Time Flies!!

It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been a year since I started doing a blog for the Kidney Foundation of Canada! This August I’m busy getting ready for “back to school” with my children and am excited about participating in the Kidney Foundation’s Walk for Life in September.

A year later headlines and health news reports continue to be full of sodium news and reports about the food industry’s response (or lack of response) to the call to reduce sodium in packaged foods. I’m excited to see more and more companies committing to lowering the sodium in their food but I can’t help but think label reading is going to be even more challenging for kidney patients in the years to come.

Some low sodium products have additives that can be a concern for kidney patients. Potassium Chloride (KCl) is commonly used to give a “salty” flavour. For those on a potassium restriction, this can be quite dangerous. Most products don’t list potassium in their “Nutrition Facts” table so the only way to know is to read the list of ingredients.

Phosphates or phosphorus are also used in low sodium products and are even harder to find on the label. The ingredients list may have phosphoric acid, sodium phosphate, sodium hexametaphosphate or many other types of “phos” ingredients. If you see these phosphates on your ingredients list, try a different product!

I often hear people say that they don’t worry about these things as long as they are at the end of the ingredients list. But what makes food additives different than food ingredients is that they do not have to be listed by amount and can be found in any order on the list. It’s important to scan the ingredients lists for any questionable additives.

The recipe below uses the convenience of frozen tart shells but gives you the taste of homemade. These simple tarts have two very delicious toppings to choose from and are surprisingly quick to make and impressive to serve. Enjoy!

Amaretto Berry Tart Duet (yields 12 servings)
12 mini tart shells (frozen)
2 cups berries (fresh or frozen)
2 tsp amaretto (optional)
1 tsp cornstarch

In a saucepan, cook berries over medium heat. Once berries start to break down, mix amaretto and cornstarch together, and add to warm berries to thicken. Spoon mixture into tart shells.

1 tart =  1 starch choice, 1 sugar choice
1 tart if using Splenda = 1 starch choice

Cobbler Topping
½ cup unsalted butter (cold)
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar*
¼ cup white sugar
(or substitute brown and white sugar with ½ cup Splenda)

Mix all ingredients by hand until butter is evenly distributed. Spoon topping over fruit tarts and bake at 350°F for approximately 15-20 minutes.

* Brown sugar is higher in potassium and phosphorus than white sugar so using a combination of white and brown sugar will still give you the great taste while lowering the potassium.

Meringue Topping
1/4 cup pasteurized egg whites
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar together until frothy. Slowly whisk in sugar and continue to whisk until firm peaks are formed. Spoon meringue over baked berry tarts. Place under broiler until meringue becomes golden.

Recipes developed by Chef Leslie Cairns

Leave a Reply