What is a Thanksgiving meal, (or fall season) with out dessert? Sometimes finding alternatives to the common fall favorites can be challenging. Many classic fall favorite desserts contain very high amounts of potassium. With chronic kidney disease (Stage 4 and 5) a general potassium level to aim for is less than 200 mg per serving with a total around 2,000 to 3,000 mg per day. People with earlier stage CKD can consume more potassium.
Here are some examples of some common ingredients and their potassium content found in pumpkin-type fall desserts:
|Serving Size||Potassium Content|
|Canned Pumpkin||1 cup||505 mg (yikes!)|
|Gingerbread Cake||1 piece||325 mg (and most of us don’t stop at 1 piece…)|
|Molasses||1 tablespoon||293 mg (For 1 measly tablespoon!!!)|
|Pumpkin Spice||1 tablespoon||36.5 mg (Whew! Finally one low in potassium!)
As we see these options can be rather (or really really!) high in potassium. For pumpkin-based dishes you can usually substitute spaghetti squash, which is usually much lower in potassium. But another great alternative for that quintessential fall pumpkin flavor is pumpkin pie spice (which contains a very low 36.5 mg of potassium per one tablespoon). Finding ways to incorporate this spice mixture into some of your fall dishes is a great way to enjoy the essence of pumpkin without the high potassium found in pumpkin itself.
One of our favorite recipes is pumpkin spice meringue taken from Elana’s Pantry. Simple, and easy this is a perfect little treat for the holidays. It is also a great option to take to parties or have at family gatherings since meringues tend to store very well.
This particular recipe incorporates pumpkin spice to a rather basic meringue cookie recipe. Other great variations would be using flavors such as peppermint or adding cocoa powder which contains 80 mg of potassium per one tablespoon.
We found the initial shaping of the meringues to be a rather comical process since none of us are expert pastry chefs. The stiffness of the egg whites is important, and determining the right consistency may take a little practice. But, eventually we found the piping tip (use a BIG tip) was the trick to making the meringues look cute and delicious. Of course, you can play around with this step and try different shapes or designs. Have fun with it enjoy this delicious little holiday treat!
Low Potassium Pumpkin Spice Meringue
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/8 ground nutmeg
- In a medium pot, combine egg whites and maple syrup
- Turn flame on to lowest setting possible
- Using a hand blender with whisk attachment, whisk 4-5 minutes, until stiff glossy peaks form
- Blend in spices
- Fit a pastry bag with a ⅜-inch round tip (Ateco #804) and fill bag with meringue
- Pipe meringue kisses 1-inch in diameter onto parchment paper lined baking sheets
- Bake at 200° for 2 hours
We loved these melt-in-your mouth treats! They are sweet so stopping at 2 is really no problem. However, we did found ourselves ourselves snitching later on. Since meringues are so versatile, there plenty of other flavor profiles you can put with them. Other than pumpkin pie spice, great alternative tastes that fit with this recipe include sprinkling with crushed candy-cane or adding some vanilla extract for a vanilla treat. Other flavor-extracts in small amounts would work well with this recipe (coconut, orange, maple, etc…).
Photo Credits: Rebecca Barksdale
Article: Rebecca Barksdale and Jessianna Saville, MS, RDN, LD