Planning for a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!

The holidays are right around the corner and whether you’ve already started planning, shopping and wrapping or you leave it all to the end, we wanted to give you some strategies to manage your kidney diet over the holidays.

Somehow holidays and celebrations always seem to centre around food and holiday meals are an important time of sharing with family and friends. So when it comes to getting through the holidays without any medical problems, the key is to plan ahead!

  1. Start by making lists of all of your favourite holiday foods and circle all the ones you know are kidney-friendly. Highlighting all the things that you CAN have is a great way to get started (turkey and cranberries always top my list!) The ones that you’re not too sure about are great to discuss with your renal dietitian. She may have recipes or tips on how to adapt your recipes or how to make those foods safe for you.
  2. If you’re hosting a family meal, plan ahead to ensure that you have a selection of kidney-friendly foods available to you. It’s easier to stick to your diet when you have kidney-friendly, delicious foods at hand! Put out bowls of low sodium crackers or corn chips instead of potato chips or salted nuts. Make sure that a cookie tray or plate of desserts includes low potassium and low sodium options like lemon squares, shortbread, and festive sugar cookies. Bowls of fresh fruit like red and green grapes or apples are festive-looking and healthy options for everyone, especially those with diabetes. You might be surprised to find that others are looking for healthy options. Check out and for wonderful, kidney-friendly recipes.
  3. When you’re the guest at a holiday function it can be a bit trickier to follow your kidney diet. If you can, bring along a dish or two that you know you’ll enjoy and choose only small portions of the items you’re not too sure about.

And if you are hosting someone with kidney disease don’t be afraid to ask in advance about diet restrictions. Another great option is to make little recipe cards to put out on a buffet table — your guests will know what’s in the food they’re eating (and they may want to steal your recipe too!)

Here’s a fabulous and festive dish to take to a holiday event — it’s as pretty as it is fresh and tasty!

Christmas Cabbage Salad (12 portions)

2 cups cauliflower florets
1 carrot, shredded
1 cup green onions
12 cups red and green cabbage, shredded or chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

For the dressing:

¾ cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp fresh ground pepper (or to taste)

In a pot of boiling water, cook the cauliflower for 2-3 minutes until tender-crisp. Drain and cool right away under cold water. Toss with the rest of the vegetables. Combine dressing ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour over the salad and toss well. Cover and marinate in your refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

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