HOW TO HANDLE PKU IN SUMMER
by Annie Skidmore
I LOVE the summer and all it has to offer – holidays, parties, festivals, BBQs, long hot evenings etc. However, the PKU diet needs to still be managed to ensure that it doesn’t stop you having fun. In the past I have been abroad, visited many places, and enjoyed events with friends - all whilst managing my PKU diet. Yes it has been a struggle sometimes, especially going abroad with friends and into events such as festivals, but its nothing too big to handle with the correct preparation and planning. So here are a few of my go to tips on how to handle such events with PKU.
TOP SUMMER TIPS:
1. PLAN AHEAD: whether this be going to a friend’s BBQ or going to a festival make sure you know what food they will be having or what food is available to you and then you can plan your food and exchanges suitably. A letter from your dietician will help you especially entering events where food and drink is often prohibited to allow your PKU food to be excused.
2. DON’T FEAR EVENTS/HOLIDAYS: yes it can be daunting going to large events or abroad with PKU, but this does NOT mean you should avoid them. It just means it may take a bit longer to prepare for but trust me it will all be worth it in the end. After being away without my parents a few times now it does get easier and being prepared is essential – having those letters available at security and all your supplements/low protein food with you relieves the stress when you first get there. It allows you to find your feet rather than focusing on finding a place to eat when you are tired and hungry.
3. EMBRACE THE DIET: often too many people hide or try and cover up their PKU. Instead of being embarrassed you should embrace the diet and be proud that you are different – it makes great conversation after all! People aren’t going to judge they will instead all be interested and fascinated to learn about it and then amazed on how you manage it – trust me on this one! So next time you go to a BBQ and take your own low protein food EMBRACE it!
4. KEEP IT INTERESTING: during summer there are so many different foods that come into supermarkets and recipes that are ideal for those hot days! Why not try something new e.g., beetroot hummus, fajitas, or sweet potato burgers… the list is endless! Have fun this summer and get creative – it’s very rewarding too.
5. HAVE FUN: whatever your plans this summer make sure your PKU diet does NOT interfere with it. Plan ahead, seek support (Facebook groups and dieticians are great for this!) and ultimately eat well and have a good time!
I hope you find these useful this summer and enjoy all it brings whilst embracing your PKU diet – summer edition!