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19 hours

 Bianca Albanese
by    Bianca Albanese

This is the amount of time spent on PKU dietary management per week, reported by a sample of caregivers.  

It’s a lot right. And no different as an adult with PKU. But I’ve learned that this time is necessary to make sure you’re as adherent to diet as possible.  

It’s hard. Undoubtedly. And by no means am I able to adhere to this diet perfectly. But there are a few things I try to do, to give me the best chance.  


Meal prep 

Dedicating time on a Sunday afternoon to meal prep for the week has become a bit of a ritual. I will boil up some low protein pasta, rice or cous-cous and cook a stir fry, soup or roast veggies to pair with it. This makes it easy to throw together work lunches and dinners throughout the week.




Now, don’t get me wrong, I love trying new foods. But sometimes it’s just easier and quicker to eat the same meals. You know the ingredients; you know the protein and how it will fit into your day.

In saying this, I also try to stick to the same amount of protein for breakfast, lunch, dinners and snacks. It makes it easier to track and know that by a certain point in the day, you’ve eaten a certain amount of protein. This is also important for planning the spread of protein throughout the day.


Shopping List 

Following on from meal prepping, once you’ve decided what you’ll make for the week, make a shopping list. It’s a lot less daunting when you’ve got your meals and required ingredients all sorted out. Also, don’t forget your snacks! For me this is important as this is generally where things fall apart. Fruit, coconut yogurt, low protein cheese and crackers and popcorn are my favourite.

I also find that by incorporating treats into my week - like a piece of chocolate – I stop myself from straying. I’ll count it in my day’s allowance so that I still stick to my daily allowance.



Buy in bulk 

Now, when I find an ingredient that I use week in, week out on sale, you bet I’m buying this in bulk. We all know low protein foods can be expensive. So, when my favourite oat milk goes on sale, I buy quite a few litres. Anything frozen is also great to buy in bulk.

It’s not just bulk buying either. I bulk cook too. If I’m making zucchini fritters for dinner, I make a big batch to last a few days. Same goes with veggie nuggets or pies. I will prepare and freeze them uncooked – ready to finish off in the oven or air fryer.


Pack food  

Lastly, you can never have too much food on you. I don’t know about you, but I am always hungry. I like to bring at least a snack with me whenever I leave the house. Or if I know I will be out for a longer period, I will bring a meal and formula plus a snack. I also keep a stash of snacks in my office at work, when 3:30pm hits and I get a bit peckish.



Explorers Club

If you haven’t done so already, why not browse our Vitafriends Explorers Club – an education programme for families managing PKU in the early years.