Kidney-friendly sweet treat: flavoured rice cakes with cream cheese
Thankfully rice cakes have come a long way since their dry, joyless days.
Try a couple of apple & cinnamon, berry or chocolate-flavoured rice cakes, each topped with a teaspoon-sized smear of cream cheese and slices of strawberries or blueberries for a satisfyingly sweet, creamy and crunchy snack. We suggest sandwiching two rice cakes together to prevent mess if you're packing a snack to eat on the go!
Kidney-friendly sweet treat: apple pie-ish
Apples are low in potassium, making them a great snack whether cooked or raw.
Make a batch of homemade apple sauce or stewed apples to store in your fridge. Simply peel and core apples, pop them in a pot with a splash of water and cook over a medium heat, checking, stirring and topping up with water if needed so as not to burn. Feel free to add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or a splash of vanilla extract (not essence) if you like. The more you cook them, the saucier they’ll become. Then, when the craving hits, top a scoop of cooked apple with a dollop of Greek/plain yoghurt, a sprinkle or two of cinnamon and nutmeg, half a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a small handful of granola and a crumbled ginger biscuit for a satisfying apple pie-like snack.
Cooked apples freeze very well. Let them cool completely, then portion them up in plastic containers or individual freezer bags before placing them in your freezer.
Kidney-friendly sweet treat: chocolate-covered strawberries
Kidney Kitchen kidney dietitian Angeline Taylor suggests going for something chocolate-coated or chocolate-covered like a Kit Kat, Breakaway or Blue Riband bar, rather than a solid chocolate bar, when attempting to satisfy cravings and minimise the potassium and phosphate.
Chocolate-covered strawberries are easy to make at home and will keep for up to a week in the fridge. In a heat-safe bowl over a pot of simmering water, add milk or dark chocolate squares or chocolate chips and stir with a wooden chopstick to melt. Then, using the stems of the strawberries to hold, dip clean and patted-dry strawberries into the chocolate, turning and coating with chocolate. Lay on a parchment paper covered tray to dry and harden.
Kidney-friendly sweet treat: cinnamon and sugar pitta crisps
Homemade or shop-bought pitta crisps are another excellent crunchy snack.
To make at home, brush wholewheat pitta breads with a small amount of olive oil or melted butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, then put onto a wire rack in a hot oven (180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4) until golden and crisp. Allow to fully cool before breaking into bits and storing in an air-tight container.
Kidney-friendly sweet treat: sweet and salty popcorn
Not only is popcorn customisable, but it also satisfies that crunchy craving.
Pick up a shop readymade bag or make your own at home for more direct control. Season with a sprinkle of chilli flakes or cinnamon for a lower salt and sugar alternative.
To make popcorn over the hob add about a teaspoon of neutral oil (like vegetable or sunflower oil) to a large pot over a medium high heat. After a minute or so, add half a mug’s worth of popcorn kernels and put the lid on the pot. Swirl the kernels around in the hot oil to coat, then wait until you hear them start to pop. Shake the pot to keep from burning. If about three seconds pass and nothing pops, it’s done and remove from heat; take off the lid and tip into a bowl to season. Let the popcorn cool completely before packing a few handfuls into travel-sized resealable bags to eat while on the move.
Cottage cheese with fresh pineapple and cinnamon
A few tablespoons of cottage cheese with about 80g of fresh or tinned pineapple is a satisfying sweet and creamy combination with all the flavour profiles of a baked cheesecake, especially when topped with cinnamon and a crumbled digestive or ginger biscuit.
You can also try this combination with fresh or tinned peaches, pears, or mandarins; drain and discard the juice or syrup.
Sweet snacks: making kidney-friendly choices
Though homemade treats are encouraged whenever possible, there are also good choices at the nearest supermarket or corner shop.
- When reaching for a pack of biscuits, go for a plain digestive, ginger nut, shortbread or oat biscuit.
- In search of a chocolate fix? Try something plain that has chocolate chips, rather than densely chocolaty.
- Dry cereals like multi-grain Cheerios or Shreddies are great for on-the-go snacking, or choose from a variety of pre-made popcorn flavours.
Lastly, taking a moment to fully enjoy whatever treat you choose is the secret ingredient, guaranteed to make everything taste a little better.