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Category Archives: Low Protein Diet Tips

Flying with Formula – Tips for your Next Trip

Flying with Formula – Tips for your Next Trip

airplane girl image

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.

Airline Tips

  • 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.

Low Protein Food – Buy Direct from Nutricia!

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.

Loprofin_Pastas

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.

Eating Out on a Low Protein Diet

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.

RESTAURANT TIPS

  • 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

-Salad
-Fruit
-Tomatoes on toast*
-Chips*
-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)
-Chips*
-Onion rings*
-Hash browns*
– 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

-Salad/vegetables
-Fruit
-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.

5-A-Day the Low Protein 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.

Exploring Exotic Fruits and Vegetables

Exploring Exotic Fruits and Vegetables

You can tell summer is approaching by the increased variety of fruit and produce at your local supermarket. Exploring new fruits and vegetables can add excitement and variety to a low protein diet. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in protein and can be included in meal plans that limit phenylalanine or other amino acids.

Many fruits and vegetables we consume today were once considered exotic, but are now readily available. By exploring new items, you can open the door to new low protein foods, recipes and improved nutrition. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of fiber and other nutrients needed to maintain a healthy diet. Below are some of our favorite fruits and vegetables that can spark your culinary imagination, increase fiber intake and add a new twist to an ordinary low protein meal.

Star Fruit (Carambola) 1 medium (91g) Protein 0.9g PHE 33.7mg LEU 70mg Fiber 2.5g Kcal 28
Star Fruit, also known as Carambola, is a juicy tropical fruit grown in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia. It is also grown domestically in Hawaii and Florida, so it is readily available at your local grocery store. This exotic fruit is both fun and nutritious. When you slice through the yellow shiny skin, it resembles a 5 pointed star and is packed with fiber and vitamin C. Add it to a fruit salad or enjoy it sliced for a sweet, crisp, and refreshing low protein snack.

Figs. 1 medium (50g) Protein 0.4g PHE 9mg LEU 17mg Fiber 1.4g Kcal 39
Figs are a great way to add flavor and fiber to a meal. Figs are sweet in taste and can be diced and tossed into a salad or made into a spread to add flavor and excitement to low protein bread or scones. Besides the delicious, sweet taste, one medium fig contains 1.4 grams of fiber, an abundance of minerals and only 9mg of PHE. They can be found fresh in season or dried all year round.

Jicama. 1 cup (130g) Protein 0.9g PHE 20mg LEU 33mg Fiber 6g Kcal 49
Jicama is an often forgotten low protein food. It is a root vegetable that is native to Mexico and Central America. It has a crisp texture and when sliced open resembles a raw potato, but with much less PHE. Complete a summer meal with sliced Jicama, chili powder and a splash of lime juice for a crunchy side dish at your next barbeque. Check out Celebrity Chef, Bobby Flay’s recipe for Jicama Slaw that can be found on the food network website at www.foodnetwork.com.

Kiwi Fruit. 1 medium (76g) Protein 0.8g PHE 21mg LEU 43mg Fiber 2.6g Kcal 46
Kiwi Fruit is a good example of an exotic fruit that has become more available in local food markets. Also known as Chinese Gooseberry, once native to China, Kiwi is now grown in New Zealand, Israel, Italy and domestically in California. This little green fruit makes a great addition to fruit salads and can be diced and tossed over greens to add flavor to a salad.

Mango. 1/2 cup (83g) Protein 0.4g PHE 14mg LEU 26 Fiber 1.5g Kcal 54
Some call mango the king of tropical fruits. We call it a great low protein snack. Mango can range in colors but all have a sweet, soft texture when ripe. You can be creative with this fruit and add to low protein rice, splash with spicy seasonings or chop into a salad.

The following recipe was created by Chef Birch DeVault, MEd, Department Chair of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University, Denver, CO

JICAMA AND MANGO SALAD

NUTRITION:
Per Serving: 1/8th recipe Protein: 1.4g PHE: 37mg LEU: 53mg Kcal: 125

Ingredients:

  • 2 small (730g) jicama, peeled, cut into julienne strips
  • 3 cups (495g) mango, peeled, sliced
  • 1 each (14g) jalapeno, seeded, diced fine
  • 1 each (80g) red onion, peeled, minced
  • 1 clove (3g) garlic, minced
  • 1.5 fl oz orange juice
  • 1 fl oz lemon juice
  • 2 each (152g) kiwi, peeled, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons (27g) olive oil
  • To Taste salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup (8g) cilantro – chopped

Method of Preparation:

  1. Mix garlic, orange and lemon juice, cilantro and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, toss lightly.
  3. Divide in 8 servings and Enjoy!

Click here to view More Low Protein Recipes

Nutrition information obtained from the following sources: USDA nutrient database; Low Protein Food List for PKU by Virginia Schuett; The Food Processor, ESHA Research; MSUD Foodlist, Emory University; Manufacturer’s packaging. Household measurements are approximate, for greater accuracy use a gram scale.