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. Manufacturers add sodium 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 you substitute for these? The best substitutes are whole foods. For ready-to-eat cereals, you can substitute whole oats. 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.
You can substitute whole-grain foods for some of the dry foods by using a little creativity. For example, you can substitute quinoa or another high potassium grain 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 it 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, are high in sodium. Substituting the fresh whole variety markedly shifts 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 wrapped in plastic. Often poultry and fish that are only frozen, without other preservatives, are wrapped. But check the amount of sodium on the label. Sometimes they were 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 boxed, canned and plastic wrapped. 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.