There are many ways to start a diet consisting of high potassium foods. Probably the best and most thorough way to start is by making a list of what you eat now and finding high potassium food substitutes. However there are multiple other easier ways to start. One way that is relatively easy is to eliminate the obviously processed foods. These are the foods that come in boxes, cans, or plastic wrap. Sodium is usually added to prolong shelf life.
What are some of the foods that come in boxes? These include ready-to-eat cereals, chips, crackers, and multiple other dry foods. The processing of these foods inevitably involves adding sodium chloride – salt. With few exceptions these are all high sodium and low potassium foods.
What foods can be substituted for these? The best substitutes are whole foods. For ready-to-eat cereals, whole oats can be substituted. For chips, you can substitute homemade potato chips. By slicing a potato into thin slices and coating with a little bit of olive oil, you can bake the slices to result in a crispy high potassium snack with no added salt.
Substituting whole-grain foods for some of the dry foods can be done with a little creativity. For example, quinoa or another high potassium grain can be substituted in many dishes for most types of pasta. Cooked rice (not instant or polished – they have a poor ratio) has a good potassium sodium ratio, but loses much of its potassium when cooked. Although the ratio is good, the amount of potassium you get is small.
The majority of canned foods, whether vegetables, fruits, or legumes, will be high in sodium. Substituting the fresh whole variety will markedly shift the potassium sodium ratio. An alternative is to look for canned foods that show 0 mg or a very small amount of sodium on the label. Although most fresh vegetables, fruits, and legumes are high potassium foods, their canned varieties are not.
Many of the foods that are wrapped in plastic are high in sodium. However if a high potassium food in the plastic bag is fresh and simply washed, it should still be a high potassium food. Many vegetables and fruits are now coming wrapped in plastic. Often poultry and fish that are only frozen without other preservatives may come wrapped. But check the amount of sodium on the label. Sometimes they have been injected with salt for additional shelf life.
Low Sodium Alternatives
Because of the emphasis on low-sodium diets, more and more low-sodium alternatives are being found in boxed, canned and plastic wrapped varieties. If the label says there is no sodium, it may be an acceptable high potassium food. However if it simply says reduced sodium or low-sodium, be sure to check the label for the amount of sodium. A reduced sodium teriyaki sauce or soy sauce will still have a great deal of sodium.