The holidays can be a tough time for many people, especially those on a restricted diet. The most important thing about managing PKU, any other inborn error of metabolism or a low protein diet during any holiday season is to plan ahead. The more you know in advance, the better you can plan.
These are some questions to ask:
Where will I be spending the holidays and how long will the trip be?
Do I have enough formula so I do not run out over the weekend?
Am I dining at home or at someone else’s home?
Will I be making the menu or someone else?
Once you know more about what your day/weekend will consist of, you can make a plan.
One key thing to plan in advance is the menu. If you are not dining at home, but at a friend’s or relative’s home, it will be important to ask what is being served, then…
Ask if you can bring a side dish (one that is low protein for you, but enough for everyone to share).
Let them know about your dietary needs so they can omit or serve items on the side that are not low protein friendly, like cheese or bread crumbs.
See if you can access the kitchen to re-heat or make additional items for the holiday meal.
Many traditional holiday favorites can be modified to reduce the protein, while still keeping the taste and texture you and others love. Here are some recipes with small changes to lower the protein content — they are sure to become family staples at your holiday meals:
Reduced Protein Mashed Potatoes
2 cups (248 g), Cauliflower, florets
2 cups (312 g), White potato, peeled and cut into pieces
1 cup (156 g), Parsnips, peeled and cut into pieces
¼ cup (56 g),Non-dairy creamer, liquid
2 tablespoons (28 g),Margarine, dairy-free
To taste (2-3 g), Salt and pepper
- Boil potato and parsnip in a large pot until they begin to soften.
- Add cauliflower and continue to cook until soft and tender.
- Drain water.
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Makes 7 servings (115 g per serving)
Protein 2 g P HE 67 mg Calories 105
End your holiday meal on a sweet note with this low protein apple cobbler for dessert. This is a dish everyone at your holiday gathering is sure to enjoy!
Low Protein Apple Cobbler
8 cups (880 g), Apples, peeled, cored, sliced
½ cup (110 g), Brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup (67 g), Sugar, granulated
¼ cup (28 g), Corn starch
2 tablespoons (31 g), Lemon juice
½ teaspoon (1.3 g), Cinnamon
½ teaspoon (1 g), Nutmeg
1 can (400 g), Maddy’s Homestyle Sugar Cookie Mix
8 tablespoons (1 stick), Margarine, dairy-free
- In a large bowl, combine Maddy’s Homestyle Sugar Cookie Mix and margarine.
- Blend until mixture is fully combined (resembles coarse crumbles)
- Set aside
- In a second large bowl, combine all other ingredients.Stir.
- Place apple mixture into a greased 9 x 12 inch pan.
- Spoon cookie mixture over top of apples, evenly.
- Bake at 375° F for 35-45 minutes (until apples are tender and topping is lightly browned.)
Makes 12 servings (124 g per serving)
Protein 0 g PHE 8 mg Calories 215
And most of all…
Holidays do not have to be all about food. Make your holidays memorable with family traditions, such as a family football game or checkers tournament.
Happy Thanksgiving from
November 11-13, 2016 – Harrisburg, PA
Deadline to Register: November 7, 2016
Join together for a weekend of of fun, learning and new friendships. This event is recommended for those currently on-diet or wanting to get back to the PKU diet.
The weekend will focus on learning more about PKU and improving diet management skills.
Friday, November 11, 2016
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Registration with Vendor Booths
Saturday, November 12, 2016
8:30 am – 4:00 pm – Teen & Adult Focused Education Sessions
- The Science Behind Staying on Diet – Dr. Mitzi Grant, Drexel University
- The Simplified PKU Diet – Kayt Marra, MA, RD, CDM, CCRP, University of Albany
- Communication and Personal Advocacy – Sharon Ernst, MPH, RD, CSP, FAND, Linda Leuffgan, RD & Rachel Flar, Reimbursement Specialist
BREAKOUT SESSIONS (Attend 3 Sessions)
- Contemporary Issues for Adults with PKU
- Life On Campus for Teens & Young Adults with PKU
- Meal Planning and Healthy Eating
- Finding Low Protein Foods at Your Local Supermarket
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm – Trip to Hersheypark for Dinner & Rides!(optional)
Sunday, November 13, 2016
8:30 am – 12:00 pm – Low Protein Cooking Workshop
Spend the morning in small groups learning new low protein recipes and simple techniques for preparing delicious low protein meals in minutes. Rotate through a variety of stations, each with a personal recipe guide and tasting! This workshop is going to be unique and delicious!
1006 Briarsdale Road, Harrisburg, PA, 17111 (about $64 – $75 per night)
800 East Park Drive, Harrisburg, PA, USA 17111 Phone: (717) 545-9595 (about $150 per night)
4230 Union Deposit Rd, Harrisburg, PA 17111 Phone: (800) 644-3144 (about $130 per night)
Questions? Contact Sandy.Simons@nutricia.com
Beat the heat and satisfy your appetite with a cool summer salad!
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy fruits and vegetables at the peak of freshness; making these low protein salads pop with flavor. A make-your- own salad station makes a great addition to any cookout or pool party. You can also spice up a green garden salad by bringing along your favorite toppings and low protein dressing.
Try these themed salads for a fresh take on the usual bed of greens:
Fajita Salad: Create a colorful nutrient-packed meal by topping your salad greens with sautéed red and green bell peppers, onions and zucchini.
Mushroom Salad: Portobello mushrooms sautéed in fresh garlic or grilled can turn an ordinary salad into a savory meal.
Fruit Salad: Add diced apple, dried cranberries, diced peaches and grapes over greens. Toss with a light vinaigrette dressing for a sweet and tangy summer treat.
Mexican Salad: Spice up your salad with finely diced black olives, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes. Add jalapeños and salsa for an extra kick.
Roasted Vegetable Stacker: Toss coarsely chopped zucchini, eggplant, red pepper and onion in garlic oil and roast until tender. Serve piled high over a bed of salad greens.
Ratatouille Salad: Stew diced eggplant, olives, zucchini, garlic and onion in a broth made of tomato puree mixed with water. Allow to cool. This tasty topping can be served over greens or chilled low protein pasta to create a unique summer salad.
Turn Your Salad into a Serving of PKU Formula
Just Mix It In!
Create Your Own PKU Formula with PhenylAde MTE Amino Acid Blend
Turn your summer salad creation into a phenylalanine-free protein boost. Just mix 1 scoop or pouch (12.8g) of PhenylAde MTE Amino Acid Blend (PKU formula) into 2 Tbsp of salad dressing for 10g of Protein Equivalents with No PHE! Note: Be sure to eat the entire serving.
My child would eat pasta every day, every meal if I let him. It is great he found a food he enjoys, but I want my son to eat more vegetables and other healthy foods that provide fiber and other nutrients.
Here are some ideas to feed your child’s low protein pasta cravings, but to make your low protein pasta last longer and provide more dietary variety.
Dicing carrots and celery (the smaller the better for young kids) and simmering in a vegetable broth with low protein pasta added is a low pro and filling lunch or dinner. You can use Loprofin Animal Pasta, Rice, or broken Spaghetti to keep it new and exciting. Fresh dill adds a great ‘soup’ flavor and expand your child’s taste palate.
Bulk up your Low Protein Spaghetti by mixing with Zucchini or Yellow Squash noodles. With a spiral vegetable slicer this only takes minutes and can really satisfy a bigger appetite.
Spicy Vegetables over Low Pro Rice Pasta
You can do so many different meals with fresh or frozen cauliflower and carrots, which are both naturally quite low in protein. Often, people on a low protein diet enjoy spice. Check out this recipe for Indian Curry with Loprofin Rice.
Dish it out slow
I often serve my son a small amount of pasta, which he gobbles up. Then ask him to eat 3-4 bites of the vegetables on his plate. Once done I serve another small portion of pasta and repeat. All children are motivated differently, but that love of pasta usually is an incentive to eat more veggies at meal time.
Roll it up
Kids love to eat with their hands (or at least my son does). Use Loprofin Lasagna to make a salad roll-up or other roll-up filled with veggies. Try filling a pasta roll-up with a blend of mashed potato and mashed cauliflower for a yummy kid friendly dinner entree.
Order Loprofin Low Protein Pasta online at medicalfood.com
Written by Sandy Simons, MA, RD, CHES
Flying with Formula – Tips for your Next Trip
If you are planning a flying vacation, before you book, contact your airline’s customer service department to notify them of your travel requirements as soon as you can. Airline policies regarding travelling with metabolic formula will differ so it is worth checking with a customer service representative before you arrive at the airport.
Airplane food is generally not PKU or low protein diet-friendly so you may need to pack (or purchase prior to boarding) any food or snacks you think you might need during the flight.
If you are booking an international flight you will need to order a special meal. Please note that even meals listed as low-protein or vegetarian/vegan may not be low enough in protein for the PKU diet, so explain your dietary requirements clearly.
Always take a travel letter from your clinic explaining your medical condition, especially for international travel
Always pack extra PKU or metabolic formula in your carry-on bag in case of delays
Do not mix PKU or metabolic formula powders with liquid until you go past the security screening checkpoint
Keep your PKU or metabolic formula in its original sealed containers (packages, cans or sachets)
Take a copy of your child’s diet prescription with you
Take plenty of snacks for the flight
Useful PKU Traveler’s Tip
It may be useful to switch to a powdered PKU or metabolic formula when travelling abroad, to reduce your overall luggage weight. However, ready-to-drink pouches that don’t require mixing are also particularly convenient when traveling. Contact your dietitian for more information on these options
If you are traveling overseas, ask your metabolic healthcare professional team for information on where low-protein food supplies can be obtained in your destination country
If you are shipping your PKU or metabolic formula or food to a hotel prior to your arrival, be sure to label the box clearly with your name and arrival date on the package. Call and alert the hotel that a shipment will be arriving for you.
*Reference Source: My PKU Binder. National PKU Alliance. Chapter 11: Traveling, Page 88-89.
There are a growing number of options when it comes to low protein food. One of your options includes buying direct from the company, which could add up to a cost savings for you.
For example, Loprofin brand pasta by Nutricia is available online in more than one place, but buying direct from Nutricia’s website www.medicalfood.com provides up to a $2 per box savings per box compared to other online low protein food shops when purchased by the case.* This can up to BIG savings when buying 6, 12 or 24 boxes in one order.
Quantity per unit is also another important item to explore. Some products may appear similar in nature and have the same cost per unit. But with a closer look you may see that one product unit may only provide 10 oz while the other supplies 16 oz. You want to compare you prices by ounce or gram to determine the best value for your money.
Next time you are ready to place a low protein food order, compare the volume and cost. Also consider buying direct from the company and registering on their webistes for special offers and promotions.
Written by Sandy Simons, MA, RD, CHES
Sandy works for Nutricia North America.
*based on prices published online by PKU Perspectives as of September 22, 2014. Varies based on product.
Although it can be easier to prepare low protein meals at home, this can restrict your work and social activities. Fortunately, many eating places are beginning to realize that an increasing number of people follow “special diets”.
Many of the larger restaurant chains state that they will try and cater for customers on a special diet whenever possible. To get further information from a particular company contact their Customer Service helpline or check their website.
- Try and give advanced notice to the restaurant whenever possible
- When explaining your diet, try not to get caught up in a long list of “I can’t have” foods
- Offer a few ideas of possible dishes you can eat and recipes if necessary
- Ask if you can bring in your own low protein products such as pasta or pizza bases if this is suitable
EATING ON THE GO
1. Cafes/sandwich shops
Small cafes that make things up from scratch can prove useful (especially if they get to know you!). Ask if nutritional information is available to find out ingredients /protein content of items.
Possible snack ideas
-Tomatoes on toast*
-Jacket potato* and butter
2. Fast food outlets
Some larger, well known fast food chains, provide nutritional content leaflets for customers in the shop or online access nutrition information.
Possible snack ideas
-Salad (if available)
– Most veggie burgers are NOT suitable, as they are high in protein.
3. Cafeterias at work or school
Some cafeterias can be quite flexible so it is worth asking if they can cook or re-heat some of your low protein foods. If the cafeteria food choices are limited it may be easier to take a packed lunch in.
Possible snack ideas
-Baked Potato (avoid mashed potato as it is likely to contain milk)
*Weigh out as usual
Note: Each condition may vary in tolerance for specific foods that contain protein, even if low in protein. Always speak with your metabolic dietitian or healthcare provider before adding new foods or changing your metabolic diet in any way.
For those following a low protein diet for a medical reason, FRUITS and VEGETABLES are a very important part of the diet. The good news is fruits and veggies are good for you and it is recommended to have a least 5 servings a day. The best of all they are typically naturally low in protein and a good source of vitamins and antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemical compounds (natural) found in food that keep cells within your body strong and work to fight off illness.
Here are some quick tips for eating 5 A Day the Low Protein Way
- Included a tossed green salad as part of your dinner and lunch
- Keep celery and carrot sticks pre-cut so they are available for a quick snack
- Add fresh berries to your low protein cereal (Shop Loprofin Low Protein Cereal Now)
- Roast vegetables in advance for quick eating and reheating during the week
- Don’t leave home without it! It = An apple!
- Enjoy canned fruit cocktal (packed in juice) as an evening snack or when summer fruit is out of season
- Try something tropical like guava, pineapple, mango or papaya diced on a salad
- Add fruit to your formula and blend for a PKU formula (or any other metabolic condition) smoothie
- Freeze grapes for a cold, bite size treat
Posted by: Sandy Simons, MA, RD, CHES
Sandy is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Health Education Specialist. She received her graduate training at Columbia University’s Teacher College in New York. She has been working on the industry side of metabolic nutrition for the past 11 years and is often seen at patient events around the country.