Mal’s PKU Life Hacks: 7 favourite tips for adults and teens

There are so many things that can make up PKU life hacks, from various food hacks to general life hacks. I’m going to list a few of my favourites, along with a few tips for things I have seen questioned in the wider PKU community:

1. Plan your meals! This may not seem like much of a hack but having a meal plan saves time. I sit down once a week or once a fortnight and try to plan out my dinner meals in advance. Remember – these plans aren’t set in stone; life happens, change happens, so make sure to be flexible.
2. Make dinners big and save those leftovers! Leftovers are great for easy lunches, or when you can’t be bothered cooking every now and again. I mentioned buying a chest freezer in the “Tips for stocking your pantry” article, and this is where that chest freezer can come in handy.
3. This one is possibly for PKU parents more than anything. Don’t sweat it if your kid prefers to drink their formula from a sipper cup rather than an open one. Often formula smells worse than it tastes, and so to make it more palatable the majority of PKUers prefer to drink their formula from something that reduces the smell. If you are wanting to transition to something more grown up, investigate sports sipper cups, that’s what I use.
4. Always take snacks when you go out. As stated with the meal plan hack, things change! A small outing could turn into a lunch, pop some fruit, or a small pack of chips into your bag so when you get hungry, you know you have something PKU friendly around.
5. Maintain a healthy balance. For those of us with PKU, having a healthy life balance is important. If we’re working/studying too much, our diet can suffer, and once our diet goes out the window, things can spiral.
6. Don’t forget to exercise! This is a general lifehack as well as a PKU one. Find something you love to do, whether it be running or walking, swimming or gymming, and make time to do it, even 10-30 minutes each day can make a huge difference!
7. Returning to diet after some time away? Don’t try to change everything all at once. A PKU lifestyle can be hard to maintain. Making good habits stick is important so it may be easier to change one thing for a few weeks, before adjusting something else.

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