Looking for a kidney friendly dessert this holiday season? Look no further than these perfectly spiced gingerbread balls! Not only are they super simple to make, they are full of ingredients that support kidney health.
What makes this holiday dessert so kidney friendly?
- This recipe has absolutely no added sugar. They’re plenty sweet thanks to the dates!
- It’s a great source of healthy fat from the nuts. We tried this recipe with cashews and almonds and both were a hit.
- Each little bite has 1.5 mg of Iron! An essential mineral for people with CKD. Find out why these little bites of goodness are an iron-rich treat!
Molasses- a kidney friendly sweetener for your holiday desserts!
Molasses is a byproduct of sugar making from either sugar cane or sugar beets. The Spruce Eats has a great overview of how molasses is made as well as a bit of molasses history. There are 3 different kinds of molasses:
Light- Light molasses is a product of the first boil and is the sweetest and lightest in color. It is also very thick. This is the type that is most commonly used for baking.
Dark– Dark molasses is what is produced after the second boiling of sugar cane or sugar beets. It is darker in color, lower in sugar, and thinner than light molasses.
Blackstrap- The byproduct of the 3rd and final boil, it is the darkest in color, contains the least amount of sugar and has a more bitter flavor. It is also higher in vitamins and minerals, and therefore has some nutritional benefits for people with CKD. This is the kind we typically recommend.
Blackstrap Molasses- a rich source of vitamins and minerals
Blackstrap molasses is one of our favorite kidney nutrition hacks for bumping up iron. Anemia is extremely common in people with kidney disease, getting enough iron in your diet can help! Check out the table below to see how the different types of molasses compare!
|Light- 1 tablespoon||308 mg||1.0 mg|
|Dark/Robust- 1 tablespoon||308 mg||1.0 mg|
|Blackstrap- 1 tablespoon||350 mg||3.0 mg|
We find that you can only use blackstrap molasses in small doses, so the bitter flavor is usually masked by other flavors that it is paired with. In this recipe, the wonderful spices and sweetness of the dates is at the forefront of flavors.
Worried about the potassium content of blackstrap molasses? While it’s true that there is more potassium in blackstrap molasses, a little goes a long way so you likely won’t be eating a full serving.Print
These delicious holiday spiced treats have no added sugar, they’re plenty sweet thanks to the dates. Try this recipe with either cashews or almonds!
Recipe developed and reviewed by Jessica Prohn, MS, RD, CSR, LDN
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1 cup roasted cashews
- 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces dark chocolate chips
1. Roughly chop the pitted dates and add them to a high powered blender or food processor. Blend until a rough paste forms.
2. Add in the roasted cashews, molasses, all the spices, and salt. Pulse just until cashews are broken down into small pieces and everything is well combined- not too smooth so the oils do not separate.
3. Take out mixture and roll into 12 small balls.
4. Melt chocolate in a microwave and drizzle over the gingerbread balls. Alternatively, you can dip the gingerbread balls into the chocolate. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy.
Note: Feel free to use your favorite seeds or nuts in this recipe. Cashews, pine nuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds are some higher iron nuts and seeds.
You may have heard that nuts, beans, and whole grains are not a great choice for a kidney-friendly diet because they are high in phosphorus. Wondering why we include them in many of our recipes? We include beans, nuts, and whole grains because only about 40% of phosphorus found in these plant foods are absorbed by humans. This makes them a good fit for most people’s diets! If you have questions about adding these foods to your diet please reach out to your dietitian.
Adapted from the recipe Gingerbread Energy Bites from Bakerita.
Sooo delicious! My whole family loved that these tasted like gingerbread cookies from the molasses and all of the spices. The drizzle of melted dark chocolate makes these healthy holiday treats even more decadent. We tried them while the chocolate was still melted and gooey but really enjoyed them when we let them sit in the fridge for an hour or so to let the chocolate harden. Let us know in the comments below if you give these a try!
Interested in learning more about what to eat for kidney health?
Join our monthly class to learn more about how nutrition can help slow or even stop the progression of kidney disease.
ALL information you read on KidneyRD.com is purely for informational and educational purposes. Information is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease.