10 Summertime Treats and Beverages for CKD Patients
Marika Wamback, BSc. R.D.
Summer is upon us! The management of CKD is constant regardless of the season; however, summer can have its unique challenges. Summertime food and treats are everywhere. This can present unique challenges to managing your fluid restrictions and renal diet needs.
It can be overwhelming to keep wondering ‘what can I have?’ It can also be isolating when you feel like you can’t have something. When it’s super hot out, plain water is ok but sometimes you want something more refreshing and exciting.
Try some of the ideas below to put some fun and variety in your summer and not sabotage managing your CKD. Remember, all of them count as fluids, so be sure to include them in your daily fluid allowance.
- Snow-cones: Snow-cones are as much a part of summer as ice-cream and can be a refreshing summer treat if you have CKD. Snow-cones are made from crushed ice with a squirt of flavoring on them. They are a fluid, so if you are following a fluid restriction, they will need to be counted into your daily fluid consumption. A small one may help you enjoy summer treats without over-doing your fluid intake. Use sugar-free syrups if you’re diabetic.
- Clear diet pop: Clear diet pop does not contain phosphorus additives like most dark pops. Cold, clear diet pop can be refreshing and thirst quenching. The lack of excess sugar can help control diabetes, plus prevent excess consumption, as sugary items can cause thirst.
- Flavored ice cubes: Make flavored ice cubes by adding berries to water, mixing half water and half low sugar juice, using diet clear pop, flavored seltzer, homemade iced tea or iced coffee. They can be a refreshing treat to suck on, add to your water to flavor it, or to let melt and sip.
- Popsicles: What is summer without popsicles? Popsicles are loved by kids and adults. Most popsicles are sugar water with some coloring; some are made with juice. Low potassium juices include cranberry juice, grape juice, apple juice and pineapple juice. If you need to watch your potassium, avoid popsicles made with orange juice, mango juice, and coconut water. Always check the label before purchasing-look for items that contain less than 200mg of potassium per serving. All popsicles, regardless of the sugar source, count as a carbohydrate serving if you’re diabetic, unless they are sugar-free. If you make homemade popsicles, be sure to use the low potassium juices listed above. Small popsicle moulds can help with portion size to monitor fluid and sugar needs. To make blended flavors try adding items such as berries, cucumber slices, lemon slices, or cranberries.
- Freezies: Freezies are another summer staple. Freezies are mostly sugar water with some coloring. The challenge with Freezies can be their portion size. The larger the Freezie, the more fluid and sugar is consumed. To enjoy them, buy the small ones–it’s an easy way to beat the heat, and watch your fluid and sugar portions.
- Seltzers and sparkling waters: These carbonated beverages can be used to make your own summer beverages or they can be consumed as is. They are usually low in potassium, sodium and sugar but always read labels to make sure they fit into your CKD diet. A small amount of low potassium juices can be mixed with these items to make a refreshing summertime beverage. Low potassium fruits can also be added.
- Homemade Iced-Tea: Many pre-packaged iced teas contain added phosphorus. You can avoid this by steeping it at home yourself. After steeping and chilling a large pot of tea, add a few lemon slices and some sweetener to make your own. If you’re diabetic, use artificial sweetener to control blood sugars. If you use regular sugar, try to use as little as possible. Sugar, no matter the source, can cause more thirst.
- Homemade Iced-Coffee: Prepared iced coffee can be high in sugar, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium due to the use of sugary syrups and dairy. Chill your own brewed coffee, add some sweetener and some non-dairy beverage or creamer, such as non-enriched rice milk. For flavor variety, try sugar-free syrups.
- Smoothies: Purchased smoothies can be high in potassium, calcium, and phosphorus due to the mix of fruits and use of dairy. Make your own smoothie with low potassium fruits and a non-dairy beverage such as non-enriched rice milk or non-enriched nut milks. Remember to watch portion sizes as the potassium can add up if the portion is too large. A portion of a smoothie is a small amount-no more than ½-1 cup (4 to 8 ounces).
- Ice-Cream: Ice-cream is another summer staple. Cones, sundaes, ice-cream cake, ice-cream sandwiches, and other ice-cream treats are everywhere and can be difficult to avoid. A portion of ice-cream is a ½ cup or 4 ounces. It may be allowed in your renal diet if your labs are stable as ice-cream contains calcium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Be cautious with ice cream toppings on ice-cream as they are high in sugar, which can be dehydrating. Chocolate and nuts contain potassium and phosphorus. Some fruits toppings may also be high in potassium. Use low potassium fruits for a fruit topping such as berries, apples, and grapes.
Alcoholic beverages: Consult with your team regarding alcohol consumption. You may have to avoid alcohol for a variety of reasons.
With a little planning, you can enjoy summer with a variety of beverage and summer treat choices. Ask questions and consult with your health care team. If the weather is too hot for you, be sure to stay where it is cool, so you stay safe, stay hydrated, and stay healthy with CKD.
The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. KidneyChef urges you to seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. KidneyChef advises you to never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or local emergency service immediately. KidneyChef does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the website. KidneyChef does not guarantee the accuracy of information on the Website and reliance on any information provided by KidneyChef is solely at your own risk.