Baking on the Kidney Diet

You may walk into a bakery and see foods that look inviting, smell great and taste delicious. Unfortunately, some foods from bakeries are off limits when you are on the kidney diet. This doesn’t mean you can’t have any baked goods. By baking food in your own kitchen, you can control the ingredients and still satisfy your desire to eat something fresh out the oven.

What can I bake on the kidney diet?

There are a variety of kidney-friendly recipes that you can bake. They range from foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert:

  • Breads
  • Cakes
  • Casseroles
  • Cookies
  • Pastries
  • Pies
  • Meat, fish and poultry dishes
  • Vegetables

Kidney-friendly baking ingredients

Your dietitian will talk to you about which baking ingredients are kidney-friendly for your diet. Here is a list of regular baking ingredients and a list of kidney-friendly substitutes:

Regular baking ingredients

Kidney-friendly baking ingredients

Whole-wheat flour

White flour (lower in phosphorus and potassium)

Self-rising flour

Plain, all-purpose white flour (lower in sodium and phosphorus)

Regular butter or margarine

Unsalted butter or unsalted trans-fat-free margarine (lower in sodium)

Sugar (for people with diabetes—adds additional carbohydrate)

Sugar substitutes (lower in carbohydrate)

Eggs

Egg whites or egg substitutes (lower in cholesterol and phosphorus)

Salt

Reduced amounts of salt in recipes, more use of herbs and low-sodium spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.)

Milk

Nondairy creamer, soy milk, unenriched rice milk (lower in potassium and phosphorus—use brands recommended by your dietitian)

Ingredient substitutions may require additional recipe changes to keep the right balance of acid, fat, liquids and leavening agents. For best results, look for kidney-friendly recipes to follow or experiment with an altered recipe several times to find the right balance of ingredients.

Breads and cakes need a leavening agent to rise properly during baking. Most leavening agents used to bake breads may contribute large amounts of phosphorus, potassium, sodium or calcium, making the recipe unfriendly for people with kidney disease. Some products substitute calcium and magnesium for sodium or phosphorus.

Yeast is one of the best leavening agents to use because it is lowest in the minerals limited in a kidney diet. To make your own leavening agent at home, try Homemade Phosphorus-Free Baking Powder. It’s phosphate-free, although the sodium and potassium content is similar to other leavening agents.

Measuring kidney-friendly ingredients

Measuring out the ingredients properly is essential for successful baking. Here are some tips for measuring kidney-friendly ingredients: 

  • Get the right sized measuring cups and spoons as well as the right pan sizes.
  • Stir flour before you measure it out. Sifting flour is necessary if the recipe calls for it.
  • Use a clear measuring cup for liquid measurements. If you use liquids that are sticky, such as honey or syrup, spray the measuring cup or spoon with cooking spray beforehand for easy cleanup.
  • Level off any overflowing ingredients, such as flour, so that the measurement is exact; use a butter knife or spatula to do this.
  • Use a baking thermometer to check the temperature of your baked goods.

Other tips for baking on the kidney diet

  • Read the recipe carefully and think about it as a formula that works best when exact measurements and steps are followed.
  • Have your baking tools laid out in front of you for easy accessibility.
  • Preheat the oven before you mix your ingredients. Get the appropriate sized pan.
  • When checking to see if cake, cupcakes and quick breads are fully baked, poke the item in the center with a toothpick and slowly take it out. No crumbs or very few crumbs sticking to the toothpick usually indicate that the baked item is ready.
  • Follow the recipe directions on how long to cool a baked item before removing it from the pan and before adding icing.

What can I eat at the bakery?

Here are some bakery foods that are kidney-friendly: 

  • Sugar cookies
  • Shortbread cookies
  • Vanilla wafers
  • Vanilla cake
  • Angel food cake
  • Lemon cake
  • Apple pie
  • Blueberry pie
  • Peach pie
  • Yeast breads made with white flour (white, sourdough, French and Italian breads, cinnamon rolls)
  • Bagels

Your dietitian can guide you on the best choices from the bakery.

Baked recipes for the kidney diet

Here are some recipes from DaVita.com/Recipes to help you begin.

Breakfast

Lunch

Snack

Dinner

Dessert

Related kidney diet education articles on DaVita.com


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