Keep track and measure correctly
If you or your child is following a low-phenylalanine diet, you'll need to keep records of the food eaten every day to be sure you're sticking to the specific, individualized dietary guidelines recommended by your dietitian.
To be as accurate as possible, measure the portions of your food using standard measuring cups and spoons and a kitchen scale that reads in grams. The food amounts are compared to a food list or are used to calculate the amount of phenylalanine eaten every day. Each meal and snack includes the appropriately divided portion of your daily PKU formula.
Food diaries or computer programs are available that list the amount of phenylalanine in baby foods, solid foods, PKU formulas, and common baking and cooking ingredients.
Buy low-protein products
Buying some of the many low-protein products, such as low-protein pasta, rice, flour and bread, which are available through specialty food retailers, may add variety to your diet.
These products allow people with PKU to eat lunches and dinners that more closely resemble what everyone else is eating. Like the PKU formulas, these products can be expensive, but you might consider splurging on a few favorites with the money you save on dairy and meat products.
Talk with your dietitian to find out how you can be creative with foods, to help stay on track. For example, you can transform the same basic lower phenylalanine vegetables into a whole menu of different dishes, using a little creativity — and a lot of seasonings. Herbs and flavorings low in phenylalanine can pack a flavorful punch. Just remember to measure and count every ingredient and adjust ideas to your individualized diet.
If you have any other health conditions, you may need to consider those, too, when you plan your diet. Talk to your doctor or dietitian if you have any questions.
Nov. 26, 2014
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- Greene CL, et al. National Institutes of Health (NIH) review of evidence in phenylalanine hydroxylase deficiency (phenylketonuria) and recommendations/guidelines for therapy from the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) and Genetics Metabolic Dietitians International (GMDI). Molecular Genetics and Metabolism. 2014;112:85.
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- Zeratsky KA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 5, 2014.
- Gavrilov DK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 10, 2014.
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