Getting Low Protein Foods at the Store or by Catalog


Many specially prepared low-protein foods are available in stores and by mail. They make counting protein consumption easier, although whether you'll like the taste enough to eat them regularly is anyone's guess. Certainly they add significantly to the cost of the diet. Low-protein bread is the most generally useful low-protein food, preferably made at home in an automatic bread maker. Toasting improves its flavor. In my experience, this bread may make the difference between a person's success or failure on a low-protein diet. Bread is a staple in most people's diets, but regular bread contains too much protein (about 2 g per slice). Low-protein bread contains only 0.2 g per slice, so you can eat many slices without exceeding the protein limit

Here is a recipe for low-protein bread made in a breadmaking machine, reproduced by permission of Scientific Hospital Supplies. This recipe makes a 2-pound loaf.

Low-Protein Bread

13/4 cup water (lukewarm)

2 tbsp vegetable oil

500 g (1 box) Loprofin Baking Mix®

1'/2 tsp powdered Coffee Mate®

1 tbsp sugar i/2 tsp salt

1 packet (7 g) yeast (included in the Loprofin Baking Mix®)

Add ingredients according to the instructions for your bread machine.

Use the "white bread, dry milk" setting. Bake approximately 4 hours.

Yield: 12 servings (1 serving = 1 slice)

Nutrition information:

Calories 2,013 per recipe; 168 per serving Protein: 4.67 per recipe; 0.39 g per serving

Eating these foods will optimize caloric intake while minimizing protein intake. But knowing which foods to consume is only part of the process. If you don't know how to prepare these foods in ways that appeal to you, you'll never eat them. A former patient of mine, Tim Ahlstrom, collected some low-protein recipes in his book entitled The Kidney Patient's Book, which is now out of print. Two of the recipes are repeated here.

Murray West's Baked Peppers, Onions, and Potatoes

5 red or green peppers cored, seeded, and chopped into 1-inch dice 5 potatoes, peeled and quartered 1 medium onion, quartered 1 cup olive oil pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix together all ingredients in a baking dish, taking care that all the vegetables are covered with the olive oil. Lots of any kind of pepper— black, red, dried chili, fresh chili—adds zest.

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. Yield: 4 servings Nutrition Information: Protein: 4 g Calories: 660 Phosphorus: 99 mg

Sandra Watt's Braised Broccoli 2/b cup broccoli, fresh or frozen

1 tbsp peanut oil (or other vegetable oil)

2 slices fresh ginger root, thinly sliced 1 tbsp oyster sauce

V2 tbsp Soy sauce 1 tsp sugar !/2 tsp sesame oil

!/2 cup liquid from blanching the broccoli 1 tsp cornstarch

Cut the broccoli into bite-size pieces. Bring lightly salted water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the broccoli and blanch it for 1 minute. Drain in a colander, but save V2 cup of the liquid.

Heat the peanut oil in a wok and stir-fry the broccoli and ginger root for 1 minute. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and cooking liquid. Bring to a boil.

Mix the cornstarch with 1 tbsp cold water and stir into the liquid until it thickens slightly. Add broccoli, toss, and serve. Yield: 1 serving Nutrition information: Protein: 5 g Calories: 333 Phosphorus: 123 mg

More low-protein recipes have been developed for people suffering from a totally different disease: phenylketonuria. In this relatively common congenital disorder, patients cannot metabolize phenylalanine (an essential amino acid) owing to an enzyme defect, and it accumulates in body fluids. Mental retardation can result. All proteins contain phenylalanine. Therefore, the mainstay of treatment is a low-protein diet, supplemented by an amino acid mixture lacking phenylalanine. Initially this regimen was recommended only for infants and children, but gradually it has become recommended "for life." Virginia E. Schuett has written a book containing hundreds of low-protein recipes for such patients. I recommend it highly.

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