Tips for a Low Pro Thanksgiving

Baby dressed up as turkey

The holidays can be an exciting time of year. However, they can be a bit challenging for someone on a restricted diet as most festivities center around food. This blog focuses on tips for managing a restricted diet during the holiday season.

The most important thing to do is plan ahead.  The more you know in advance, the better you can plan.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Where will I be spending the holidays, and how long will the trip be?
  • Do I have enough formula, so I do not run out while away over the weekend?
  • Am I dining at home or at someone else’s home?
  • Will I be preparing the food, or will someone else be?

Once you know more about what your day/ weekend will look like, you can make a plan.

One key thing is to plan the menu in advance.  If you are not dining at home, but at a friend’s or relative’s home, it will be important to ask what is being served, then…

  • Ask if you can bring a side dish (one that is suitable for you, but enough for everyone to share).
  • Let them know about your dietary needs so they can omit or serve items on the side that are not suitable for a low protein diet, like cheese or breadcrumbs.
  • See if you can access the kitchen to re-heat or make additional low protein items for the holiday meal.

Get Creative!

Many traditional holiday favorites can be modified to reduce the protein while keeping the taste and texture you and others love.

See here for our simple recipe for reduced protein mashed potatoes – this dish is sure to become a family staple at your holiday meal.

And end your holiday meal on a sweet note with this low protein dessert.  This is a dish everyone at your holiday gathering is sure to enjoy!

Easy Pumpkin Pudding

Recipe developed by Sarah Marshall, classical Phenylketonuria (PKU)


  • 1 fluid ounce water
  • 7 fluid ounces coconut milk (full fat, canned coconut milk required to get pudding-like consistency)
  • 6 whole pistachios (for flavor, to be strained out later)
  • ½ tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or blend of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla flavoring
  • ½ cup low protein rice


  1. In a small saucepan, add 1 oz water, 7 oz coconut milk, and 6 pistachios.
  2. Bring to a boil. Immediately when it begins boiling, add brown sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir.
  3. Add low protein rice. Stir. Cover, and lower heat to simmer covered for 10 minutes.
  4. Once rice is cooked, remove pistachio pieces.
  5. Serve warm or cold.

Makes 2 servings

Nutrition Information Per Recipe

Calories: 534
Protein: 4.1 g
Leucine: 306 mg
Phenylalanine: 207 mg
Tyrosine: 124 mg

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Calories: 267
Protein: 2 g
Leucine: 153 mg
Phenylalanine: 104 mg
Tyrosine: 62 mg

For this recipe, low protein pasta is estimated to contain 0.5 g protein, 18 mg phenylalanine, and 5 mg tyrosine per 100 grams (uncooked).

And most of all…

Holidays do not have to be all about food.  Make your holidays memorable with family traditions, such as a family football game or a checkers tournament.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from Nutricia!

Always consult a metabolic healthcare professional prior to making any diet changes.

© 2019 Nutricia North America

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