Eating for high potassium

If you learn that you have high potassium, your doctor might suggest that you change your diet to take in less potassium.

Talk to your doctor or dietitian about how much potassium you should have and how you can control how much potassium you eat. Your dietitian can recommend foods that are low in potassium that you can eat instead of foods that are high in potassium.

Follow these tips to keep your potassium at the right level:

  • Avoid salt substitutes because they are usually high in potassium.
  • Do not forget about drinks. Many fruit juices, like orange and tomato, have high potassium. Potassium can also be found in other drinks including coconut water.
  • Pay attention to serving sizes. Use measuring cups and measuring spoons to make sure you know how many servings you are eating or drinking. Remember that if you eat two servings of a food with potassium, you are eating twice as much potassium!

To manage your potassium intake, you need to know how much potassium is in your food and drinks.

  • Packaged foods must have nutrition labels, but potassium is not always listed on the label. If you do not see potassium listed on the nutrition label, check the list of ingredients on the package. If the word potassium or an abbreviation for potassium (K, KCl or K+) is listed, there is potassium in the food.
  • Starting in July 2020, potassium values will be listed on food nutrition labels. You can read more about these changes here.
  • Fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and some dairy products do not have nutrition labels. Ask your dietitian for a list of high-potassium foods and lower potassium options.

Plan ahead if you know you will be eating a meal that is high in potassium. For example, if you are going out for dinner and you know your meal will be higher in potassium, or you know that it will be hard to measure how much potassium is in your meal, plan to eat meals that are low in potassium for breakfast and lunch.

When eating out, choose a restaurant that will make changes or substitutions in their dishes. Bring a list of low potassium foods with you that the restaurant can substitute out for other items. Use this sample potassium log to start tracking how much potassium you eat at each meal.

Foods HIGH in potassium include:

Bananas
Potatoes
Beans
Fish
Cheese
Poultry
Nuts

Foods LOW in potassium include:

Some Fruits
Some Vegetables
Bread
Rice
Pasta