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Ask the Dietitian: Do you have any tips on staying healthy with kidney disease during the holidays?

Q: “Do you have any tips on staying healthy with kidney disease during the holidays?”

A: Yes, I do! There is a lot going on during the holiday season and lots of reasons to celebrate with your loved ones. Stay healthy and in charge of your health with these simple steps.


Keep Your Medication Schedule and Get Your Refills

It’s easy to get off track with your medication schedule if you are eating out or spending time away from home. Make sure you stick to your normal medication routine and consider getting a pill box or setting reminders to take your medication on your phone or watch. If your health plan renews at the beginning of the year, make sure you have all your refills and prescriptions renewed to set you up for success in the coming year.


Be Mindful with Your Meals

Let’s face it, some foods we only eat once a year and it can be hard to resist sampling them. Engage in mindful eating and savor each bite. Eating mindfully can help us eat less and help us maintain our weight while still indulging in foods that we may tend to overconsume. To eat more mindfully you can slow down and savor every bite of food, eat without distractions from electronic devices, eat with all your senses by noticing the smells, colors, and flavors of your food, and pay attention to when your body starts to feel full.


Stress Less

While the holidays are fun, we can also feel more stress during this time. Incorporate stress reducing activities like deep breathing in a quiet and calm environment, reading, taking a bath, or gentle stretches. You can reduce your blood pressure by engaging in these de-stressing activities.


Move Your Body Everyday

Find fun ways to move your body each day. This can be dancing while making your favorite holiday cookie or going on a walk with a friend. Exercise and movement helps to keep your blood pressure and blood sugar in a healthy range, strengthens your muscles, is good for your bones, and helps with stress. It is also a good way to carve out a little “me” time during the holiday schedule.


Communication

If you are feeling concerned about food at a holiday meal or need help during this time, make sure to speak up and communicate your needs with your friends and family. Most of the time loved ones want to help and show you how much they care about you. Don’t be afraid to speak up and work out a holiday meal plan that all can enjoy! Work with your healthcare team that should include your provider and dietitian if you need assistance with choosing foods for your specific kidney needs.


Make this holiday season one of joy and well-being by making yourself a priority. Choose one, two, or all of these tips for a festive and healthy holiday season.


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