Submitted by: Emily Campbell, RD CDE MScFN

The tent is pitched, the fire is burning, and the stars are visible above. But no camping excursion is complete without s’mores!

What exactly are s’mores? Well, s’mores are a popular camping treat consisting of a toasted marshmallow with a layer of chocolate between two pieces of graham cracker. 

This sweet, warm, and gooey treat will always get your fingers sticky and make you ask for more. And that is precisely how it got its name – “some more.” But who wouldn’t want more if you have gooey marshmallows and melted chocolate squished together between graham crackers?

While marshmallows and graham crackers are often listed as foods included in a renal diet, chocolate can be high in potassium and phosphorus. Depending on your stage of kidney disease, you may need to limit certain nutrients; your renal dietitian can help you determine this. 

S’mores are made with 2 squares of graham cracker, 1 square of dark chocolate, and 1 large marshmallow. One serving can contain 136 mg potassium, 27 mg phosphorus, 2 g protein and 80 mg sodium.

 When making your s’mores, here are some things to look out for: 

  • Graham crackers – be sure to read labels for phosphorus additives. This information can change often, so it is essential to check.
  • Size of the chocolate – larger pieces have more potassium and phosphorus than thin pieces or 1 Tablespoon mini chocolate chips.
  • Type of chocolate – choose milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate as it is lower in potassium and phosphorus. 
  • Chocolate fillings – chocolates with less chocolate, like Kit-Kat because of the wafer and Aero because of the bubbles, tend to be lower in potassium and phosphorus.
  • Chocolate alternatives – consider using ruby cocoa, white chocolate or butterscotch, which are lower in potassium and phosphorus and an excellent alternative for s’mores.

The secret to gooey s’mores is melting the chocolate on the graham cracker beside the campfire while roasting your marshmallow. For your next adventure, try these s’mores recipes.

Classic S’mores

1 rectangle (2 squares) graham crackers

 1 large marshmallow

1 Tablespoon (about 30 mini chips) mini chocolate chips

Makes 1 serving. Per serving: 24 mg potassium, 27 mg phosphorus, 78 mg sodium, 2 g protein, 25 g net carbohydrates

Butterscotch S’mores

1 rectangle (2 squares) graham crackers

1 large marshmallow

1 Tablespoon (about 30 mini chips) mini butterscotch chips

Makes 1 serving. Per serving: 31 mg potassium, 30 mg phosphorus, 88 mg sodium, 1.3 g protein, 24 g net carbohydrates

Not outdoors? S’mores can be prepared in the oven at home. Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a baking sheet with parchment paper, lay 1 square of graham cracker down and top with mini chips and the marshmallow. Bake until the marshmallow is fluffy and golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the oven and squish with the remaining graham cracker.

Choosing small portions of foods high in potassium and phosphorus can help all foods fit in a renal diet. If you have questions about your specific recommendations, speak with your renal team or ask for a referral to a registered dietitian. 

Emily Campbell is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and owner of Kidney Nutrition.