We are happy to share today’s guest blog post written by ketogenic dietitian and keto ambassador Zahava Turner, RD, CSP, LDN, who shares her tips for families celebrating Passover with a child on the ketogenic diet. Thanks, Zahava!
Passover is a Jewish holiday celebrated in the springtime commemorating the Israelites being freed from slavery from Ancient Egyptians. For those of you not familiar with it, the story goes that God sent ten plagues to the Egyptians to free the Israelites. The final plague killed all of the Egyptian firstborn sons but spared the people of Israel, “passing over” their homes—hence the name of the holiday. Pharaoh’s resistance was finally broken, and he chased his former slaves out of the land. The Israelites left in such a hurry, that they did not have time to let the bread that they baked rise. Therefore on Passover the custom is to only eat unleavened bread called Matzah. On the first night of Passover families get together and relay the story of how the Israelites went from slavery to freedom. The meal is called the “Seder” which is a ritual feast telling the story.
Any holiday and occasion can be difficult to follow while on a special diet, especially one that revolves around food. However, of all the holidays, Passover might be the easiest to follow while on the ketogenic diet because we don’t eat any leavened bread. Many foods or drinks that contains even a trace of wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt or their derivatives, and which wasn’t guarded from leavening, are excluded during Passover. This includes carb-heavy foods like bread, cake, cookies, cereal, pasta and most alcoholic beverages.
For children on the ketogenic diet, a small piece of matzah can be calculated into the meal consisting of chicken or meat and vegetables, which will be very similar to what the rest of the family eats. Of course, the quantities will need to be calculated to work with your child’s diet plan and additional fat will likely be required to meet your ketogenic ratio. If needed, ask your child’s dietitian for help ahead of time so that you don’t have to worry about calculating the recipe on the day of the feast. Almond flour or any nut flour can be used to create dessert recipes, similar to recipes already calculated for the ketogenic diet. Again, ask your dietitian for help if there is a specific dessert recipe that you want to make “keto-friendly”.
With a little extra planning and help from your dietitian, any person following the ketogenic diet should have no trouble joining the rest of the family in enjoying all of the Passover festivities.
For more tips on celebrating Passover on the ketogenic diet, see our previous post “Tips and Recipe Ideas for Celebrating Easter or Passover on the Ketogenic Diet”.