Thanksgiving Food (stress) and Renal Diet Restrictions

Krissi's picture

If you're a dialysis patient who must follow a strict renal diet, Thanksgiving probably stresses you out. How can a holiday that does most of the celebrating through the consumption of food not create stress? I don't have all the answers, but I do have a few ideas to share (including my very favorite "more renal-friendly" recipe).

  • The more you eat, the thirstier you'll be. Try to limit your fluid intake on Wednesday and Wednesday evening so you'll be able to enjoy drinking more on Thanksgiving day.
  • Don't make yourself suffer by completely avoiding those "bad" foods you love (i.e. high phosphorous and high potassium). Instead, eat a little of each dish (a little = a spoonful!)
  • I'm not going to advocate your getting smashed in front of the Thanksgiving game, but if you do consume alcohol, keep in mind that it counts toward your fluid restrictions, too. My suggestion? Drinks with the most alcohol with the least 'drink' - a nice stiff rum and (a dash of) coke, anyone?
  • Exercise self-control. Yes, it is difficult, but unless you want to end up in the emergency room (from fluid overload or potassium toxicity) you've got to set your mind to it. Plus, who really wants to feel bad enough to need the hospital?
  • SOAK THOSE POTATOES! It sounds so cheesy when your dietitian says it (and you hear it all the time, right?) but, seriously - its the easiest thing you can do and it really will make a difference. Peal and soak potatoes, covered in water, at least overnight to dramatically reduce potassium.
  • You need lots of protein, so ENJOY THE TURKEY! Skip the gravy, though, because gravy = fluid + salt.

And here's my favorite "more renal-friendly" recipe (friendlier than the original, anyway) that I post every year:

('more renal-friendly' than the pie)

1 small pack vanilla or butterscotch instant pudding
2 cups milk
1 16-oz. can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 8-oz. container of Cool Whip

Make the pudding with the milk according to package directions. Add the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Mix well and fold in the Cool Whip. Makes about 8 1-cup servings.

Here's to hoping you'll enjoy Thanksgiving and be thankful for everything you are blessed with in your life.

Today's Kidney Education: "This year enjoy the foods you love without suffering the bad effects." DaVita's A Feast for Giving Thanks: Renal-friendly recipes and a shopping list.