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Top 10 Low Potassium Cereals

Cereal can be a very healthy part of a kidney friendly diet! But, depending on your lab values, some cereals may be better for your kidneys. Learn more about the best low potassium cereal for your kidneys.

*Please note that this post contains clearly identified affiliate links.  If you click on these links and choose to make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no cost to you).

Who Needs Low Potassium Cereals?

Not everyone with kidney disease needs low potassium cereal. In fact, high potassium cereal is a better choice for many people with kidney disease!

A healthy diet for your kidneys must be individualized to your lab values. You only need to limit potassium if your blood potassium is high. If your blood potassium is normal, chances are a high potassium diet is best for you. Diets high in potassium, such as the “DASH” diet, can help control your blood pressure and protect your kidneys.

“Only people with high blood potassium need to limit how much potassium they eat.”

Learn more about potassium and kidney health.

Always ask your doctor or dietitian what is best for you!

Cereals to Avoid with Kidney Disease

High Potassium Cereals (some people)

Some cereals are very high in potassium. If you have high blood potassium, these high potassium cereals may not be the best choice. All of these cereals have at least 300mg of potassium per cup.

  • Raisin Bran (300mg potassium)
  • Kashi GOLEAN Crunch (325mg potassium)
  • Grape Nuts (232 mg potassium)
  • Wheat Chex (232mg potassium)
  • Cereals with banana or other high potassium fruit (varies)

Cereals with Phosphorus Additives

Many cereals have phosphorus additives in them. I recommend that anyone with kidney disease avoid phosphorus additives.

To check for phosphorus additives, look at the ingredients on the food label. Look for any ingredient that has “phos” in it to find added phosphorus.

These cereals all have “phos” ingredients. Ingredients change all the time, so always check the cereal you buy!

  • Frosted Flakes
  • Lucky Charms
  • Rice Krispies
  • Reese’s Puffs
  • Oreo O’s
  • Cinnamon Toast Crunch
  • Cheerios (regular, multigrain & honey nut)
  • Life Cereal (regular & cinnamon)

Learn more about phosphorus and kidney disease.

Sugary Cereals

Of course, cereals that have a lot of added sugar are not the healthiest choice. Eating lots of sugar can be bad for your heart and increase blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes.

I recommend avoiding these sugary cereals – or, enjoy as a treat once in awhile!

  • Cinnamon Toast Crunch
  • Cocoa Puffs
  • Frosted Mini Wheats
  • Fruit Loops
  • Fruity Pebbles
  • Lucky Charms
  • Reese’s Puffs

Balancing Low Potassium & Fiber

Unfortunately, the lowest potassium cereals also tend to be very low in fiber. Cereals, and other whole grains, are a very important source of fiber in our diet. And, most people are not eating enough fiber!

Eating enough fiber can help constipation, blood sugar, heart health and even prevent cancer.

Because of these, these very low potassium cereals may not be the best choice for people with kidney disease. However, if you have very high blood potassium, these very low potassium cereals might be best. Ask your doctor or dietitian what is best for you.

Very Low Potassium Cereals

All of these cereals have less than 65 mg of potassium per cup. However, they also have 1 gram of fiber or less. I only recommend these for people with very high blood potassium levels.

  • Rice Chex (51mg)
  • Cream of Wheat, made with water (41mg)
  • Cream of Rice, made with water (60mg)
  • Cornflakes (42mg)
  • Special K Original (16mg)
  • Corn Chex (61mg)
  • Honeycomb (31mg)

My Favorite Low Potassium Cereals

Here are my favorite low potassium cereals for people with kidney disease.

Melanie’s criteria for a healthy, low potassium cereal:

  • Potassium: 200 milligrams or less
  • Fiber: at least 2 grams
  • Sugar: 12 grams or less
  • No phosphate additives

Kashi Blueberry Clusters*

120mg potassium + 3g fiber + 11g sugar per cup

Crunchy with a touch of sweetness. What’s not to love? This cereal is on the higher end of added sugar, so pay attention to portion size!

Honey Roasted Honey Bunches of Oats*

84mg potassium + 2g fiber + 8g sugar per cup

Surprisingly, Honey Roasted Honey Bunches of Oats* only has 8g of sugar per cup. This can easily fit in the American Heart Association’s recommendation for no more than 25 grams per day (women) or 36 grams per day (men).

Old Fashioned Oatmeal*

164mg potassium + 4g fiber + 0.5g sugar per cup (cooked & made with water)

A classic for a reason! Oatmeal is a wonderful source of heart-healthy fiber. Top it with some berries and a small handful of nuts!

Stay away from the instant oatmeal pre-sweetened oatmeal. This oatmeal can pack a ton of extra sugar. Make it yourself and add some sweetness with just a sprinkle of brown sugar or some fruit.

Kashi Autumn Wheat*

185mg potassium + 6g fiber + 7g sugar per cup

I love this low potassium cereal because it has TONS of fiber!

Shredded Wheat*

192mg potassium + 6g fiber + 0g sugar per cup

Classic and tasty! Shredded wheat is a healthy low potassium cereal for kidney disease.

Bran Flakes*

195mg potassium + 6g fiber + 8g sugar per cup

While raisin bran is fairly high in potassium, plain bran flakes without raisins can easily fit in a low potassium diet! Add a tablespoon or two of dried cranberries for a lower potassium version of Raisin Bran.

Kashi Strawberry Fields*

110mg potassium + 3g fiber + 11g sugar per cup

Love strawberries? Try Kashi Strawberry Fields* cereal.

Quaker Brown Sugar Oatmeal Squares*

200mg potassium + 5g fiber + 9g sugar per cup

Low oatmeal but just can’t do it without sugar? Try Brown Sugar Oatmeal Squares*. This pre-sweetened cereal only has 9g of sugar per cup.

Special K Vanilla & Almond*

102mg potassium + 4g fiber + 12g sugar per cup

Original Special K cereal is very low in fiber. However, the Vanilla & Almond* version has some fiber from almonds! Be mindful of portion size with this one, especially if you have diabetes. One cup has 12g of sugar.

Kix*

54mg potassium + 2g fiber + 2g sugar per cup

Kix aren’t just for kids!

Kashi Honey Toasted Oats*

100mg potassium + 3g fiber + 7g sugar per cup

As a substitute to the phosphate additive containing Honey Nut Cheerios, try Kashi Honey Toasted Oats*.

Best Milk To Have with Low Potassium Cereal

What is a bowl of cereal without milk? Milk and other dairy products can add a lot of potassium to your meal. One cup of cow’s milk has about 340mg of potassium.

Coconut, rice and almond milk tend to be lower in potassium. However, potassium varies a lot by brand. Check the Nutrition Facts label for potassium. And, don’t forget to check for phosphorus additives!

Learn more about the best milk for kidney disease.

Cereal in a Kidney Friendly Breakfast

Cereal can absolutely be a part of a healthy breakfast for people with kidney disease. If done, right cereal can add healthy fiber and help fill you up to start your day!

Any kidney friendly meal must include a fruit or veggie. Eating just cereal for breakfast is not a well-balanced meal. For a healthy low potassium breakfast, enjoy your cereal with some low potassium fruit to add extra fiber, vitamins and minerals!

Low Potassium Fruits:

  • Berries
  • Cherries
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Apples
  • Pears

Happy Eating!

Melanie

13 thoughts on “Top 10 Low Potassium Cereals”

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Hi Izzy! Total cereal is lower in potassium, sugar and does not have phosphorus additives. So could be a good option! Ask your dietitian what makes the most sense for you!

  1. I was recently diagnosed with high potassium. My husband has had stage 3 kidney disease for several years. I am 70 and he is 79. We need fiber meal ideas to help with constipation. Thank you.

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Hi Vicky! Any of these cereals are fairly goo sources of fiber. Working on eating at least 5 servings of lower potassium fruits and veggies is also a great way to get in fiber. Making sure to drink the right amount of water and moving your body every day can help too!

    2. Hi Vicky, My Dad have Kidney failure and recently he had TB also could you suggest any good diet for him. As he having 3 dialysis in week n Tb makes him as too week, he need good diet so he can recovery as soon as possible from TB

  2. Paul Sheldon Foote

    Some publications recommend eating a banana daily to prevent kidney stones. They claim that potassium citrate is helpful but potassium chloride is not helpful. I have been avoiding bananas. Now, I am worried that I made a mistake. What is the best scientific evidence now on this issue?

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Hi Paul! Potassium is generally beneficial for kidney stone prevention. For people who have advanced kidney DISEASE, they may have to limit potassium. That being said, I would not recommend potassium chloride as a form of potassium for kidney stones. Potassium citrate is helpful – but more for the citrate aspect – the potassium is sort of a bonus. Bananas are completely fine for kidney stone prevention (assuming no advanced kidney disease with high blood potassium levels). In general, ANY fruit is wonderful for kidney stone prevention – not necessarily just bananas. People who eat more fruits and veggies are less likely to get kidney stones.

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Hi Rick. Only a dietitian familiar with your medical history and lab values would be able to answer this question. I have a list of kidney dietitians I highly recommend on my resources page.

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Quinoa is a great source of plant based protein and fiber! It is a great option for many people with kidney disease. Nutrition needs are different for everyone, so definitely ask your doctor or dietitian what is best for you!

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