Low Sodium and Potassium Substitutions For Your Holiday Favorites (Renal Diet)
The holidays can be a stressful time for you or your loved ones if they are suffering from CKD. Food and eating takes on a whole new meaning when a CKD diet is in play. This can be a little depressing as many people associate one of the joys of the holidays with feasting on holiday staples. While it is true that you can no longer eat whatever you want, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all of your favorites! In fact, there are many kidney diet recipes catered to the holidays that will make your heart just as happy! Just remember to avoid using the salt shaker and you should have less issues with water retention while enjoying the holidays.
In this post, we will cover CKD diet recipes to replace or substitute popular holiday favorites that everyone will enjoy, and won’t have you worrying about things like phosphorus, sodium, and potassium while enjoying family get-togethers.
Low Sodium Substitution For Your Holiday Go- To's
While many of us love to eat ham, it is a meat with high sodium content. This means it should not be your first choice during the holidays if you are on a CKD diet.
There are many kidney-friendly alternatives to ham, such as turkey or chicken, but if you absolutely want a meal with ham, then this ham and beans recipe will be a great option. It has decreased the milligrams of sodium from classic ham and beans, yet it does still have a higher content than other CKD meat recipes, so enjoy it in moderation.
Turkey is a kidney-friendly meat for those on CKD diets and it has many recipe options and varieties.
But, a brined turkey is very high in sodium, so it will not be as renal friendly as a roasted turkey. This recipe shows you how to create a roasted turkey that anyone with chronic kidney disease can enjoy for the holidays.
During the holidays stuffing is a staple side dish. However, typical stuffing recipes are high in sodium, carbs, and calcium which is a no-go for anyone with kidney disease. This herbed sausage stuffing recipe is a delicious and unique take on your typical stuffing, and the best part is, it is low sodium and low carb! That way your kidney concerned guests can enjoy this dish without worrying about the effects on their health or sodium levels.
A fresh new take on Swedish Meatballs this holiday season is this low sodium barbecue meatballs recipe. This recipe is specifically tailored for those on renal-friendly diets and contains low sodium spices and meats. While this recipe uses beef, the blend of spices will taste just as delicious if used with ground turkey or chicken.
Green Bean Casserole
Green bean casserole is another popular holiday side, and luckily, green beans are already a kidney-friendly vegetable! That means that you won’t have to deviate much from your usual classics, and this recipe is a wonderful kidney-friendly option. While this recipe is a little on the higher potassium side it is low in sodium, phosphorus, and calcium. With this recipe, you can enjoy this classic dish unencumbered by your diet.
Gravy is a necessity during the holidays, and pairs deliciously with your roasted turkey. There are a few dangers with premade or store-bought mixes, though, as they are notoriously high in sodium content. An easy way to work around this is to actually use your roasted turkey drippings mixed with cornstarch. This recipe will give you some tips to create a savory homemade gravy.
Cheese fondue is a fun party food that you can use to dip in veggies, breads, fruit, and more. However, if you have chronic kidney disease there are some cheeses that should be avoided. Overly processed and harder cheeses are often high in phosphorus and major contributor to excessive sodium content. Meaning your Velveeta, processed cheddar, and hard cheddars will be higher in these levels.
That doesn’t mean you have to abandon your fondue though. If you incorporate a softer, more low-fat cheese such as brie or natural Swiss into your mix, then the content of sodium, potassium, and phosphorus is much lower. This recipe is a great healthy start, you can just replace gruyere with brie.
Crackers, Chips & Dip
An appetizer with many flavors and variations is your chips and dips. While there are a lot of issues with high sodium and phosphorus content from store-bought dips and chips, you can still tailor this appetizer for those searching for kidney-friendly options.
One of those options is this white bean dip recipe. This yummy dip is made with white beans and is salt-free and sugar-free. This is guaranteed to have zero preservatives, GMOs, and is even gluten-free!
Sausage & Bacon
If you are looking for some renal-friendly alternatives to your usual breakfast favorites then this recipe is the perfect choice for sausage. While this recipe calls for pork, you could also mix in ground turkey or beef. This is a spicy and flavorful sausage for you and your family to enjoy at a holiday breakfast.
If you are looking for a bacon alternative then you will have a hard time finding one that contains low salt content, as bacon is usually a very high sodium option that should be avoided by those with chronic kidney disease. That is, until this recipe showed us that you can enjoy a salt-free bacon option! This recipe is a little more complicated and requires twice cooking slices of pork belly, the end product is a perfect alternative that you can enjoy even if you are on a strict CKD diet.
Rolls, Cornbread or Biscuits
Cornbread is a part of any Southern holiday meal, but some are very high in calcium and potassium. If you want to continue to enjoy this Southern treat, then this recipe is perfect for CKD non-dialysis, diabetes, and dialysis patients.
Low Potassium Substitutes For Your Holiday Favorites
For those with chronic kidney disease, white potatoes are known to have a high potassium content. However, this recipe for garlic mashed potatoes brings the potassium content down to a level that those on kidney-friendly diets can enjoy. The key in this recipe is to double boil the white potatoes to leach out the potassium content.
Similarly, to white potatoes, sweet potatoes have a higher potassium level than most diets can allow for with chronic kidney disease. This recipe gives a lot of helpful information about tailoring recipes to being kidney-friendly. Once again leaching the potatoes is key in reducing the potassium content. This also offers an alternative to using spaghetti squash in this recipe to further reduce the excess potassium content.
A light alternative to cream spinach that is low potassium and low calcium is this barley, corn, and spinach salad. While creamed spinach usually contains high calcium, among other factors that are not kidney-friendly, this spinach option is very different. This is a recipe that also contains no salt, sugar, MSGs, preservatives, or GMOs. It is also gluten-free, which is great for those also combating celiac disease.
While your family’s pumpkin pie may be creamy, delicious, and irresistible, it is also likely high in potassium content. To still have the basic flavors of this dessert but be able to enjoy it with chronic kidney disease, then this recipe is what you need. A wonderful combination of crispy textures and pumpkin spice flavors, this contains low potassium, sodium, calcium, and phosphorus!
Pecan pie is best to be avoided if you are on a CKD diet. This is the usual suspect on the dessert table that is high in calcium, sugar, and potassium. That being said, you can replace this option with this apple cake. It is quite an easy recipe that has a great holiday flavor and contains all healthy ingredients! You’ll need cinnamon, sugar, flour, oil, eggs, orange juice, baking powder, and vanilla for this recipe. This cake is full of flavor and texture, and even if it isn’t a pecan pie, it will still give you holiday flavors like cinnamon and apple, and it's low in potassium content.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
You wouldn’t immediately think that Brussel sprouts contain high potassium, but in fact, several recipes do have high potassium. However, this simple roasted Brussel sprouts recipe is very low in potassium and is an easy option for this favorite dish. This recipe uses fruit vinegar, olive oil, and parmesan cheese to make a crispy flavorful side or snack.
Winter squash is a simple dish during the holidays, but it is usually high in potassium content. An interesting and healthy take on this classic is this stuffed spaghetti squash recipe. Spaghetti squash is a perfect low potassium alternative, and this dish offers more flavors and ingredients to truly create a unique side dish for the holiday table.
This recipe is not only kidney healthy, but heart-healthy, so it is all around good for those watching their diets and health. A great low sodium spice that is used in this recipe is called Grandma’s Loaf and More, which is a wonderful addition for flavor in kidney-friendly dishes.
Pudding comes in many forms, whether it is a chocolate pudding, bread pudding, or banana pudding. Some of these rich desserts are not kidney-friendly and can be high in potassium and calcium. An option that lines up with holiday flavors is this warm bread pudding recipe. This recipe uses raisin bread, honey, vanilla, and almond milk. Using almond milk reduces the calcium content and using honey gives a more natural sugar option that is not as processed. This is a great warm dessert for those with a sweet tooth with sweet vanilla flavors.
You can still enjoy your holiday meals with these great substitutes
After reading this post, we hope you feel better about your choices of food this holiday season. This is just the tip of the CKD Holiday diet, there are so many delicious recipes you can make that support kidney function you won’t even miss that extra salty ham or over-cooked stuffing.