by – Katie Maquire, Adult with PKU – guest blogger
I don’t know about you, but it was pretty stressful for my parents sending me off to school in September knowing that I would be making many food choices on my own without them present.
ALL children should learn to make healthy food choices. Children with PKU are no different. Learning to eat low protein and healthy can begin at a young age when you are grocery shopping or prepping food together in the kitchen.
PKU Friendly Lunch Tips for Back-to-School:
Pack lunch in fun, colorful containers in all different sizes.
Use an insulated lunch tote with ice packs to keep food and formula cool.
Make lunch colorful with a small amount of different veggies, such as baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow peppers, etc.
Prepare, weigh and measure food ahead of time to speed up mornings.
Involve your child in shopping, prepping and weighing their own lunch.
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.
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.