The RenalTracker Team
July 11, 2019

Who doesn't love desserts?

They're the most perfect way to end a full-course meal. Desserts are also a really common way to cool down, when the summers are hot. 

Blueberry Dessert

Problem is, being a CKD patient kinda limits your choices for dessert. Most tasty desserts, like ice cream or yoghurt, are rich in potassium and phosphorus. 

Choosing which dessert to have can be difficult, especially when you're eating out.

So, here are some advice that the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) can give you when choosing renal dessert options for your kidney disease: 

How to Pick Your Desserts When Eating Out

1. When in doubt, ask.

Often, desserts with elaborate preparations have hidden potassium and phosphorus in them due to certain ingredients that may have been added. 

To be sure, ask for a clear description of the desserts in their menu, and choose the ones with simple preparations.

It also wouldn't hurt if you inform the management of your kidney condition. Some restaurants do cater to the needs of CKD patients and will gladly make adjustments to your food.

2. Learn to share, minimize, or entirely avoid certain desserts.

A not-so-fun fact: desserts with chocolate, cream cheese, ice cream, or nuts carry high amounts of potassium and phosphorus. According to the USDA Nutrient Database:

Common Dessert Ingredient
(per 100 g)
(per 100 g)

chocolate, dark

715 mg

308 mg

cream cheese

132 mg

107 mg

ice cream, vanilla

199 mg

105 mg

nuts, mixed

632 mg

456 mg

Source: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

Friendly advice: if there are no other choices, you can either eat a small amount, share it with somebody, or just avoid it altogether.

3. Be careful with desserts that add to your daily fluid intake.

Healthy dessert choices for you may add to your daily fluid intake. Some of them are the following:

  • fruit ice
  • gelatin
  • sorbet
  • sherbet
Glasses of Strawberry sorbet

We recommend that you consult your doctor about establishing your fluid limits, if you haven't already, and talk about how much of these desserts you should take in.

4. Be careful with sweets.

It's not just your SPPP (sodium, protein, potassium, and phosphorus) that you should watch out for. You should also be careful with your sugar and carbohydrate intake, especially from sweets.

Jar of Candies

Advice: always consult your doctor or dietitian. They are more familiar with your specific needs.

Now you might be thinking: So, which desserts are good for me? And which other desserts should I avoid?

Good vs Poor Dessert Choices

To make this more direct and easier to understand, here's a long table of the good dessert choices versus the poor ones. Enjoy!

Good Choices
Poor Choices

(can be topped with whipped cream and low-potassium fruits)

angel food cake

carrot cake

apple cake

chocolate mousse cake

lemon cake

devil's food cake

pound cake


spice cake

German chocolate cake

white or yellow cake

other cakes rich in chocolate, coconut, dried fruits, or nuts

Cookies and Wafers

sugar cookies


Lorna Doones® cookies

chocolate cookies

vanilla wafers

coconut macaroons

lemon creme cookies


butter cookies


fruit ice

ice cream


frozen yoghurt


banana split

Fruit Desserts

(go for low-potassium fruits)



strawberry shortcake


gelatin desserts


Pies / Tarts

apple pie/tart

banana cream pie

blueberry pie/tart

chocolate cream

cherry pie/tart

coconut pie

lemon meringue pie

minced meat pie

strawberry pie/tart

pecan pie

pumpkin pie

sweet potato pie


Hopefully, this helps you decide which desserts to make at home, or order in a restaurant next time you eat out.

If you like, you may check out our own dessert recipes below:

The Bottomline

Having CKD doesn't mean you won't be able to enjoy eating anymore. Sure, you might be limited in your choices, but if you know where to find them, there are great choices all around. 


Desserts, pg. 14, Dining Out With Confidence; A Guide for Patients With Kidney Disease - National Kidney Foundation

Basic Report: 19904, Chocolate, dark, 70-85% cacao solids - US Dept. of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

Basic Report: 01017, Cheese, cream - US Dept. of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

Basic Report: 19095, Ice creams, vanilla - US Dept. of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

Basic Report: 12137, Nuts, mixed nuts, oil roasted, with peanuts, without salt added - US Dept. of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference