Don't Let Your Child's Kidney Disease Get in the Way of Halloween Festivities

By Karen Dunker, RD

​Scare the kids but not the kidneys with Halloween activities and sweets that the whole family can enjoy. Should your child with kidney disease go trick-or-treating? Why not! Walking around the neighborhood while trick-or-treating is a good way to incorporate physical activity. 

 

What candy is safe to eat? 

Kids with kidney disease can still enjoy many Halloween treats and candies, but moderation is key. If you need to limit the amount of dietary potassium and phosphorus, here are some general tips to help. Most hard, gummy and chewy candies are okay, including gummy bears, jelly beans, taffy, Starburst®, and Skittles®. Caramel contains a moderate amount of phosphorus, so candies with caramel are usually okay, but portion control is especially important. Avoid candies with chocolate and/or nuts – including peanut butter (high in phosphorus and potassium), and coconut (high in potassium). *As always, please speak with your physician and renal dietitian to see what's right for you and your body. If you have diabetes, please note that these candies consist of mostly sugar, so please consult your dietitian regarding carbohydrate counting before consuming any of these sweets.

What about kid-friendly Halloween activities for kids on dialysis?

Visit a pumpkin patch or haunted house. Take a hay ride to explore the pumpkin patch or fill your day with frights at the haunted house. Often community zoos and farms offer haunted houses and hay rides during the season and are open on the weekends, so plan ahead to work around dialysis schedules. Apple cider is kidney-friendly and will surely warm you up during a visit!

Can my child eat any pumpkin treats? 

Pumpkin seeds are a great super food and pumpkin puree can be used in cooking. For those with kidney disease, it's important to note that pumpkin seeds are high in potassium and phosphorus and pumpkin puree is high in potassium. If you or your child need to limit these ingredients in your diet, check with your doctor or renal dietitian to see if pumpkin seeds and pumpkin purees are okay.