30+ Healthy Low Potassium Farmer’s Market Food Finds for Kidney Diets

Farmer’s markets are increasing in number all around the country, thanks to a renewed desire to eat locally-grown foods. For people with kidney disease, whether you are avoiding high-potassium foods or adding potassium rich foods to increase low potassium levels, the farmer’s market offers some great nutritious choices of good foods to eat for kidney health. Beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate, fiber and phytochemicals are abundant in fresh fruits and vegetables. Knowing about potassium in food and the level of potassium will help in selecting the best choices at the farmer’s market.

Farmers market produce is often picked the same day it is sold, so fewer nutrients are lost between purchase and your table. It lasts longer than grocery store produce that may already be a week old.

If you are going green due to concern for the environment, farmer’s market produce can help the cause since there’s no packaging with trays and plastic wrap. You can bring your own reusable bags instead of using plastic or paper bags. In addition, no packaging and shorter transportation means lower cost to farmer’s market shoppers.

Farmer’s market fruits and vegetables

As the growing seasons change you’ll find different types of fruits and vegetables available at the farmer’s market. Be assured you are buying produce that has not been shipped from other states or even other countries. Take advantage of the prices and buy extra to freeze or can for later use. Consider making jam with the abundance of low potassium fresh fruits like berries or canning low potassium vegetables, such as green beans, cucumbers, peppers and summer squash. For more information and resources on preserving food, visit Canning Across America.

Low potassium selections

The low potassium fruits and vegetables in this list (below 200 mg/serving) are healthy choices, especially for people on hemodialysis who need to avoid high potassium levels. Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) but not on dialysis may have normal or low potassium levels and do not require potassium restriction if their lab values are normal on an unrestricted potassium diet.

Low potassium fruits:

Produce

Portion

Potassium

Larger portion

Potassium

Apples

(1 medium with peel/3 per pound)

160 mg

 

 

Apricots

(2 medium with peel/12 per pound)

185 mg

 

 

Blackberries

(1/2 cup)

120 mg 

(1 pint) 460 mg

 

Blueberries

(1/2 cup)

60 mg

(1 pint)

225 mg

Cherries, sweet

(1/2 cup)

160 mg

(1 pint)

630 mg

Grapefruit

(1/2 medium)

180 mg

(1 whole)

360 mg

Grapes

(20 average size grapes)

190 mg

 

 

Peach

(1 medium)

170 mg

 

 

Asian Pear

(1 medium)

150 mg

 

 

Plum

(1 medium)

105 mg

 

 

Raspberries

(1/2 cup)

95 mg

(1 pint)

365 mg

Rhubarb

(1/2 cup)

175 mg

(1 stalk)

150 mg

Strawberries

(6 medium, 1/2 cup)

110 mg

(1 pint)

445 mg

Watermelon

(1 cup)

180 mg

(1 slice 10” x 1”)

480 mg

Low-potassium vegetables:

Produce

Portion

Potassium

Larger portion

Potassium

Asparagus

(6 medium spears)

190 mg

 

 

Broccoli

(1/2 cup flower clusters)

115 mg

(1 bunch)

370 mg

Cabbage

(1/2 cup, raw)

85 mg

(1 head)

2200 mg

Carrots

(1/2 cup, raw)

180 mg

(1 medium carrot)

230 mg

Cauliflower

(1/2 cup, raw)

150 mg

 

 

Celery

(1 rib)

105 mg

 

 

Corn

(1 small ear)

195 mg

(1 medium ear)

245 mg

Cucumbers

(1/2 cup)

75 mg

(1 cucumber)

440 mg

Eggplant

(1/2 cup)

95 mg

 

 

Green Beans

(1/2 cup)

115 mg

 

 

Mushrooms, white

(1/2 cup)

150 mg

 

 

Okra

(1/2 cup)

150 mg

 

 

Onion

(1 medium)

160 mg

 

 

Peas, green

(1/2 cup, cooked)

175 mg

 

 

Radish, red

(1 medium)

10 mg

 

 

Scallion, bulb and tops

(1 medium)

40 mg

 

 

Squash, crookneck

(1/2 cup)

140 mg

 

 

Squash, zucchini

(1/2 cup)

150 mg

 

 

Turnips

(1/2 cup)

140 mg

 

 

Turnip greens

(1/2 cup, cooked, drained)

150 mg

 

 

High potassium fruits and vegetables

The high potassium fruits and vegetables (over 200 mg/serving) in the list below may need to be limited if you are on a low-potassium diet. However, it is possible to plan small amounts of some of these foods into a low potassium meal plan and still stay within your daily target for potassium. Portion size and frequency are important considerations.

Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a daily treatment, and if you are on this therapy you may need to add high potassium foods to avoid potassium depletion, so these foods are good choices for your renal diet. If you are on home hemodialysis (HHD) or nocturnal dialysis you may find your kidney diet is more liberal in potassium since the treatment provides more dialysis than traditional in-center hemodialysis. People in early stages of chronic kidney disease usually do not require a potassium restriction unless blood levels are above normal, so these fruits are acceptable for their liberal potassium kidney diets.

High potassium fruits:

Produce

Portion

Potassium

Avocado

(1 whole)

975 mg

Cantaloupe

(1 cup)

495 mg

Honeydew

(1 cup)

460 mg

Nectarine

(1 medium)

290 mg

Orange

(1 medium)

240 mg

Pear

(1 medium)

210 mg

High potassium vegetables:

Produce

Portion

Potassium

Artichoke

(1 whole, boiled)

425 mg

Beets

(1/2 cup, cooked)

260 mg

Brussels sprouts

(4 medium, cooked)

250 mg

Lima Beans, butter beans

(1/2 cup)

450 mg

Mushroom, portabella

(1 whole)

300 mg

Potato, russet

(1 medium)

950 mg

Potato, red skin

(1 small)

750 mg

Pumpkin

(1/2 cup)

465 mg

Some vegetables, like potatoes, can be double-boiled or soaked to reduce potassium. The above food lists do not include high potassium fruits like banana, kiwi, mango, papaya or tamarind or high-potassium vegetables like bitter melon, bamboo shoots, or taro as these are not grown locally, but imported from other countries. Ask your renal dietitian for additional information on potassium sources in the kidney diet.

In addition to fresh produce you can find many more items at the Farmer’s market. Flavored oils, vinegars and low-sodium condiments, fresh and dried herbs, spices, seeds, honey and syrups, fruit preserves and chutneys are among the many kidney-friendly items that may be available. Another bargain item is fresh flowers.

Potassium adds up for people with CKD

Fresh fruits and vegetables are so delicious you may be tempted to eat more than one portion. For dialysis patients on a low-potassium diet, extra portions can add up to too much potassium, causing high potassium blood levels, irregular heart beats and even cardiac arrest. Symptoms of high potassium levels include nausea, fatigue, weakness and tingling, but in many cases a person with high potassium does not have any symptoms. It’s best to know how many servings of fruits and vegetables are in your meal plan and the recommended serving size. Stick to your plan to stay safe.

How to find a farmer’s market

You can find a farmer’s market in your area by searching Local Harvest. Look for advertisements in local newsletters and community postings. Flea markets and swap meets often include a farmer’s market section as well. Food coops and community gardens are another source of locally produced fruits and vegetables.

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