Chef Aaron McCargo Jr. and Fresenius Medical Care Share Kidney-Friendly Secrets to Enjoying Thanksgiving Leftovers

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WALTHAM, Mass.--For many Americans, Thanksgiving means family gatherings, fabulous food, and leftover turkey and fixings that can last for days after the big feast. Yet holiday meals can be difficult for the nearly 400,000 Americans with kidney failure who depend on dialysis – a life-sustaining filtration process that removes waste products and extra fluids from their blood. Dialysis patients need to limit their intake of salt, saturated fats, potassium and phosphorus, and that makes many favorite holiday dishes, including sweets and salty snacks, off limits to them.

Food Network Chef Aaron McCargo, Jr. and Fresenius Medical Care dietitians offer holiday leftover tips and recipes for dialysis patients and their families, including this delicious Turkey Salad Wrap. (Photo: Business Wire)

To help dialysis patients enjoy the holiday while staying within their dietary guidelines, Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), the nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities, has teamed up with celebrity Chef Aaron McCargo, Jr., to develop a new recipe for using leftover turkey (see below). In addition, McCargo, and FMCNA’s dietitians have put together a list of tips to help dialysis patients make the best use of post-holiday leftovers.

Chef McCargo, star of Food Network’s “Big Daddy’s House,” has developed a new “ Turkey Salad Wrap ” recipe in collaboration with FMCNA dietitians that offers a dialysis-friendly way to use leftover holiday turkey. This easy to prepare recipe combines diced turkey, celery, onions and sweet gherkin pickles with a light mayonnaise and sour cream sauce and seasonings. It contains no trans fats and just 341 calories per wrap, and is available on FMCNA’s website at www.ultracare-dialysis.com.

“Dialysis patients need to avoid some of the traditional holiday foods such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, ham, sausage, eggnog, chocolate and nuts – not just on the holiday itself, but also when deciding what leftovers to eat,” said Robin Russell, lead dietitian for FMCNA’s North Texas region, who has collaborated with the chef on several recipes.

To help dialysis patients enjoy a healthy diet, both during and after the Thanksgiving holiday, FMCNA offers the following tips that the whole family can embrace:

Holiday Leftover Secrets Revealed

• New uses for old bread: Save old rolls or dessert pastries to make bread pudding.

• Quick-fix breakfast: Make a tasty breakfast in a flash by stuffing leftover croissants or rolls with roast chicken or turkey and smoked mozzarella. Add eggs for extra protein.

• Terrific turkey sandwich: Create a delicious sandwich with leftover turkey, cranberry spread and cream cheese, which is low in sodium and phosphorus.

• Recycled stuffing: Combine leftover bread stuffing with roast chicken or turkey, and stir in an egg to bind the mixture together. Mold into patties and bake or pan fry. Serve on toasted rolls with lettuce, roasted peppers and tarragon mayo.

• Unconventional Cobb: Spruce up an ordinary chopped-lettuce Cobb salad with leftover turkey, string beans, deviled eggs and stuffing, instead of croutons or nuts.

• Freezable flavoring: For extra flavor without the salt, boil turkey or chicken bones, strain, and use the remaining broth to cook pasta or rice. Freeze extra broth in ice cube trays, and add a few savory cubes to liven up later meals.

• Bagging and freezing: Try freezing individual servings for quick lunches or dinners. Let leftovers cool to room temperature before bagging to avoid bacteria buildup or spoilage. Also, be sure to use the correct bags (labeled “freezer bags”) for freezer storage.

For a complete list of Chef McCargo’s dialysis-friendly recipes, as well as fitness tips, videos and other information about staying active and maintaining a healthy diet on dialysis, visit FMCNA’s Healthy Lifestyles website. To find a dialysis facility near you, call toll free at 1-866-4DIALYSIS (1-866-434-2597).