Food Trends: Creating a Kidney-Friendly Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie board. Cheese platter: Parmesan, caciocavallo, camembert and other with prosciutto, salami, fruits and nuts. Assortment of tasty appetizers or antipasti. Top view.

Submitted by Lauren Kapphahn, RD, Coordinator, Community Programs, Kidney Foundation

Charcuterie boards have been a major food trend for the last few years – on social media, recipe websites and cookbooks, and in restaurants all over the world. They can be a fun way to add some variety into your regular meal rotation and serve a multitude of purposes: enjoy them as an appetizer, a grazing platter for guests, or a main course for one or more people. But what exactly is a charcuterie board, and how can you prepare one with kidney-friendly ingredients?

What is a charcuterie board?

Technically, “charcuterie” specifically refers to an array of prepared meats. However, as the charcuterie board trend has evolved, it’s become popular to add other foods to the platter, too: cheeses, olives, nuts, crackers, bread, and fruit are amongst the most common. These items are typically served together on the same platter, traditionally a wooden serving or cutting board. Charcuterie boards can be as simple or as complex as you need or want them to be. Many people also choose to make their charcuterie boards into an artful display by arranging the food in visually appealing ways.

Create your charcuterie board with these kidney-friendly options:

  • Grilled or roasted chicken or turkey, sliced or cubed
  • Brie
  • Slices of cheddar, mozzarella, or Swiss cheese (limit intake to 1oz/day if you have phosphorous restrictions)
  • Cream cheese dip, like our Herbed Cream Cheese recipe Herbed Cream Cheese Toasts – Kidney Community Kitchen
  • Halved hard boiled eggs
  • Unsalted crackers and/or pretzels
  • Sliced baguette
  • Fruit jams and jellies
  • Sliced pear or apple, berries, grapes, and/or sliced peaches or plums
  • Grilled or roasted red pepper strips
  • Sliced cucumber

Foods you may need to limit*

  • Salted crackers – high in sodium (salt)
  • Olives – high in sodium
  • Nuts – high in potassium, high in sodium if salted
  • Apricots, raw and dried – high in potassium
  • Nectarines – high in potassium
  • Dried fruits – may be high in potassium
  • Seasoned or processed meats containing phosphate additives – high in phosphorous
  • Processed cheeses – high in phosphorous

*Talk to your dietitian or kidney health team to know more about nutrients that you may need to limit. Each person with kidney disease is different, and so we do not advise limiting foods or nutrients unless you have received advice from your health care team to do so.

Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Mix and match from the list of kidney-friendly foods above and try out different ingredients and flavour combinations. Remember, your charcuterie board can always be adjusted to your preferences and your budget. There are no rules – you can even try creating a vegetarian or vegan-friendly “charcuterie” board! Take inspiration from the trend by creating a sweet charcuterie-inspired dessert board. Try combining fruit, vanilla wafer cookies, and/or small slices of angel food cake for a delicious end to any meal!