Kidney Diet Tips

Kidney-Friendly Pizza for National Cheese Pizza Day

The start of September typically means fall is just around the corner. The weather starts to get cooler and the leaves begin to change. Before the apple picking and pumpkin eating ensues, opt for a slice of kidney-friendly pizza instead! Did you know September 5th is National Cheese Pizza Day? Pizza is not always included on kidney-friendly diets because of its high sodium, phosphorus and potassium content. So, celebrate in a healthier way with these delicious tips and recipes.

Homemade Pizza vs. Store-bought

Homemade pizza is the way to go when choosing what type of pizza to eat. Typical store-bought or delivery pizza is often topped with high sodium and high phosphorus meats and cheeses as well as high potassium tomato sauces. These nutrients can be harmful to one’s health if consumed in excess. For example, high sodium foods can lead to excess swelling, heart failure and shortness of breath. If store-bought is the only option, check the nutrition label first. Try to avoid pizzas with a high sodium content. Don’t forget to also stick to the serving size listed on the label. Eating more than the suggested serving size means that you are also eating more of the nutrients listed. In terms of pizza dough, try to make your own to boost the nutritional value of your pizza. Try this Easy Pizza Dough recipe or choose a pizza dough with a lower sodium content and minimal phosphate additives .

Limit the Cheese

Even though you can’t typically see phosphorus on the nutrition label, dairy products, including cheese, contain phosphorus. Cheese is normally high in sodium as well. When it comes to pizza, it might be hard to cut back on the cheese, however, your body will thank you. If you are making your own pizza, sprinkle on a small amount of cheeses such as 1 oz. of feta, sharp cheddar or shredded parmesan. These cheeses are lower in phosphorus and provide less than 100mg of phosphorus per serving.

Pile on the Veggies

To add fiber and flavor, try adding raw or roasted vegetables on top of your pizza. Vegetables are the ideal topping because they are typically low in sodium, phosphorus and potassium. Broccoli, peppers, onions and mushrooms can be great additions to a delicious pizza. For a quick and delicious option, try this  Vegetarian Pizza recipe.

Skip the Tomatoes

Tomatoes are usually an essential when it comes to pizza. If you are following a kidney-friendly diet, you know this should not be the case for you! Tomato products, like pizza sauce and chopped tomatoes, contain high amounts of potassium, which may cause high potassium levels if you require a low potassium diet. Instead of spreading regular tomato sauce on your pizza, opt for a lighter option like olive oil and garlic or try a tomato sauce alternative like this  Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Sauce. 

Pizza is a popular meal in many households, however it is not always the healthiest option. Pizza can be enjoyed while following a kidney-friendly diet! Check out these healthier pizza alternatives to help you stay on track. Happy National Cheese Pizza Day!


Additional Kidney Diet Resources

Visit and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

DaVita Food Analyzer

DaVita Dining Out Guides

Today’s Kidney Diet Cookbooks

DaVita Kidney-Friendly Recipes

Diet and Nutrition Articles                                                      

Diet and Nutrition Videos

Kidney Smart® Virtual Classes

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Kellsey Reed RDN, LDN

Kellsey Reed RDN, LDN

Kellsey Reed RDN, LDN has been a dietitian for three years, working in the acute-care, long-term care, and dialysis settings. She is a Philadelphia-based dietitian who loves to travel, bake, and spend time with her two cats Chia and Mr. Flax. Kellsey has a passion for helping others learn more about all things nutrition-related!