Renal Diet 101: Pizza
Most people, if not everyone, can’t deny having tasted at least a single slice of pizza.
The sight and aroma of the combination of cheese, bell pepper, tomatoes, and other choice ingredients on top of a circular flatbread, baked to goodness, is enough to make some stomachs growl in anticipation.
Truth be told, pizza has gone through a lot of changes and variations ever since it was first created in that, one can say, "there is a flavor of pizza for everyone."
But for someone with a kidney condition and on a renal diet, can pizza still be a food option?
A Brief History of the Flatbread
Modern day pizza, or the beginnings of it, started in Naples, Italy. This was based on the Greeks’ way of using bread for relishes. This was refined even further by Romans, where they used a sheet of fine flour, topped with cheese, honey, and bay leaves. Neapolitans also added tomatoes to the recipe.
However, it wasn’t until 1889 that cheeses became an official part of the pizza recipe. This was due to the Royal Palace’s request to Raffaele Esposito, a Neapolitan pizzaiolo, that he make a pizza for Queen Margherita’s visit. The result is a pizza greatly favored by the Queen, bearing the colors of Italy -- with basil (for green), mozzarella (for white), and tomatoes (for red).
Ever since then, pizza has gone through so many variations, especially when it was adopted as a beloved snack by the Americans.
Some common types and flavors of pizza are the following:
- Pizza Margherita (authentic Neapolitan pizza)
- pepperoni (most common topping in America)
- Hawaiian (pizza with pineapple chunks)
The (Nutrition) Facts
Unfortunately, for someone with CKD, pizza has a great amount of SPPP in it. Even if we look individually at a few of its most common ingredients, the numbers don't look good.
*USDA Values per 100 grams
*USDA Values per 100 grams
And that's just 4 of the most common ingredients. This doesn't even include the components used to make the bread itself, and the amount of salt needed to season the whole dish.
It's unfortunate, really, but if you want to slow down your kidney deterioration, pizzas are a no-no for you.
The good news is, you can try and cook your own version of pizza at home. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when making homemade pizza:
- Choose low-potassium toppings like green peppers, leeks, onions, and/or pineapples.
- Fresh meat toppings like chicken, beef, and some fish have lower sodium content compared to pepperoni, bacon, ham, and such.
- Avoid extra cheese toppings.
- As an alternative to tomatoes, try using garlic or pesto.
As a bonus, try this kidney-friendly pizza recipe:
Cold Veggie Pizza Snack
Low-protein recipe; Makes 20 servings
Satisfy your pizza cravings with this delightful vegetable recipe.
crescent roll dough
whipped cream cheese
low-fat Ranch salad dressing
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 13” x 9” x 2” baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Roll out both packs of crescent rolls onto the baking pan, forming into a single flat dough surface. Bake 10 to 15 minutes. Let stand until cool, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. In a bowl, beat cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Stir in the ranch dressing and garlic powder. Spread the mixture evenly over the crust.
4. Chop broccoli, cucumber and onion. Slice cherry tomatoes in half.
5. Arrange chopped vegetables on top of cream cheese mixture.
6. Cover pizza with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time. Slice 4 even vertical cuts and 5 horizontal cuts for 20 pieces.
American Pie: How a Neapolitan street food became the most successful immigrant of all by Hanna Miller - American Heritage; https://www.americanheritage.com/american-pie
A Guide to Making the Five Most Iconic Pizzas of All Time by Meghan Splawn - Kitchn; https://www.thekitchn.com/these-are-the-5-most-loved-pizza-toppings-ever-255458
Eating out on a Renal Diet - Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, Nottingham Children’s Hospital; https://www.emeesykidney.nhs.uk/images/Users/Dietetic_resources/Pead_-_eating_out_on_a_renal_diet.pdf