Holiday Food Choices

CONCEPT: PKU Diet, Making Healthy Choices, Meal Planning



Participants complete a worksheet to practice the decision-making processes for choosing healthy foods during the holiday season.



After completing this activity, participants will be able to:

  • modify a traditional, high phe holiday food into a low phe alternative
  • estimate the phe content of a food by looking at the Nutrition Facts label
  • list three options for appropriate actions/responses at a holiday dinner that would work well for them (examples: eat the "yes" foods and turn down the "no" foods, think ahead and bring your own food, ask questions--such as what ingredients are in the mixed foods, be confident with rehearsed responses--"No thanks, I'm satisfied with what I have.")



Distribute the "Holiday Food Choices" worksheet and Food List to each participant.

Participants complete the activity individually.

Discuss the answers.

Part I--A:

  • Total phe in the recipe = 2784 mg, phe per serving = 348 mg
  • Substitute:
    • corn starch for the flour in the filling (used as a thickener)
    • egg replacer for the eggs
    • mocha mix for the evaporated milk
    • low protein baking mix for the flour in the crust

Part I--B:

  • The answer is approximately 200 mg phe. Did everyone remember that 1 gram of protein is equal to approximately 50 mg phe? When you're looking at a food label this can give you an estimate of how much phe a serving will contain. To get the exact amount, you need to look the food up in the FOOD LIST!! (Looking a food up in the Food List is the best way to know how much phe it contains.)

Part I--C:

  • substitute in the ingredients identified in Part 1--A and the total phe content of the recipe = 158 mg, phe per serving = 18.5 mg. Wow!!

Part II:
Remind everyone that there are many different ways to handle situations and no one way is right or wrong. However, things tend to be calmer when situations are thought out ahead of time and plans can be made.





If your family is bringing a dish to a holiday dinner, bring something everyone can enjoy, including your young adult with PKU. Encourage him/her to help you decide what to bring and to help make it!

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