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.
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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.”
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)
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
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!
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).
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.
185mg potassium + 6g fiber + 7g sugar per cup
I love this low potassium cereal because it has TONS of fiber!
192mg potassium + 6g fiber + 0g sugar per cup
Classic and tasty! Shredded wheat is a healthy low potassium cereal for kidney disease.
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.
110mg potassium + 3g fiber + 11g sugar per cup
Love strawberries? Try Kashi Strawberry Fields* cereal.
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.
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.
54mg potassium + 2g fiber + 2g sugar per cup
Kix aren’t just for kids!
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!
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: