Low-Phosphorus Holiday Treats: Desserts & Drinks

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis from a physician.

Family celebrations, workplace festivities and other social events offer great opportunities to show off your favorite holiday desserts and drinks. When making your own holiday goodies and beverages, remember that it’s better to create ones focused on limiting phosphorus, as well as modifying recipes to lower sodium and potassium content. To get started, here are some popular holiday food ingredients, their pitfalls and how to make them lower in phosphorus:





One cup of nuts equals 480-980 mg of potassium and 265-535 mg phosphorus. Be aware of the nuts in pralines and other nut-containing dishes.

Reduce nuts to 1/4 cup in cookie and quick-bread recipes to get the flavor without too much potassium and phosphorus. To spread the flavor, finely chop the nuts.

Two tablespoons of nut butters (almond, cashew and peanut) contain 73-100 mg of phosphorus.

Use nut butters sparingly in 1-2 teaspoon portions. Try cookie butter spread, which you can find at most grocery stores.


One cup of chocolate chips contains 500-750 mg of potassium and 190-500 mg of phosphorus. Milk chocolate is higher in phosphorus than semi-sweet chocolate chips. White chocolate chips have 486 mg of potassium and 299 mg of phosphorus.

Reduce chocolate chips to 1/4-1/2 cup in cookie and dessert recipes. Make blonde brownies and vanilla- or fruit-flavored desserts with a drizzle of dark chocolate. Dip low-potassium strawberries, apple slices or tangerine sections into chocolate to cover only half-way.


The more processed the cheese, the more sodium and phosphorus it contains. Cheese spreads such as Velveeta® and Cheez-Whiz® contain 230-350 mg of phosphorus and 425-540 mg of sodium in only one ounce.

Use natural and strong-flavored cheese but only in small amounts. Cream cheese is a low-potassium and low-phosphorus choice, but reduced fat and fat-free versions are higher in phosphorus and can be high in sodium. Two tablespoons of cheese spreads such as Alouette®, Rondele® and Fleur de Lait® have15-30 mg of phosphorus. Sodium varies between 65-200 mg, so always read labels.

Milk, cream and ice cream

Holiday eggnog, mixed drinks with milk or cream, café au lait, lattés, cappuccino, coffee shakes and ice cream floats add phosphorus and potassium to your diet, plus increase calories and saturated fat.

Substitute with dietitian-recommended brands of rice milk, soy milk or other specialty milks to lower phosphorus and potassium. Use sherbet or sorbet instead of ice cream and select lower fat products. A dollop of whipped cream to replace ice cream will lighten calories, fat, potassium and phosphorus. Look for brands without phosphorus additives. 


Alcohol can interact with medications, lead to excessive intake of calories and fluid, and cause intoxication resulting in poor self control—all of which can put a damper on holiday fun.

Consult your doctor about safely consuming alcohol. If given the green light, select drinks with lower potassium mixers and ask for less alcohol in mixed drinks. Make a spritzer with wine, sparkling soda and ice to reduce calories and alcohol. Order a “mocktail” instead of an alcohol-containing beverage. If you are on a fluid restriction, order a hot beverage or a chilled one with lots of ice and sip slowly.

Low-phosphorus holiday treats from DaVita dietitians

Collect recipes for this holiday season and focus on staying healthy and feeling your best. Check out these favorite desserts and drinks from DaVita’s kidney-friendly recipe collection, then get ready to celebrate. DaVita® dietitians have many holiday-themed treats for you to share on DaVita.com. For more ways to enjoy DaVita.com recipes, sign up for a myDaVita.com account.



Angel Cookies

Champagne Punch

Apple Bars

Caramel Protein Latte

Cheese Tarts

Fabulous Hot Chocolate

Cranberries in Snow

Ginger-Apple Sparkler

Easy Low-Phosphorus Fudge

Hazelnut Cinnamon Coffee

Gingerbread Apple Cobbler

Hot Holiday Cider (Low Sugar)

Old Fashioned Plum Cake

Hot Mulled Punch

Pumpkin Layer Cheesecake

Orange-Pineapple Sherbet Punch


Party Punch (Low Sugar)