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Developed by CORU registered kidney (renal) dietitians

Christmas Kidney Diet

nevin-mcguire-3The 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. 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.
  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!
  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.
  4. Ask your Kidney (Renal) Dietitian to help you to plan your meals over the Christmas period.

It is important to remember that many traditional favourite foods contain too much
potassium, salt or phosphate for those following a renal diet. This article will show you which foods to enjoy over the Christmas period and which foods to continue to take caution with or avoid altogether.


Turkey can be taken instead of your usual meat, fish or chicken at dinner time. It can be served with a small amount of cranberry sauce.
Ham is salty and can make you feel thirsty. If you include it as a treat for Christmas, reduce the salt content by soaking overnight, changing or cleaning the pot and the water and boiling well, and changing the water a number of times. Remember your fluid allowance, if it makes you feel thirsty.
Goose, pheasant, spiced beef and smoked salmon are all higher in potassium,
phosphate and salt. If you really want some take a small slice to taste only.


Keep to 2 medium sized low potassium potatoes per day in total.
Make sure to boil them first as per the low potassium method if making roast potatoes or croquettes.


Suitable vegetables include brussel sprouts (1 portion = 5 boiled brussel sprouts), cabbage, turnips, carrots, or parsnips. Avoid peas, beans, sweet corn, mushrooms and spinach.


Fruit can be eaten whole or if you wish, you may swap 2 fruit portions for a Christmas treat – see below. Other desserts containing fruit eg. apple tart, crumble, trifle, fruit flan can be swapped for ½ – 1 fruit portion.



Christmas cake: Christmas cake and pudding are very high in potassium. If you want some, take a small portion instead of 2 portions of fruit. Avoid taking both cake and pudding in the one day.

Mince pies: 1 mince pie is the same as 1 portion of fruit. If you make them yourself, don’t put a large amount of mincemeat in the pastry cases. You could also put some apple in to fill up the cases.

Cakes/desserts: Sponges, cheesecake (using cream cheese + cream + jelly), cream buns, doughnuts, plain pastries, madeira, lemon meringue pie, pavlova and bakewell tart can be eaten as alternatives to Christmas cake and pudding. If you have Diabetes or are trying to lose weight , please consult your diet sheet or Kidney Dietitian for suitable suggestions.

Stuffing: The usual stuffing made from bread crumbs, margarine, fried onions and herbs is suitable. Avoid recipes that contain apricots, dried fruit, nuts or potato as this would increase the amount of potassium in the stuffing.

Alcohol: Remember your fluid allowance. Spirits such as whiskey, brandy, gin and vodka are suitable in moderation. Use mixers such as lemonade and water not fruit juices. If you have diabetes use diet or no added sugar mixers. All other alcohol contains some potassium.

Chocolate: Be careful with chocolate over the holidays as it is high in both phosphate and potassium.

Sweets: Mint sweets, boiled fruit sweets, marshmallows, starburst and jelly tots are all suitable alternatives to chocolate. Avoid if you have Diabetes.

Biscuits: Most are fine, but watch those with chocolate and dried fruit (one or two at the most).

Savoury snacks: Most are high in salt and potassium. Unsalted popcorn and breadsticks are suitable.


  • Don’t add salt to your foods.
  • Keep within your fluid allowance.
  • Take your phosphate binders as normal.

Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2017 from all the team at!!

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