Kidney Diet Tips

Dunkin’ with Pumpkin for Halloween

Happy Halloween! Autumn is filled with colorful leaves, crisp air, and pumpkin—as decorations and in foods. Pumpkin, notoriously touted as a higher potassium food, is often limited for the hemodialysis diet. However, there are many recipes that include a small amount of pumpkin. If the potassium content is low enough (generally less than 250 mg per serving for a dessert or side dish and less than 600 mg for an entree) these recipes can be acceptable for a low potassium diet. Check with your dietitian to find out what the acceptable amount of potassium is for your diet.

Potassium in Pumpkin

One cup of canned pumpkin contains 505 mg potassium. Most recipes include 1/2 to 1 cup of pumpkin. For a recipe with 1 cup of pumpkin that makes 4 servings, each portion has 1/4 cup of pumpkin which contributes 127 mg potassium.

Here is the potassium content of other pumpkin products:

  • 1 cup fresh pumpkin, boiled and mashed = 564 mg potassium
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin pie mix = 540 mg potassium
  • 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seed kernels = 465 mg potassium
  • 1/2 cup roasted whole pumpkin seeds = 294 mg potassium

Pumpkin may be encouraged for those on the peritoneal dialysis diet, especially if potassium blood levels run low. Your dietitian will provide guidance on including pumpkin in your diet.

With the pumpkin spice craze that is upon us, it may be hard to not enjoy this favorite fall flavor. My dialysis patients enjoy this lower potassium version of pumpkin whip dip.

Pumpkin Whip Dip


  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • -1-1/2 cups pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 4 ounces sour cream
  • 4 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Cream together the softened cream cheese, brown sugar and pumpkin.
  2. Add the sour cream, whipped topping and spices. Whip with a mixer until blended and smooth.
  3. Refrigerate overnight before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
  4. Try Pumpkin Whip Dip with shortbread cookies, vanilla wafers, animal crackers, apple slices, pear slices or ginger snaps.

Helpful hints

  • To reduce fat, substitute low-fat or fat-free cream cheese, sour cream and whipped dessert topping.
  • If you have diabetes or need lower carbs, substitute with a sugar-free low calorie sweetener.

Recipe makes 4 cups of dip (16 servings) Serving size 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons).

Nutrients per serving:

  • Calories 94
  • Protein 1 g
  • Carbohydrate 9 g
  • Fat 6 g
  • Cholesterol 11 mg
  • Sodium 30 mg
  • Potassium 74 mg
  • Phosphorus 22 mg
  • Calcium 26 mg
  • Fiber 0.8 g

More Recipes

DaVita dietitians have created additional recipes with the pumpkin taste that are still in the kidney-friendly range for potassium. Go to to find:

Enjoy the season and join the pumpkin craze in a safe and renal-friendly way!

Halloween Candy

Trick-or-Treat means either buying candy to give away or bringing candy home from a Halloween event. Learn more about the best candy choices for Halloween.


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.

Lynn Taylor MS, RD, LD

Lynn Taylor MS, RD, LD

Lynn is an avid kayaker. In her free time she loves trying new recipes, biking, gardening and traveling.