Choosing the Right Breakfast Cereal with CKD

July 12, 2017, 12:25pm EDT

By Katy Wilkens, MS, RD
Even if you don't have much time, a bowl of cereal with milk can give your body the energy boost you need to carry on with your busy day!  But grocery store aisles are full of cereals with hidden salt, potassium and phosphorus. Picking the right ones can be difficult and time consuming.
Try these milk and cereal options the next time you want to get a healthy start to your day. 

Here are tips for picking the best cereal and milk combinations:

  • Choose cereals under 150 mg sodium per serving
  • Choose cereals under 100 mg potassium per serving
  • Cereals sold in bags instead of boxes are often a better buy.
  • Store brand cereals are usually less expensive than name brand cereals.
  • Avoid cereals with the word phosphorus or "phos" in the ingredient list.
  • Choose soy, almond, cashew, or rice milk for less phosphorus and less potassium than cow's milk.
  • Avoid cow's milk substitutes that are "Enriched" or have the word phosphorus or "phos" in the ingredient list.
  • For a change, try hot cereal like oatmeal, cream of wheat, cream of rice, or Malto-meal. Buy the original versions without added salt. Add brown sugar, blueberries, or a scattering of raisins. Southern favorites like corn meal mush and grits, with a dab of butter or honey, make great breakfast cereals too.

Cold cereals, lots of choices

Listed below are some cereals that are low in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Apple Jacks
Barbara's Cinnamon Puffins
Barbara's Corn Flakes
Barbara's Honest O's Original
Barbara's Honey Nut O's
Barbara's Honey Rice Puffins
Barbara's Multigrain Puffins
Cascadian Farms Chocolate O's
Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch
Cascadian Farms Fruitful O's
Cascadian Farms Graham Crunch
Corn Pops
Frosted Mini Wheats
Fruit Loops
Health Valley Rice Crunch-Ems
Honey Smacks
Kashi 7 Whole Grains Honey Puffs
Kashi Honey Sunshine
Kashi Indigo Morning
Kashi Simply Maize Organic Corn
Puffed Rice
Puffed Wheat

Low Phosphorus Milk Substitutes- 8 oz serving

Product Phosphorus Potassium

Cow Milk 2% for comparison

230 mg 400 mg

Silk Coconut Milk

0 mg 45 mg

Almond Breeze
Original Flavor

20 mg 180 mg

Silk Soy Milk
Original Flavor

80 mg 380 mg

Rice Dream
classic Original and Vanilla
(not fortified)

30 mg 30 mg
Katy G. Wilkens is a registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers, Seattle WA. A recipient of the Susan Knapp Excellence in Education Award from the National Kidney Foundation Council on Renal Nutrition, she has a Master of Science degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Washington. See more of her recipes at