Renal Diet Headquarters Podcast 047 – Vacation Travel, Healthy Eating and Kidney Disease

Renal Diet Headquarters Podcast 047 – Vacation Travel, Healthy Eating And Kidney DiseasePodcast #47 Released on July 22, 2015

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Vacation Travel and Healthy Eating Ideas For Chronic Kidney Disease


Welcome to the Renal Diet Headquarters podcast with your host, Mathea Ford, CEO of Renal Diet Headquarters. This is our weekly talk about how you can succeed with a kidney diet. Brought to you by, a website whose mission is to be the most valued resource on kidney disease that people can use to improve their health.

Hello, welcome to the Renal Diet Headquarters podcast. This is number 47, and I'm here to talk with you again about things that are important to people with kidney failure. You can find all my notes and information at, again, that's So, last week we talked about things that you should avoid taking with you on a picnic. So, things that were bad for you, things that would spoil easily, things that were soggy. And this week we're going to kind of adjust a little, and we're going to talk about vacation, travel, and healthy eating ideas. So if you know you're going on vacation, I'm on vacation this week, so I'm recording this a little bit early. But you know that you are ready to go have a good time, but you don't want to ruin your whole kidney disease diet. You don't want to ruin all of the work that you've done. So I want to get started and talk to you about that. So first of all, think about traveling smart, so to speak. Most people tend to drink and eat a lot of junk food when they're traveling.

Road trips become the reason to constantly snack on chips, candy, fast food, and the airport restaurants. Those are all hotspots for greasy foods and the wrong kind of drinks. Not water, but maybe some alcohol, maybe some sodas that aren't as healthy for you. Many times that occurs simply because that's kind of what you expect to do. And you don't plan for it, but it's not necessary. You don't have to do that. So, if you make a plan and stick to it, you can keep your eye out and easily find some smarter options. The bigger restaurants and airports typically have healthier options for food. You can skip the drinks or the soda. You can drink, like water and healthier options. Maybe some lemonade if you felt like it. Simply planning for road trips can help you avoid your junk food, so to speak. And for a person with kidney disease, junk food is especially bad if it's high in sodium. So, make sure you're watching, especially for those high in sodium foods. If you're eating some french fries, for example, you want to ask them for french fries before they put the salt on them. So you would just eat french fries plain and add a little bit of salt at the table if you absolutely had to.

And I know potatoes are not something that a lot of people with kidney disease think a lot of eating, but it's just an example. Use the lower sodium condiments like mayonnaise and mustard use lower condiments just because things that you eat out are going to be higher in sodium in nature. So, those are some options of travel foods that you might want to bring with you. Keeping a stock of healthy snack options is always a great idea when you're traveling. These options should be kept as simple as possible. A little preparation ahead of time can help with this. For example, use some snack bags to separate the small servings that are easy to open and eat while on the road. Foods like carrots, celery, sliced apples, strawberries, animal crackers, plain animal crackers, salt free pretzels those are all excellent options for easy snacking while on the road. You can put those in your checked baggage. You could put some of those in your carryon baggage as long as they're not liquid. But for sure you could put them in your checked baggage. And another tip is, if you have Amazon Prime, which I know a lot of people do, you can have snacks sent to your hotel for free on Amazon Prime.

It may not know, but you can have things sent to different addresses. And so if you know you're going to be in a hotel for a week, you can have some things sent there's, say you're going to get there on Monday and on Sunday you order it, it'll ship. It should be there Tuesday or Wednesday, and you'll be able to have that for the rest of the week. You might bring enough for just a couple of days. Obviously, you can also go to grocery stores, but sometimes, depending on where you are, it's easier almost to have that if you know it's good for you and you know you're going to be able to get it. So, I'm going to put a link to an article about different kinds of bars that you can buy in my show notes so that you'll be able to see that what I'm talking about as far as those bars. And that links to some on Amazon. Eating out on the road, so I have done a whole book on eating out, but road trips of course, involve meals at roadside restaurants. This is absolutely fine as long as you're vigilant about what you're eating.

As a general rule, it's better to order a la carte items instead of the whole meal. So, if the whole meal comes together with potatoes and broccoli and everything else, it's better to order a la carte and get just a single serving. Like maybe an enchilada platter comes with three enchiladas. Maybe you only need one enchilada and you want more rice. So, order one enchilada and rice. And don't worry about the fact that it might cost you $0.10 more, but realize that you're saving in salt because those can be highly salty foods and you're saving in calories and you're just going to feel better. So, it's worth that $0.10, so to speak. You can request meals made to your specifications. With the a la carte, it's a little easier to adjust those things. You want to avoid buffets because they're just full of temptation for you to overeat. So, lots of ways for you to overeat and it's going to encourage you to overeat if you go to a buffet. Also, buffets are going to have a lot of soups and crackers and things that are salty, so it may be harder to avoid those.

Healthy ideas for eating out include asking for sauces on the side, requesting no salt be added while cooking, sticking to simple steamed vegetables for sides, avoiding some casseroles and soups because they're often full of added sodium, especially soups. Remember that it may seem like you're missing out, but overall you'll feel so much more comfortable while on the road if you stick to your healthiest meals possible. So it's not about how much can I eat? If you want something that you can't get anywhere else, if you're going to a special restaurant that maybe is only in Seattle or only in North Dakota, then split that meal with someone or ask for a side or something like that, but don't. For example, I went to Charleston and we went to this restaurant for the life of me can't remember the name of it, but they had these cheesy grits that were cooked and they were in the shape of a halfmoon. And I never eat grits, but I said I'll just try them because it was kind of their specialty and I had a couple of bites and they were really good, but I didn't eat too much of them and then I could say I had that.

And if you know what that Charleston restaurant is, then you can leave me a comment in my show notes and remind me what it is. But no, it was Charleston, South Carolina. Yes. Anyway, I'll get back on topic. Remember that it may seem like you're missing out, but you can enjoy the chance to try new foods, but make sure they're healthy. So, if you've never tried something, you can ask about ingredients. You can ask what's in it? You're not being a pain. First of all, if you had a food allergy, you do that anyway. So, imagine that most people probably do ask. So don't feel bad about asking for what is the ingredients? What is in it? Can you change these things? So, next topic rules of fast food now and again, you may not be able to avoid hitting a drive through window as long as you aren't doing it for every meal, there are options that are much better than others. Order a hamburger with very few condiments, sticking to mayonnaise and mustard when needed. Lettuce, an onion, and one slice of tomato are usually safe, but if you don't want the tomato, avoid that as well.

Order a side salad or a fruit cup for a side instead of fries. And for your salad, get the fat free dressing or bring along your own dressing if you can, but that may be too difficult. Stick to water or clear sodas to drink and don't drink too much. If you're choosing chicken, go for the grilled option rather than fried to cut down on the oil and salt. Most restaurants, for example, if you're getting a salad, they will offer you the option to get grilled or fried chicken on top. Something I love about Chickfila is they have grilled nuggets, which are not grilled nuggets. They're basically taking a chicken breasts and chopping up for the kid. But my daughter and my son, my son always eats the regular chicken nuggets and my daughter always eats the grilled. So, that's something that you can get at Chickfila. If you're paying close attention, it could be easier to make healthier decisions in any situation. One of the other things is I know if you're on vacation you may be trying new things. But if you're going through fast food, stick with something that you know is a good restaurant to be okay with.

Stick to a schedule. The times that people typically find themselves overeating or making poor decisions is because they've let themselves get too hungry or just didn't plan properly. These are tricks to avoid. So one is keeping a stash of healthy snacks and the other is keeping to a set schedule. So, we already talked about getting your stash of healthy snacks, but sticking to a set schedule is very important. When you're at home, you tend to eat around the same times of the day. That shouldn't change too much when you're traveling. Try to plan your trip so that you'll have easy access to food, restrooms, and a little exercise during the time that you would if you were at home so make sure the hotel has an exercise room. Or you can go outside and walk and it won't be too hot. But getting off schedule can really affect your day. And if you've had children, you know that this is 100% true. That if you can keep your kids on schedule during a vacation, your day is going to be so much better. And what always happens is with myself and my husband we'll be somewhere and it will be like 1130 and I'll say, we need to eat something.

And he'll say, I'm not hungry, or the kids aren't hungry. And I'll say, but just don't let it. We can't just let it get too far out of hand and inevitably we won't stop or we won't do something and an hour later it's just misery while we're waiting for the food to show up. And we've desperately tried to find something and instead of taking a few moments, finding out where something is and making our way there. So you already know this? Probably. But trust me, sticking to a schedule is one of the biggest favors you can do yourself on vacation. Okay? Stay hydrated. Many people simply forget to drink enough water, while others believe they'll have to make less stops on their trip if they avoid drinking. Now obviously, if you have dialysis, you may have a fluid restriction, so that all brings into this. But this isn't healthy at all to not drink. Make sure you're sipping water and staying plenty hydrated, especially if you're flying. Flying can be dehydrating. So, as long as you don't have a fluid restriction, it's best to drink lots of water. Bring flavor to add if you like.

So, I got those little squeeze bottles from Crystal Light and I squeeze a little bit into my drink and shake it up. It really makes water easy to drink, although sometimes I just crave water. But do drink, and if you need to add a little flavor, please do that. Last but not least, I want you to get out and move. It's important to get out and stretch your legs once in a while. If you're on the road, try to stop every two or three hours for bathroom breaks and a short walk. So, when you get out of the car, walk around for five or ten minutes. Don't rush in the bathroom and rush back out. First of all, it's very good for your legs and your veins and all that type of stuff. It'll keep you energized as well as help with back and leg pain. Sitting actually hurts more than moving. So, get out and move and exercise like normal. When you're on vacation, all those things. Try to keep it as normal as possible. All right, that's it for today. Thank you for listening this week. I enjoyed talking to you. I always enjoy talking to you.

I want to invite you to tell me more things you want to hear about by sending me an email to [email protected]. That's it for this week. Next week I'm going to talk about Bento boxes and how they're good for kidney diets. And you may not know what a bento boxes, but you will know next week. And so I look forward to talking to you. Thank you very much.

You've been listening to the Renal Diet Headquarters podcast. Head on over to the website at to sign up for our email list and get exciting updates every week on what is happening. Thanks and we will talk to you again next week.


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