The Potassium Parfait

One thing I’ve learned from attempting to concoct a personalized “training diet” — other than the fact that the pressure to eat perfectly almost always ends up sabotaging my day — is that I never, ever get enough potassium.

It turns out you need a crazy amount of the stuff. Like, more than nine bananas’ worth. And you don’t want to just blow this nutrient off because it does important stuff like help your muscles contract, your nerves transmit signals and regulate fluids and electrolytes.

Anyway, as I was editing health cop Charles Stuart Platkin’s column  this week I discovered that some of nature’s potassium heavyweights are compatible. So what if I started my day with a potassium parfait?

The one I came up with this week was fun and tasty, though I wish I’d used a giant cereal bowl instead of a glass so I could’ve stuffed more potassium pieces in there.

I started with ½ cup of Quaker Oat Squares (100 mg), then ½ cup of nonfat Greek yogurt (120 mg), 4 ounces Odwalla fruit smoothie (174 mg), ½ cup cantaloupe (208 mg), a banana (499 mg), 1/4 cup Quaker Whole Hearts (53 mg) and a tablespoon of walnuts (32 mg) for a total of 1,186 mg.

I was hoping to get at least 2,000 mg out of this concoction (you need about 4,700 mg a day), but as I said, I just couldn’t fit enough stuff in the glass. I had to eat half the banana on its own as it was.

But I’m definitely going to try this again, and one of the keys is going to be working in papapya (1,421 mg in a large one, according to Platkin).

One of the cool things about this experiment is that it got me to see the merits of cantaloupe, which I always thought I hated. But it’s frustrating that calorie failed to award any potassium credit whatsoever for my bold foray into melon munching.

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