Written by guest blogger, Julia Orsi, Adult and Mom with PKU.
Growing up on a low protein diet, my mom always made sure I had a special meal at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Looking back now, I realize how much work that must have been, but I am so appreciative for everything she did. Now, we host Thanksgiving. It can be slightly complicated by prepping extra low protein options as well. However, my family has finally found a good flow for keeping all appetites satisfied. Like with any low protein meal, it takes a little bit of planning and a lot of passion to execute.
Below, I’ll share my tactics for creating a holiday meal for the whole family and how to make it as seamless as possible.
- One month ahead of the said event, sit down with your sous chef to plan the menu. Have fun with it! This can be your partner, parents, or your child, if they are old enough. It is very helpful if they can tell you what sounds good to them.
- We write out a menu for both low protein and traditional options. Sometimes the traditional menu inspires a creative low protein option. Cover every part of the event from appetizers to entrees, and definitely do not forget desserts!
- The more delicious low protein options available throughout the day, the easier it is to stay on track with a low protein diet.
Preparing the food
- Order any necessary low protein items at least one month ahead of time. This is certainly complicated by supply chain issues and if you are able to order closer to six weeks that would be ideal.
- I often make the food one or even two weeks ahead of time. Generally, I freeze the low protein options. If you are not hosting you may have the ability to cook one or two days ahead of time but I have to tell you, this leaves quite a bit of room for error as I have found last minute food prep to be tricky.
Heating and serving all the food
- This seems straightforward but I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten to serve or eat my low protein options in the midst of the chaos when hosting.
- Take all low protein food out of the freezer 1-2 days in advance. If you are hosting, space may be limited. In this situation I will store the food in a family member’s freezer until the event date.
- On the day of, have a low protein check list ready and delegate to a family member. This would be a simple and easy way for a partner or grandparent to contribute.
One last tip is to keep in mind the holidays are about spending time with your family and loved ones. Hopefully, you are lucky like me and your family is there to help and support you. Don’t be shy about asking for help. If you are going to be a guest for holidays, you also use these tips to help your host. In advance of the holiday, share tips for making a traditional dish lower in protein or even providing a recipe or two everyone can enjoy.
Julia is an adult with PKU who has been on diet life-long. In 2020, Julia gave birth to a sweet little girl named Margaret Joan who also has PKU. Julia is an active PKU advocate and home chef and has a very active Instagram page @OrganicPKU. Here you can find images of Julia’s low protein creations and more. Julia has a paid partnership with Nutricia to create content and recipe.
Interested in sharing your tips and recipes with Nutricia? Learn more about being a guest blogger for Nutricia. Contact Sandy.Simons@nutricia.com today.
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