instead of ice cream to make your dessert festive. Non-dairy whipped toppings may contain phosphate additives; if you see the letters “p h o s” on the ingredient list, look for another brand without phosphate additives. 
  • Select fresh ingredients when possible. For example: Fresh or frozen green beans are better than canned. If you prefer canned, choose no added salt or a low sodium version. 
  • Purchase the ingredients to make your dressing or stuffing yourself! Boxed dressing and stuffing mixes are easy to prepare, but tough on salt and phosphorus control.

Kidney-Friendly Holiday Meal Preparation

  • Make your own gravy using drippings from the turkey; it will be less salty than gravy from mixes and jars. You can never beat the taste of a fresh homemade turkey gravy!
  • Double boil potatoes and other vegetables to reduce potassium and make them a healthier choice for your holiday meal.
  • Reduce or cut out the salt from any recipe to make it more “renal friendly”. Start by reducing the amount in half.

Enjoying your Holiday Meal

  • Protein first! Aim for a healthy intake of protein - 4 to 5 ounces, whether it’s turkey or another protein food.
  • Stick to 1, eight-ounce drink and sip slowly to help limit fluids.
  • Just say “NO” to salt and salty foods.
  • Remember to have your phosphorus binders with you at your holiday meal.
  • Use a smaller plate to help control portion sizes.
  • Select a small slice of a lower potassium fruit pie instead pumpkin, sweet potato or nut pies.
  • Do you want second helpings? Wait 10 minutes and if still hungry, go back for more turkey and vegetables.



Kidney-friendly cooking just got tastier! Get big-and-bold flavorful recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks and desserts on a kidney diet.

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