Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

By Margaret, DaVita dietitian in El Paso, Texas

We’re all familiar with the busy schedule of the holiday season. We rush through shopping, decorating and holiday parties. On top of all that, there is an extra challenge: continuing healthy, safe eating habits during the holidays.

Is there a key to being successful in following a kidney-friendly diet during this hectic time? Here are a few ideas:

Ask for help

Friends and family can be our biggest help in following dietary guidelines. Don’t be shy about letting them know what types of foods you can and cannot eat. You can even offer to bring a dish or appetizer you know you’ll be able to eat to a party.

Try to plan ahead

If you know a shopping trip will last beyond mealtime, take a portable meal with you. If you’re attending a party in the evening, eat smaller meals earlier so you can have a little extra at the party. If possible, ask ahead of time which foods will be served at the party. That way, you can have a picture in mind of which foods you can eat.

Set new goals each day

It is easy to get caught up in the season and think: “Oh well, there’s no way I cay stay on my diet this month.” Thinking this way can lead to a whole month of eating foods that may harm your health. Instead, take one day at a time. If you eat too much on one occasion, remember to ‘get back on track’ the next day. Before you know it, you’ll have come through the holiday season with a pretty good and safe eating record.

Try this Party Snack Mix recipe when you go to your next holiday party—or take it along as a snack for a shopping trip.

Party Snack Mix

Recipe taken from Living Well on Dialysis, National Kidney Foundation.

Servings: 6 portions

Serving Size: 1 cup


  • 1 cup rice cereal squares
  • 1 cup corn cereal squares
  • 1 cup unsalted tiny pretzel twists
  • 3 cups unsalted popcorn
  • 1/3 cup margarine, melted
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese


  1. Mix cereals, pretzels and popcorn in large bowl.
  2. Combine melted margarine, garlic powder and onion powder. Pour over cereal mixture and toss to coat.
  3. Add Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake in 350°F oven for 7–10 minutes.
  5. Cool. Store in a sealed container.

Nutrients per serving:

  • Calories: 180
  • Protein: 2.5 g
  • Carbohydrate: 19 g
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 386 mg
  • Potassium: 37 mg
  • Phosphorus: 38 mg
  • Calcium: 27 mg
  • Fiber: .9 g

Renal and renal diabetic food choices:

  • 1 starch
  • 2 fat

Carbohydrate choices:

  • 1