What to Eat at Christmas: Information for Kidney patients

What to Eat at Christmas: Information for Kidney patients

This is a guide to eating and drinking over Christmas if you have been asked to:

· Eat less potassium – to help prevent a high blood potassium level.

· Drink less fluid – to help your breathing and control fluid building up.

· Eat less salt – to reduce thirst and help control blood pressure.

Use this leaflet alongside your ‘Eating less potassium’ and ‘Managing fluid intake’ leaflets given to you by the dietitian.


What can I eat and drink during Christmas?

Here is information on some foods and drinks you can enjoy over the festive period.  It is still important to be careful with foods high in potassium and keep to your fluid allowance. 


  • Foods included here still provide potassium, salt, and phosphate so try not to eat in large amounts.
  • Count foods such as gravy, sauces and custard within your fluid allowance. 
  • Foods such as bacon, ham, sausages, stuffing, gravy, cheese and salted snacks can make you thirsty so eat in smaller portions.
  • If you have diabetes, you can include a portion of dessert and a sweet treat such as cake or biscuits or chocolate. Try to cut back on these afterwards.
  • If you are prescribed phosphate binders, take these with meals and snacks containing phosphate.
  • If you are eating away from home over Christmas, planning ahead can help you to choose suitable foods. Ask the dietitian if you would like to discuss ideas.
  • Try to cut back on festive foods and drinks after Christmas.


How can I include a high potassium food I like at Christmas?

You may be able to include a high potassium food by swapping this for another food. For example:

  • If you are eating a high potassium vegetable such as parsnips with your meal, boil first and eat in place of some potatoes.
  • If you eating a small amount of nuts, eat this in place of a fruit.
  • Cutting back on coffee, fruit juice or a milky drink will help to reduce potassium & fluid in case you do eat or drink a little more of other things.
  • Speak to the dietitian for more advice on food swaps.

Where can I find some recipe ideas?

The Kidney Care UK website has a range of recipes and can be found here: 



These also include a selection of low potassium Christmas recipes:

 Pear and white cheddar salad

Christmas Cake

Traditional mince pies

Gingerbread Christmas Log

Steamed Christmas pudding

Brie and cranberry parcels

Sausage Christmas tree

Turkey Curry

Chocolate profiteroles with Chantilly cream

Christmas pudding cheesecake

Christmas turkey crown with all the trimmings


Some recipes also low phosphate or low salt. You can check this under the ‘Nutrition’ section of each recipe.


If you are unable to look at the recipes on the Kidney Care UK website and would like a printed a copy of a particular recipe, please ask your renal dietitian for this.


Here are a few other festive low potassium recipes:

Low Potassium Christmas Pudding


8 oz/200g plain flour

1 apple, grated

1 carrot, grated

4 oz/100g sugar

4 oz/100g mixed peel

3 oz/75g glacé cherries

4 oz/100g white breadcrumbs

3 oz/75g tinned plums, drained and chopped

4 oz/100g tinned prunes, drained and chopped

2 teaspoons mixed spice

1 egg

6 fl oz/150ml milk

2 fl oz/50 ml brandy

Caramel colouring

2 teaspoons lemon juice



Mix the flour, apple, carrot, sugar, mixed peel, cherries, breadcrumbs, plums, prunes and mixed spice.


Add the milk, brandy, egg, a little caramel colouring and lemon juice.  Mix well. 


Line a pudding bowl with a floured pudding cloth and place the mixture in the centre.  Tie securely. 


Put into a large pan half filled with hot water and boil the pudding for 4 hours.  Cool and keep in the fridge.  Steam again for 4 hours before serving hot. 


Low Potassium Christmas Cake

This recipe makes a fruit cake with a lighter sponge and all the flavours of Christmas. It doesn’t need to mature like a traditional Christmas fruit cake. Serves 16.


10oz/250g glace cherries, quartered

10oz/250g mixed peel

8 oz/200g tinned prunes, drained and chopped

5 eggs

2 dessertspoons brandy/rum

½ teaspoon of almond essence (optional)

10oz/250g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

7oz/175g soft brown sugar

10oz/250g unsalted butter, softened

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground mixed spice



Place the cherries, mixed peel and prunes in a large bowl; add the brandy/rum and leave to soak overnight.


Grease a 7” (18cm) round cake tin, and double line with greaseproof paper. Preheat oven to 140oC/120oC fan assisted.


Beat the butter, sugar, flour, eggs and spices in a large mixing bowl until well combined.  Fold in the pre-soaked fruit and pour into the prepared cake tin.


Place a double layer of greaseproof paper loosely on top of the cake and bake in the oven for 3 ½ to 4 hours.  Remove greaseproof paper 15mins towards the end of cooking.


Leave to cool in the tin, and once cooled decorate with the icing of your choice. Store in an airtight container.


Orange & Cinnamon Icing for Christmas Cake

120g icing sugar         1tsp ground cinnamon

1tsp (5ml) water          2tsp (10ml) juice of an orange


Sieve the icing sugar together with 1 tsp cinnamon and mix with the water & juice of an orange. The icing should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. If it is too runny add a little extra sieved icing sugar, or if it is too thick then add a little more water.



If you would like to contact us, please call us during working hours: 8am-4pm Monday to Friday.


Renal Dietitians

Department of Nutrition & Dietetics

North Bristol NHS Trust

Level 6, Gate 10, Brunel Building

Southmead Hospital

Westbury on Trym

BS10 5NB

0117 4145428

Revised: November 2021. Review date: 2022

What to Eat at Christmas: Information for Kidney patients