Low-potassium diet

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Teen boy eating sandwich

What is potassium?

Potassium is an essential mineral that helps the muscles, heart, and nerves work properly. Our body gets potassium from the foods we eat. It is mainly found in fruits, vegetables and whole grain products.

Potassium is carefully balanced by the kidneys. Too much potassium in the body can cause serious heart problems, and even death.

Read food labels

Some labels state the amount of potassium in a food. But remember that a food may still contain potassium even if potassium is not on the label.

Choose foods that have less than 200 mg of potassium per serving.

Food labels: Nutrition Facts (one serving)
Amount % Daily Value
PotassiumLess than 200 mg6% or less

Serving sizes

Watch the serving sizes on labels. If you eat a large serving of a low-potassium food, it becomes a high-potassium food!

If you are not sure if a particular food is safe to eat, ask your dietitian.

Low-potassium food choices

Almost all foods contain potassium. Choose low-potassium foods more often and avoid high-potassium foods.


Peel and boil all vegetables in lots of water. Choices are for 125 mL (half-cup) servings unless otherwise indicated.

Best choicesFoods to avoid
Alfalfa sprouts; bean sproutsAsparagus (four spears)ArtichokesAvocado
Bamboo shoots, cannedBeets, soaked and boiledBamboo shoots, rawBeet greens
Broccoli and rapini, boiledBrussels sproutsBroccoli, rawBok choi
Cabbage, red or green; coleslaw; sauerkrautCarrots, boiledCarrots, rawChinese cabbage or pak choi
Cauliflower, cookedCelery, 1 stalkPumpkin and squashRapini, raw
CornCucumber; picklesSpinach, cookedSwiss chard
Endive, escaroleLettuce
MushroomsMustard greens, watercress
OkraOnion and green onionParsnips
Peppers, sweet (any colour)
Potatoes, soaked and boiledPotatoes, instant mashed, fried or bakedSweet potato or yam
Tomato, fresh, 1/2 mediumTomato sauce or tomato ketchup (maximum 2 tablespoons a day, each)Tomato paste, puree, juice; ClamatoCanned tomatoes
Turnip and rutabaga, boiledWater chestnuts, cannedVegetable juicesWinter melon/squash; zucchini


Eat cooked (boiled), frozen or canned fruits instead of fresh or dried. Avoid fruit juices and syrups from a can. Choices are for 125 mL (half-cup) servings unless otherwise indicated.

Best choicesFoods to avoid
Apple, 1 medium; apple sauceBerries (blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, loganberries, raspberries, strawberries)ApricotsBanana and plantains
Casaba melonClementine, 1 mediumCoconutDragon fruit
Cherries, 10 mediumCrab applesDried fruits: raisins, dates, dry figs, prunes, apricots, peachesFigs
Grapefruit, 1/2 medium*Grapes, green or redFruit cups or cocktails in syrupFruit juice and nectars
Guava, 1 smallLemon and lime juice (maximum 1 tablespoon)KiwiMangosteen
Loquats, up to 3Lychees, 10 mediumMelon: honeydew, cantaloupe, muskNectarine
Mandarin or tangerine oranges, 1 medium (fresh, not canned)Mango, 1/2 mediumOrangePapaya
Peach, 1 smallPear, 1 smallPeach, cannedPear, canned
PineapplePlum, 1 mediumPersimmonPomegranate
Watermelon, 1 cup or slice
Prunes, canned with juiceRhubarb
Starfruit or carambolaTangelo
*This depends on the medications you are taking. Always check with your dietitian.

Breads and cereals

Choose breads and cereals made with white (enriched) flour or light rye. Avoid eating whole wheat, multi-grain and mixed grain or seed breads and cereals.

Best choicesFoods to avoid
White breads, bagels, English muffins, roti, chapatti, tortilla and crackers; saltine crackersWhole wheat and whole grain breads, bagel, English muffins, roti, chapatti, tortilla and crackers (for example bran, pumpernickel, dark rye, mixed grains); corn tortilla and Masa
Pancakes, waffles (3 medium)Smart and Wonder+ bread
Granola bars (no nuts, limit to 1 bar a day)Baked products with bran, chocolate, raisins, molasses or nuts
Cereals: cream of rice, cream of wheat, puffed rice and wheat, corn-based (brands include Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Corn Flakes, Corn Pops, Crispix, Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes, Honey Bunches, Honeycomb, Just Right, Rice Krispies, Special K, Reese Puffs)Cereals: bran cereals (such as All-Bran, Bran Flakes, Raisin Bran), whole wheat cereals (such as Cheerios, Shreddies, Shredded Wheat, Mueslix) and cereal with dried fruits, raisins or nuts
Oatmeal, instant packages (mixed with water, limit to 1 pack a day) Oat squares, oat bran and all oat cereals
Flour, enriched, made from white wheat or white riceFlour made from potato, soy, corn (cornmeal), chickpeas, barley, brown rice, rye or whole wheat
Pasta or noodles,white wheatPasta or noodles, brown or whole wheat; boxed macaroni and cheese (such as Kraft Dinner)
Rice, whiteRice, brown or wild

Milk and milk alternatives

You can have ______ servings of milk and milk products a day. Limit cow's milk to 1/2 cup a serving.

Best choicesFoods to avoid
Cheese (Swiss, mozzarella, cream cheese, cheddar, parmesan, brick, goat, paneer, queso fresco); Cheese Whiz® (limit to 2 tablespoons a day) Buttermilk
Ricotta and cottage cheese (limit to ½ cup a day)Yogurt, all types
Milk, cow (limit to 1/2 cup per serving)Milk, goat
Milk, condensed (limit to 2 tablespoons a day)Milk evaporated or powder
Almond, rice or soy drink, original, unsweetenedCoconut milk
Non-dairy creamer (such as Coffee Rich or Coffee Mate)Almond, rice or soy drinks that contain nuts, chocolate, carob, raisins, coffee or malt
Milk puddings (limit to 1/2 cup a day)Milkshakes
Ice cream (limit to 1/2 cup a day)Ice cream and other dairy products that contain nuts, chocolate, carob, raisins, coffee or malt
Cool WhipChocolate milk; chocolate puddings

Meat and alternatives (such as beans, nuts, seeds and eggs)

Protein is important for growth. Eat at least one meal with meat or meat alternatives each day.

Best choicesFoods to avoid
TurkeyPork, roast and chop
Bacon, ham, hot dogs (limit to 1 wiener a day)
Organ meats (for example liver and kidney)
Fish (limit to 3 oz a day)Shellfish and molluscs (abalone, clams, mussels, oysters, scallops)
Crab, shrimp, lobster, squid, surimiOctopus
Eggs, freshEgg substitute
Peanut butter (limit to 1 tablespoon a day)Peanuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts and other nuts
Beans, green and wax; green peas; snow peasBeans, edamame, chickpeas, split peas, lentils, dal
Soft tofu


Choose fruit drinks* and fruit punches* instead of natural fruit juices* and nectars. Limit yourself to one cup of fruit juice* with low-potassium fruits each day.

*Avoid any drink that contains grapefruit juice.

Best choicesFoods to avoid
Plain waterFlavoured drink mix (such as Crystal Light, Mio, Kool-Aid, which often contain added potassium)
MilkTea (black), coffee, capuccino
Cranberry juiceCoconut water; coconut milk
Apple juiceMangosteen juice (such as Xango), orange juice, prune juice
LemonadeIced tea; soda or pop
Vegetable juice
Malt or chocolate drinks (brands include Ovaltine, Milo, Nesquik); coffee substitutes (such as Postum)

Chips, sweets and candies

Limit snacks to 1/2 cup servings.

Best choicesFoods to avoid
Cookies: arrowroots, graham crackers, social tee, animal cookiesChocolate (dark, milk and white); chocolate cake
Apple chips (limit to 1/2 cup) Banana chips
Fruit roll-upsLicorice, black
MarshmallowsCoconut; macaroons
Pie made with low-potassium fruitsCookies with nuts or chocolate
Corn chips, popcorn, tortilla chips, nachosChex Mix, party mix, potato chips, taro chips, trail mix, sesame seeds, nuts and seeds
Rice cakesHazelnut chocolate spread
Goldfish; Ritz crackersHazelnut chocolate spread

Other foods

These include sweeteners, condiments and seasonings. Avoid salt substitutes, as they contain high amounts of potassium.

Best choicesFoods to avoid
Artificial sweeteners (brands include Splenda, Nutrasweet, Sugar Twin, Equal)Molasses; carob
Sugar, whiteSugar, brown
Corn syrup; table syrupMaple syrup; dark syrup
Salt and pepperSalt substitute, NoSalt
Herb seasonings (such as Mrs. Dash)Meat extracts (brands include Oxo, Bovril)
Ketchup (maximum 2 tablespoons a day); mustard; relish
Vegetable oils and margarine

Last updated: November 30th 2017