Top 10 Low-Sodium, Thirst-Quenching Foods for the Kidney Diet

Summer heat means greater thirst, a challenge to anyone on a fluid-restricted kidney diet. If you are a dialysis patient or you have chronic kidney disease (CKD) and need to limit your fluid intake, staying cool during the summer can help. Keeping liquid intake to a minimum when it’s hot outside is easier if you have a plan that includes low-sodium, thirst-quenching foods and some tricks recommended by renal dietitians.

10 low-sodium, thirst-quenching foods

1. Chilled fresh fruit or frozen cut-up fruit from your kidney-friendly food list. Try frozen grapes or peach slices, a refreshing cold apple or handful of chilled berries.

2. Lemon or lime slices, frozen or added to ice water. The tartness from lemon or lime stimulates saliva to help relieve a dry mouth.

3. Crispy cold vegetables. Try chilled cucumber slices, jicama, carrots, celery or radishes for a low-potassium thirst quencher.

4. Fresh mint. The flavor of mint added to salads, beverages or other dishes cools and refreshes your mouth similar to a mint-flavored gum.

5. Caffeine-free soda (7-Up, ginger ale), homemade lemonade or caffeine-free tea. Caffeine has a diuretic effect and is associated with increased urine output in people with some kidney function. However, the end result is increased thirst following caffeine consumption.

6. Gelatin. Eat small spoonfuls of flavored gelatin because it lasts longer than a mouthful of water. Make double-strength gelatin and eat as a finger food.

7. Chilled low-sodium soup. Make a chilled, low-sodium, low-potassium soup such as DaVita’s Cool Cucumber Soup to provide nourishment and to cool from the inside out.

8. Sour candy. It’s not for everyone, but eating sour candy really turns on the saliva glands, making a dry mouth moist almost immediately.

9. Frozen treats from your grocery store. A few suggestions include Minute Maid Soft Frozen Lemonade® (3 ounces of fluid, 70 calories), Fla.Vor.Ice® freezer pops (1.5 ounces, regular or sugar-free) or one of the many Popsicle® products (regular or sugar-free).

10. Flavored ice. Make flavored ice by freezing lemonade, juice or tea in an ice cube tray. Suck or munch on a cube slowly to chase away thirst without drinking.

Tips for thirst control

Measure all fluids carefully in a measuring cup. Record your daily fluid intake each time you drink or eat foods that are liquid at room temperature.

  • Salty foods make you thirsty so limit sodium intake to help control thirst.
  • Drink your beverages ice cold. They will be more refreshing and will quench your thirst.
  • Be aware of hidden liquid foods like gelatin, ice, soup, gravy and watermelon. Remember to count foods liquid at room temperature as part of your fluid intake.
  • Eat kidney-friendly diet fruits ice cold between meals.
  • When your mouth is dry, rinse it with mouthwash or cold water (remember to spit it out).
  • Spend the hottest part of the day in an air-conditioned room if possible. Staying cool will help reduce your thirst. Try wearing a wet bandana around your neck or on your head if you must be out in the heat.
  • Try to take your medications with your mealtime liquids. Some pills are easy to swallow in a spoonful of applesauce or other moist food.
  • Slowly sip allowed beverages to savor the liquid longer. Use a smaller cup or glass.
  • If you have diabetes, keep your glucose in good control. High blood sugar will increase your thirst.
  • If you are on hemodialysis, set your goal to gain no more than 2-4 pounds between treatments, or 1-2 pounds per day (or the goal established by your dietitian). Two cups of liquid equals one pound of fluid gain.

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