Low Protein

Eating out is a pleasure in life, but for some it can be a very difficult and stressful situation. If you have an allergy or intolerance then the menu needs to be scrutinised and allergens checked for.

But for a small proportion of the population eating out is even harder as they have to avoid large amounts of the macronutrient protein. These are rare disorders of metabolism that include Phenylketonuria (PKU), Homocystinuria (HCU), Tyrisonaemia (Tyr) and Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD). People with these disorders may only be allowed 5g – 10g of natural protein per day. So by the time they have had 2 slices of bread they may have used up their protein allowance for the day! Navigating a restaurant menu can be very hard and often there is very little they can eat. 

As part of my role as a metabolic dietitian we helped organised a low protein meal out especially for people with these metabolic disorders. I thought I would write a little blog post to show the lovey food and maybe give you ideas of what to cook at home if you require a low protein diet.   

The last few times we organised a meal we went to Jamie’s Italian and they were very accommodating. We planned to go back again, but sadly they went into liquidation. So we had to look elsewhere. Our friendly nutrition rep was helping us and managed to find The Natural bar and kitchen – a vegan / plant-based restaurant. 

The Menu

Our set menu was planned and tweaked especially for the low protein diet. The chef kindly used low protein foods such as low protein pasta and low protein flour. Naturally low protein foods were on the menu such as jackfruit, plantain, rice milk, veggies and fruit. Here are some pictures below! 


We enjoyed a Mediterranean mezzo to start with that included carrot-caraway pate, olive tapenade, courgette and mint pate, tomato salsa and dehydrated roots crisps. We also had a delicious kale, white cabbage and pear slaw with raisins, olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.  The shredded pear made it delicious. 


There were two mains. The tropical jackfruit spicy stew was made from jackfruit (naturally low in protein), plantain and sweet potato wedges. The sauce had a light coconut spicy flavour which was delicious. The second dish was penne palemro with aubergines, peppers, olives, red onions and cherry tomatoes. The chef used low protein pasta and cooked it to perfection, not stodgy at all! The side dish was fried roots and vegetables in agrodolce. The agrodoce was a balsamic vinegar sticky jus. 


The puddings did not disappoint with a selection of mixed fruit sorbets with berries and a pear and mint crumble with a lemon custard. The crumble was made using the low protein flour and the custard using rice milk. We all enjoyed a great evening, eating and chatting freely. A great low protein meal out!

A plant based vegan menu or restaurant is a good place to start. Foods such as beans, lentils and pulses are high in protein so can be too high in a low protein diet. Why not talk to them before hand and see if they could modify the dish for you. Let us know what your tips are for eating out and if you manage to recreate any of the dishes above! 

If you have PKU or would like more info on PKU then check out our PKU page or head over to the NSPKU – national society for PKU in the UK.