According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the recommended amount of potassium the average adult should eat every day is an incredible 4,700 mg. That’s equal to 11 bananas in a single day! Many experts say that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats will provide plenty of potassium on a daily basis, but I’m not so sure.
See, after using My Fitness Pal, a popular mobile phone app that tracks calories and nutrition, I discovered that, on average, I’m consuming less than one-fourth the amount of potassium I’m supposed to. I also realized that no single food has anywhere near the amount of potassium the USDA recommends, so the deficit can’t be fixed easily. Instead, the answer lies in eating more potassium-rich foods throughout the day. Through trial and error, I’ve learned some simple ways to do just that.
Here are three easy ways to get more potassium into your daily diet:
Drink more potassium throughout the day
One easy way to add more potassium to your diet is by drinking it. For example, drinking just one 8-ounce glass of orange juice every day adds 474 mg of potassium to your diet. That’s pretty good! Of course, orange juice is also high in calories and sugar, so look for brands that are lower in both. You can also try other fruit juices, such as apple, prune, cranberry or peach. Check the nutrition labels and choose only those juices that are higher in potassium and lower in calories and sugar.
Add a serving of fresh fruit to every meal
Instead of eating high-carbohydrate side dishes like French fries, potato chips or pasta salad, add a serving of high-potassium fruit to each meal. Try sliced bananas, cantaloupe, apples, or strawberries to start. Of course, making the switch from tasty carbs to fresh fruit isn’t easy, so take it slow. Begin by eating just a few bites of fruit with each meal, along with fewer bites of the carbs, and keep at it until you’ve fully switched over. You’re diet will be much healthier without the carbs, and the added fruit will give you an extra 100 to 200 mg or more of potassium.
Mix vegetable and protein servings together
Another easy way to add more potassium to your diet is by combining your vegetable and protein servings. Instead of eating, say, a grilled chicken breast with a side of steamed broccoli, try dicing the chicken into small chunks and mixing it together with the broccoli. The new combo will taste better and, thanks to the fiber-rich veggies, you’ll need less protein to feel as full. Even better, the added vegetables will boost your potassium intake by as much as 200 to 400 mg or more per meal.
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