Dessert and CKD

Everyone loves a little dessert, and when we have CKD this is not something we always need to avoid. Desserts are a great ending to a meal or delicious treat on a special occasion. 

But, with desserts we are often concerned with the extra potassium, phosphorus, protein and sugar which comes with it. Long story short, desserts are ok for the kidneys, meaning they won’t harm them, but portion size and content is important to consider so that we can control the above nutrients as well as manage our blood sugars.

One thing to consider with desserts is sugar. While sugar is a carbohydrate and can be found in dairy products and fruits, high intake of added sugar is a concern because it can put you at risk of obesity, diabetes, some forms of cancer, and heart disease. If you’re interested in learning about how to manage diabetes and CKD check out this post

Starting this year, you can now read food labels in Canada for sugar. But remember that this % Daily Value on the label is based off of the total amount of sugar not just from added sugars. So it includes fruits and dairy product sugars. We should aim to have foods with 5% or less sugar per serving. 

Choosing dessert does not need to be stressful when we have kidney disease. Here are my best tips and tricks for some kidney-friendly swaps so enjoy that sweet something in your life. Let’s look at some ways we can include dessert with CKD.


Not only is this a great way to add some extra fibre to your desserts. But fruit can be a great natural sweetener. Try adding half parts unsweetened applesauce for sugar in your recipe. You can substitute any fruit like berries or banana depending on the flavour profile.

If you are living with diabetes, using artificial sweeteners to sweeten food can help to control your blood sugar levels.


Look to choose unsaturated fats like a low sodium olive oil margarine instead of butter in your baking. You can swap margarine one for one for butter. This will provide you with some heart healthy fats and reduce the calories. 

Egg whites are also lower in protein, cholesterol and phosphorus and can be a great substitution for whole eggs.


Reduce the sodium in your recipes and add flavour with herbs and spices. Cinnamon is a great replacement for salt with its sweet and peppery undertones.

Have you ever tried using club soda as a substitute for baking soda? This is a great low sodium option that will still help to leven or rise your baked goods. 


Instead of baking powder, which has 1400 mg phosphorus per 1 TBSP. Use this recipe to substitute ½ TBSP baking powder – 1 teaspoon cream of tartar and ½ teaspoon baking soda.


Instead of cow and soy milk which can be high in potassium and protein, try using almond milk or water as your liquid. Remember to read food labels for no added phosphorus choices.

Getting ready in to prepare kidney-friendly baked goods and enjoy dessert with CKD?

Being prepared in the kitchen is essential for success with baking. So, here are some tips to get you ready to bake:

  • Preheat the oven before you mix your ingredients.
  • Get all your ingredients out on the counter before you start.
  • Use proper measuring cups and spoons, baking is a science. 
  • Use liquid measuring cups for liquid ingredients and dry measuring cups for dry ingredients. Be sure to level off dry ingredients.
  • Use a baking thermometer to check for doneness. Or poke the item in the center with a toothpick and slowly take it out. A clean toothpick or one with little crumbs means that your item is baked.

Wondering what to start baking?

 While there are 10 delicious dessert recipes for CKD like chocolate bean brownies, raspberry lemon bars, and snickerdoodle cookies found in the Renal Diet Cookbook for Caregivers to get you started. Some of my favourite kidney-friend desserts are:

  • Shortbread cookies
  • Lemon cake
  • Apple or blueberry pie
  • Cake donuts
  • Pound cake

Do you need some support with planning nutritious and delicious meals? Well, Emily offers personalized meal planning and grocery shopping lists to help support you on your kidney nutrition journey and building your confidence. Connect with Emily here.

Want to learn more about Emily? Learn more here.

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