Eating a Kidney-Friendly Diet for Hanukkah

As the end of each year approaches, many people around the world celebrate the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah, also known as The Festival of Lights. Food is a significant part of this celebration, and traditionally, meals are prepared using higher amounts of fat, salt, and sugar. In fact, fried foods are an important part of the Hanukkah tradition to celebrate the small amount of oil that miraculously burned for 8 days when the Jewish Temple was rededicated. This can be a challenge for individuals who are attempting to follow a kidney-friendly diet. However, with a few, simple strategies, you can enjoy Hanukkah with loved ones, while also maintaining an appropriate diet for your kidneys!

As you get ready to enjoy Hanukkah, keep your everyday healthy habits in mind. Continue to read labels, checking for phosphorus and potassium additives. Reduce sodium in foods by cooking more often at home and trying fresh or dried herbs and spices for greater health benefits.

  1. Choose lower fat cooking and baking methods – Some Hanukkah desserts are deep fried such as donuts (sufganiyot) or call for high fat ingredients such as cream cheese (rugelach) and butter (sugar cookies). In keeping with tradition, you can prepare these desserts but modifying cooking methods to make fritters or use recipes for baked goods that are lower in added fat, such as jelly-filled muffins. By baking at home, you can also keep the individual portions of the muffins smaller than found in the grocery store. Continue to enjoy desserts, like Chocolate Gelt (golden coins made of chocolate) in small quantities, and balance treats with plenty of fruit.
  2. Read labels and choose foods without additives – Many prepared baking mixes such as those for latkes, muffins, and cookies may contain higher amounts of sodium, as well as potassium and phosphate additives. Reading the list of ingredients of packaged foods will help you choose options that are more suitable for your dietary needs. Remember that some labels do not contain potassium or phosphate on the Nutrition Facts Table, so checking ingredient lists will be important. Remember that foods such as chocolate are also high in potassium and phosphate, although this may not be listed on the label.
  3. Contribute a healthier option to the family meal – There will be many opportunities to celebrate with loved ones during Hanukkah, so why not share a healthier recipe? These zucchini latkes are low in fat, sodium, potassium and phosphorus, but delicious in taste!

Zucchini Latkes


  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 cup green onion
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose white flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Grate zucchini and chop green onion.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and add flour, mixing well.
  3. Add the zucchini and green onion and stir into the flour/egg mixture until well mixed.
  4. Add olive oil to a frying pan and heat. Drop a spoonful of the mixture into the oil, making 16 equal portions.
  5. Using a spatula, flatten the latkes and fry until brown on both sides.
  6. Drain on a paper towel to soak up extra oil.
  7. Serve hot and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Davita

Submitted by Kimberly Lam, Nutrition Student Volunteer Anja Webster, RD, and Dani Renouf, RD, MSc, CDE

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