Summer Traveling while on the Ketogenic Diet

Today’s guest blog post is by ketogenic dietitian Robyn Blackford, RDN, LDN. You can find Robyn on Twitter @KetoQueen or on Facebook as@KetoQueenB. Thank you for these helpful and timely tips, Robyn!

Robyn Blackford, RDN, LDN


The beginning of summer is finally here! Are you considering a family trip this summer? Packing up your keto kid for a family trip may seem like a daunting task to accomplish. Whether you are traveling by air or car, here are a few ideas for you to consider as you plan your summer get-away:

  1. Make a checklist. Think of all of the things that you need to pack and things you need to do. Start this list several weeks before the planned trip. This will bring you much needed peace of mind knowing that everything is checked off of the list and you truly have thought of everything!
  2. Label everything. Be specific and label all bags and bowls of food items. It may even be helpful to label the outside with what food it contains and what day and time you plan on serving it. This way it is fool proof when other family members are trying to be helpful and helps you to keep everything straight and organized.
  3. Check your destination. It can be rather helpful for you to look into the hotel you are you have to do what is best for your family. A hotel may offer some perks, like a concierge and a chef who are happy to meet the needs of your child’s special diet. But, a rental home will have a full kitchen that you can utilize. Be sure to find the closest grocery store and see if they carry your favorite items.
  4. Travel letter from your Keto Center. Many facilities who support the Ketogenic Diet have standard letters that they can provide to families. The travel letter should include that your child is on a special medical diet and that it would be helpful to be able to carry in certain items, such as unrestricted amounts of fluids (cream, oil, water, etc) and a cooler. These letters can be used for air travel as well as amusement parks and water parks that usually restrict customers from bringing in outside food.
  5. TSA guidelines. Familiarize yourself with the rules, so you know what special accommodations your family may need. The TSA Cares website can be very helpful.
  6. Timing is everything. Many websites that give tips on traveling with children suggest that you choose travel times near bedtime. To me, this sounds like the perfect idea, especially for children on a special diet. You can feed your keto kid their meal and then prepare them for a traveling bedtime, whether it be by car or airplane. This is less time you have to think about feeding your child and it’s an easy distraction in your travel plan.
  7. Medical ID or food allergy bracelet. Some families already utilize the medical ID bands for the purpose of seizures, but why not also use it for your ketogenic diet. Listing an allergy to dextrose can be helpful in the event of an emergency during your travels and  help others to be aware of the needs of your child’s medical diet. In general, people take allergies a bit more seriously than diet guidelines.
  8. Easy to pack and eat foods. For easy packing, chose foods that can be stored for a long time in a cooler or even stay fresh outside of a cooler. Consider these foods:
  • Protein foods: nut butters, lunchmeat, cheese sticks, nuts
  • Fat foods: Fat bombs, oil shots, avocados
  • Carb foods: veggies, very low carb breads, berries
  • Drinkable Meal/Snack: KetoCal 4:1 LQ

I hope these tips make your summer travel a little bit easier.  Planning weeks in advance can help you be successful in taking your next family trip.

Find some fun and enjoy your summer!

-Robyn

 

The Ketogenic Diet At Grandma & Grandpa’s House

In today’s guest blog post, ketogenic dietitian Stacey Bessone provides some tips for keeping your child safe on the ketogenic diet while at grandma and grandpa’s house. Stacey is a ketogenic dietitian, RDN, LDN, based in St. Petersburg, Florida, and a Keto Ambassador.

stacey


 

I don’t know about you, but my grandmother was all about feeding me as much and as often as possible.  For many adults giving or preparing someone something to eat is a way of showing love.  Sometimes being on a special diet does not fit in with this agenda of affection through food.  Here are some tips for keeping your child on the ketogenic diet at grandma and grandpa’s house.

  1. Educate. Educate. Educate. (Easier said than done, right?). If possible, have a grandparent attend the initiation classes or some of your follow up appointments with the nutritionist.  Having the diet guidelines come from a 3rd party can be very impactful.
  1. Have grandparents participate in keto meal prep. Sometimes seeing that it is regular foods, only in prescribed amounts, makes it easier to understand.
  1. Send little food packages with pre-prepared keto meals and snacks. This will take the mistake factor out of the equation.  Many people want to help but fear they will make the menu wrong. There are really convenient bento lunch boxes and containers that make a great presentation.
  1. Have grandparents place non-keto foods out-of-reach and out-of-sight. Kids can be very convincing, especially to an aunt or cousin that is not sure of the diet guidelines.
  1. Provide different food or gift options that your child CAN have. This provides an alternative to grandparents when they are experiencing the need to show love (with or without food).  It can be a keto treat that you had prepared ahead of time or a small toy such as a little car or a princess wand.
  1. Show grandparents any education videos or provide any books on the diet. Sometimes the impact of the story can really make the importance of staying on the diet a reality.  There are many resources such as The Charlie Foundation, Matthew’s Friends and MyKetoCal that can be a great resource.

I hope these tips can make it a bit easier.  Grandparents can be a great supporter for the diet with the right understanding.

-Stacey

A Keto Dietitian’s Tips for Families Celebrating the Winter Holidays, Keto-Style!

Thanksgiving is a week from today and the rest of winter holidays are right around the corner! In today’s guest blog post, ketogenic dietitian Robyn Blackford, RDN, LDN, provides her tips for families celebrating the holidays while on the ketogenic diet. Thanks for these awesome tips, Robyn!


For people following a ketogenic diet during the holidays, it doesn’t have to be a season of additional stressors. Parents of children who follow a special medical diet, including the ketogenic diet, may even find the upcoming holidays easier to survive than they first thought.

I often hear that extended family members are very supportive of their child’s special diet. Educating others on the diet will open your family up to a potentially strong support system. Most people like to hear about the nuances of the special diet and learn how they, too, can help. Talking about the diet and getting that ‘pat on the back’ can give you just enough motivation and energy to make the next special meal. Siblings may ask if they, too, can have the yummy, magical keto food that you are preparing. What a nice, fun, supportive time that this can be for your whole family!

Whether you are hosting holidays at your house or joining others elsewhere, you are sure to be successful to sticking to your ketogenic diet during these festive days if you practice these tips.

Holidays at your house:

* Consider serving a low carb dish on your menu. There are many low carb recipes readily available, such as a cauliflower mash in place of mashed potatoes. This may be helpful for others to understand some of the details and enjoy the foods that are part of the special diet

* Using festive holiday plates, bowls, and napkins to distract from ordinary or special diet food is a welcome change for people of any age! Try using cookie cutters to make foods more appealing and brightly colored toothpicks to add fun to your holiday meal.

* Keep food out of reach for tiny guests that are on a special diet. This way they cannot snatch foods quicker than you can say no or be able to take it away from them. They can be faster than you anticipate!

Holidays as a guest:

* Consider eating or serving your keto meal before leaving the house. This way you do not have to worry about finding foods you can eat later when you or your child is hungry. Talking to the holiday host can help you be successful if you plan on eating a little something at the get-together.

* Plan to serve and eat your favorite keto foods while away from home in easy-to-warm-up containers. It can be quite a treat if you haven’t had that favorite food in a while.

* For smaller children, be sure to pack a bag full of toys and fun things to help distract them from focusing on food. Do not underestimate the power of non-food rewards during playtime!

 

In any case, make sure that you plan ahead. Mentally prepare your child to resist food that is not part of their special diet and prepare yourself to teach others about the positive impact the diet has had on your lives.

Helping people follow their ketogenic diet can be one of the best gifts you can give them during the holiday season!

-Robyn

The Ketogenic Diet & Halloween Blog Round Up

Halloween on the ketogenic dietAs Halloween quickly approaches, we’ve compiled a list of blogs all about managing your child’s ketogenic diet on this food-focused holiday.

Happy keto-friendly Halloween, everyone!

Halloween on the Ketogenic Diet: New Ideas & Traditions

In today’s guest blog post, ketogenic dietitian and keto ambassador Vanessa Aldaz, MPH, RD, CDE, shares her tips for parents managing Halloween with a child on a ketogenic diet. Thanks for these fabulous ideas, Vanessa!


It’s that time of year again when not only is it getting colder outside, school is on a roll and well, everything is going well. However, you walk into pretty much any store to find decorations colored in black and orange and entire sections of candies and sugar right at the entrance! What is a keto-parent to do?  You hear the chatter of children talking about what costume they’ll be dressing up as this year, and then there’s the whirlwind thought of “Can my keto kid go trick or treating? Can we make it through this holiday without a sentimental scratch?” The answer is: yes! Children on the ketogenic diet can have just as much fun as any other kid out there celebrating Halloween. There may need to be some rules that other kids may not need to stick to, but the fun won’t be a disappearing act. Here are more than a few ideas to make Halloween on the ketogenic diet fun, crafty, ghoulalicious, and sure to set new traditions.

Can my child go trick or treating? Yes, yes, and sure! Let them only collect a bag full of candy and not eat them, but at the end of the night you can have them participate in a few new fun ideas or traditions (read ideas below). The other great thing about this is that they went for a walk and got some exercise. A good rule of thumb is to have them eat dinner or a filling snack BEFORE going trick or treating so they don’t get the munchies once they are out there.

New Fun Ideas & Traditions

  1. The first one, I truly have to say I stole the idea from one of my patients with diabetes a while back, but come to think about it, it works!! For a keto kid it’s genius! Once your child has come home with a bag full of candy and treats, have them count them with you and put them in a bag for the “Switch Witch” – yes she’s that sweet tooth , sugar eating witch with rotting teeth who’s willing to take your child’s candy and switch them over for a fun toy or surprise that your child will wake up to the next morning! – taadaa you have replaced a treat your child cannot eat with a fun surprise of your choosing that your child is sure to love and not miss that candy. Feel free to come up with your own Halloween “goblin” that will replace candy for a treat.
  2. If the above doesn’t work for you or if it just screams of spoiling your child then have your kids collect the candy and donate the candies to our troops overseas. Many dental offices will collect candies that your little ones collect. Not sure if this includes a discount on your next visit though, hehe.
  3. You can also try to have close friends and neighbors have a pre-set keto treat bag for your little one when they ring their door bell and say “trick or treat”. A bag full of little non-edible goodies like Halloween stickers, spider rings, bubbles, erasers, pencils, etc. Places like Walmart, the dollar store or 99 cent sections at other stores are filled with fun little trinkets. These can also be taken to school to hand out to your child’s classmates.
  4. Focus on costumes, not on the candy! – have a costume contest. Dress up your child in their favorite costume or disguise. Be creative, decorate their stroller or make their wheelchair part of their disguise. Pinterest had some amazing ideas like a brand new toy still in the box, the box is the stroller and the doll or toy is your child.
  5. Host a Halloween party, play games and focus on non-edible treats. You can have them paint mini pumpkins, tossing balls or any other fun game. Focus on the fun decorations! If you do get trick or treaters to your house, instead of having a large bowl of candy that might get into the wrong hands or mouth, try pre-packaging them into sealed “grab bags” for  non-keto kids to take home.
  6. Go on a Halloween-themed adventure! Visit a pumpkin patch, go on a hay ride or if your child is old enough and able, perhaps a not so haunted house might not be a bad idea. Or go to a theme park- Many theme parks will be all decked out all month long or host a series of fun events for the whole family to enjoy. Disney theme parks are amazing that time of year.
  7. Lastly, if you would like to make some fun Halloween Keto treats, here are some ideas. Just make sure you double check with your keto team and RD to ensure it fits your child’s keto diet prescription.

-Keto Chocolates: cocoa butter flavored with stevia flavoring drops, put in fun candy molds and enjoy.

-Sugar free jell-o molds. Try the Sugar free Jell-O mixed with vanilla KetoCal 4:1 LQ and put in fun Halloween molds, yummy!

-KetoCal crustless pumpkin pie

-KetoCal chocolate cupcakes

Happy Halloween and enjoy.

-Vanessa

 

Keto Recipe Ideas for Summer

In today’s guest blog post, ketogenic dietitian and keto ambassador Zahava Turner, RD CSP LDN, shares some ketogenic recipes that are perfect for hot summer days. Thank you for these tasty recipe ideas, Zahava!


Summer is a time to enjoy the warm weather and spending time outdoors. So whether you are preparing a family BBQ, picnic or pool party or it’s just too hot to cook, here are a bunch of ketogenic recipes to use. Each one of these recipes can be adapted for your child’s ratios or even taste preferences.

Gazpacho

California Salad with Avocado & Bacon

BBQ Rosemary Chicken Breast & Grilled Vegetables

-Zahava

 

 

Time Management Tips for Keto Moms & Dads

We are excited to share this guest blog post from keto mom Dana Haddox-Wright. As always, Dana is full of helpful tips and insights for other parents. Be sure to check out her previous posts:


I have a daughter with a debilitating form of epilepsy, and before starting on the ketogenic diet she had status seizures at least twice a week requiring emergency intervention.  When my daughter’s neurologist suggested to my husband and me that we put her on the keto diet, I was instantly stressed by the idea.  I knew that it may help, but I was concerned that I would not be able to fit it into our daily routine.

I was also apprehensive because keto is so restrictive. Living in a world where food is such a large part of our culture, I was afraid that I would be depriving her in some way.  However, I came to the realization that having her in an ambulance on a weekly basis was no way for her to live.  I consulted with friends about how they manage the diet.  Most of the parents with kids on the ketogenic diet had only good things to say about it in terms of seizure control, so we decided to try it.  Within 3 days of being on the ketogenic diet my nearly 3 year old daughter was fully potty-trained, and she was more verbal than ever before.

Fast forward to 3 years later and my daughter is still on the ketogenic diet.  It has become part of our daily schedule.  It is not always easy, but we have a system in place that seems to work.

Below is my daily schedule, and I am sure other parents may relate:

6:45am – Wake up and get to cooking
7:00am – Prepare keto lunch and keto snack for the oldest
7:15am – Place keto meal in oven and start packing non keto meal for the youngest
7:45am – Finish packing lunches and start preparing keto breakfast and typical breakfast
8:00am – Breakfast finished and ready to eat
8:15am – Get the little ones dressed and ready for school
8:30am – Drop off the kids
9:00am – Work
3:15pm – Pick up the oldest
3:30pm – Prepare second keto snack
4:45pm – Pick up the youngest
5:15pm – Both kids home, time to prepare all the meals (keto and typical)
6:00-6:30pm – Dinner is served
7:30pm – Time to get ready for Bed
8:00pm – Kids are asleep.  Need to finish the work I could not finish during the day

Based on this routine, how does one find free time?  How can we incorporate keto into our day without becoming overwhelmed?  There are certainly ways to manage the keto diet and follow the daily regimen without losing all sanity.

1 – Cook ahead of time.  I laugh when I read this.  The concept of dragging my tired-self off of the couch when the kids are in bed is almost painful, but sometimes I do have a little extra energy to make a few bake and freeze pizzas or some school snacks before I relax.  What you accomplish at night will save you some stress in the morning.

2 – Time is ticking.  Think fast.  On any given day, I have a short amount of time to think through what to prepare for my daughter’s breakfast, lunch, and snacks.  I typically ask my daughter what she would like for lunch and/or snack.  On some mornings, she will request a vanilla KetoCal shake (“happy dance” time).  Otherwise, she has her “go to” meals or favorites that I can make quickly:  hot dogs in sauce (mayo and low sugar ketchup) with cream on the side, pizza, or cake with whipped cream frosting.  I have become very efficient at putting these things together and having them baking/cooking while I pack lunch for my younger daughter.  Again, the better (least realistic) option is to cook ahead.

3 – Dinners are made easier when keto meal looks like everyone else’s dinner. One can use items for keto meals that the rest of the family will have in their food.  For example, if it is taco night create a keto-taco recipe that contains the same ingredients.  I have a simple keto-taco recipe that includes:  iceberg lettuce, cheddar cheese, sour cream, ground beef, and oil.  I usually measure out and/or cook the keto meal first and then focus on the meal for the rest of the family.  That way, we can all eat at the same time.

4 – Keep It Simple. It may seem silly, but the longer I cook keto the easier it is for me to build-in time savings.  Recipes do not have to be elaborate or complicated.  If you don’t feel like whipping egg whites to make a crust, don’t whip them.  Taste is what really matters.  If mixing all ingredients in one bowl will not affect taste, then do that.  You can even create more all-in-one recipes that keto kids will enjoy.  Also, rely on your keto kids to let you know what they like.  My daughter will often cycle between 3 or 4 different recipes for a while.  Giving choices empowers keto kids in an otherwise restrictive situation.  I want my daughter to enjoy her food, so I feel that she deserves to have a voice in meal planning.

In a perfect world no child would ever need to be put on the ketogenic diet, but we all know that we do not live in a perfect world.  Our lives are not perfect and we are not perfect, so we have to make the best of our circumstances.  Provided we stay within the parameters of the diet set by our keto dieticians, we can be creative and make the diet fun.  This regimen is literally a labor of love, because if we did not love our children we would not be spending so much time on their meals.  It takes a lot of thought and practice finding ways to make the ketogenic diet less tedious, but once we get a knack for it, we may be surprised how fast things come together.

-Dana

Ketogenic Diet –A Dietitian’s Tips for Summer Break

As summer break approaches, you may have some anxiety about being out of your regular keto routine. In today’s guest blog post, ketogenic dietitian and keto ambassador Lindsey Thompson, MS, RD, CSP, LD, shares her tips for managing your child’s ketogenic diet over summer break. Thank you, Lindsey!


Summer break can be school-free splendor for kids (and parents!); however, the relaxed schedule can pose some challenges for kids with epilepsy who are on a ketogenic diet.

Many kids and teens with epilepsy rely on the structure and schedule that the school year provides. Furthermore, as a treatment for epilepsy, the ketogenic diet tends to work best when provided on a schedule. As we transition into summer, here are some tips for managing the ketogenic diet in a more spontaneous environment:

Create a schedule for summer

Start with a monthly calendar and identify the different types of days (such as typical, weekend and vacation days). Then create templates for times meals and snacks will be offered depending on the day. The schedule you create can be similar or different to typical school days depending on what is best for your child. Include all of your children in the schedule so that everyone is expected to follow it. Visually display the schedule and use sticker charts if needed for motivation.

Plan ahead

Pick a day or time to prepare ketogenic meals and snacks for the days or weeks ahead. Many of you already do this during the school year, and there is no need to discontinue this for summer. You’ll also want to plan for extra snacks given that your schedule may be more variable in the summer with sports games, visits to the zoo or other family outings. Planning ahead will help you avoid a “keto emergency” i.e., your child is starving and you don’t have a meal or snack weighed out and ready-to-go.

If you’re taking a vacation, you’ll also want to do plenty of planning related to the travel itself (you may need letters from your physician describing your child’s diet for airplane travel, etc), acquiring ketogenic-friendly food in your vacation destination (you may need to call the local grocery stores or the hotel itself) and having adequate accommodations (such as a refrigerator and microwave in your room).

Drink plenty of fluids!

Fluid is important for children on ketogenic diets in order to avoid many of the possible side effects of the diet. Your child will generally need more water in the summer to stay hydrated. Ask your dietitian how much fluid your child needs if you are not sure.

Have your child/teen involved with the preparation of his or her diet

Since your child will likely have more time on his or her hands, there will be a great opportunity for him and her to be involved in meal preparation. You can make an activity out of it by having your child make shopping lists, prep or weigh foods, cut fruits or vegetables (if age appropriate) and assemble meals. A benefit here is that children and teens who are involved in meal preparation are more likely to eat and enjoy what is prepared. Additionally with more active involvement, your child may take more ownership of his or her diet …and this may roll over into the school year as well!

Have fun! Use the extra time to get creative with new recipe ideas.

Here are some suggestions for fun summer treats:

Ketocal Blueberry Smoothie:

Ketocal Creamy Gelatin Treat

Ketocal Cheese and Tomato Pizza

Ketocal Ice Cream

I hope these tips will help ease you and your child on the ketogenic diet into a safe and fun summer!

-Lindsey


Check out Lindsey’s other guest blog post, “Tips for Families Getting Ready to Start the Ketogenic Diet”

A Dietitians Tips for Celebrating Passover on the Ketogenic Diet

Zahava Turner, RD CSP LDN

Zahava Turner, RD, CSP, LDN

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.

-Zahava

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”.

A Dietitian’s Tips for Celebrating Easter on the Ketogenic Diet

Lindsey Thompson, MS, RD, CSP, LD

We are pleased to welcome back Lindsey Thompson, MS, RD, CSP, LD.  Lindsey is a ketogenic dietitian and Keto Ambassador from Kansas City. In today’s guest blog post, Lindsey shares her tips and recipe ideas for families celebrating Easter with a child on the ketogenic diet. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us, Lindsey!

In case you missed her previous guest blog post this month, be sure to check out Lindsey’s tips for families preparing to start the ketogenic diet.


One of the challenges for children on specialized diets is that food is often the focal point of holidays. Easter is a holiday that many families celebrate together and is no exception. If you have a family member on the ketogenic diet, including them in your family meal is imperative, but will require some extra planning.

Easter Meals

On Easter many families feature meals with ham or lamb, pies, breads and dishes with eggs. Consider incorporating the type of meat you are serving into a ketogenic meal for your child, such as ham or lamb with a side of fruit or vegetable and cream or other fats. In addition, here are a few keto-friendly dishes you might consider for your family member’s Easter meal:

KetoCal Cheese and Ham Tart

KetoCal Cheesy Tomato Tart

KetoCal Apple Crumble with Whipped Cream

Ketogenic Deviled Eggs:

Use the following ingredients to put into your child’s ketogenic diet planner to calculate his or her recipe:

  • Egg white- cooked
  • Egg yolk- cooked
  • Mayonnaise
  • Butter- softened
  • Small amounts of mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce (if your family member likes spicy foods)
  • Salt, pepper and paprika to taste

Instructions:

  1. Hard boil eggs. Slice eggs in half and remove yolks.
  2. Place the cooked egg yolks in a bowl & mash them up with a fork.
  3. Stir in the mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Scoop the filling into the halved egg whites.
  5. Sprinkle with paprika.

Easter Egg Hunts

In addition to family feasts, many families will attend or have Easter egg hunts for the Easter holiday. Children often hunt and discover plastic eggs filled with treats or goodies. Here are some tips to help include your family member on the ketogenic diet in your family’s Easter Egg Hunt:

Easter is a special holiday for families. With a little extra planning, your child on the ketogenic diet can enjoy and feel included as a part of your family’s Easter traditions.

Happy Easter to all!

-Lindsey

 

For more tips on celebrating Easter while on the ketogenic diet, read Tips and Recipe Ideas for Celebrating Easter or Passover on the Ketogenic Diet.

How to Make Valentine’s Day Extra Sweet on the Ketogenic Diet

We are excited to share today’s guest blog post by ketogenic dietitian and Keto Ambassador Stacey Bessone, RDN, LDN. Thanks for these helpful tips, Stacey!


Being on any diet can be a little tricky on Valentine’s Day.  For some it may be keeping on track for a new year’s resolution.  For people on the ketogenic diet it can be extra complicated.  Candy hearts and boxes of chocolates are everywhere.  Here are a few ideas to make Valentine’s Day extra sweet for your little one.

  1. Nonfood items are always a thoughtful token. Decorating homemade valentines with colored paper and lace are wonderful little ways to say I love you.  They also keep, so you can hang them up and enjoy them for days to come.
  1. Keto friendly treats. Make your own little frosting candies. Prepare a keto frosting, such as this chocolate frosting recipe, then spoon into heart-shaped silicon molds and refrigerate to set.
  1. The same heart-shaped silicon molds can be used to make sugar free gelatin hearts or heart-shaped ice cubes (water and food coloring).
  1. A fancy dinner can be as simple as steak with cream sauce and a bit of veggie with a KetoCal® crème brule for dessert.
  1. Doing an activity together such as a movie or a bike ride can be healthy and fun without any mention of eating.
  1. Dress up is always fun too. You can dress up and create a fancy restaurant-type atmosphere at home with a waiter.  You can put flowers on the table and use cloth napkins and low lighting.  Kids think it is a treat and usually love to be the servers!

These are just a few tips to get you thinking about Valentine’s Day the keto way.  There are plenty of fun things to do and make to make someone feel special- even if they are on the ketogenic diet.

For more information, see “Tips and Recipes for Making Valentine’s Day Fun for Your Keto Kid”.

Christmas on the Ketogenic Diet: Blog Roundup

Christmas

Christmas is just over a week away! As you know, when you have a child on the ketogenic diet, party and meal planning takes a little extra time. To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a list of blog posts with tips and recipe ideas for celebrating the holidays with a child on the ketogenic diet.

Do you know of any other useful blog posts or articles about celebrating the holidays on the ketogenic diet? Please let us know so that we can add it to the list! Also, please share your own tips for other parents in the comment section below.

We hope that your family has a very merry Christmas and happy holiday season!

Tips for Managing Your Child’s Ketogenic Diet over the Holidays (KetoConnect guest blogger)

KetoCal Christmas Recipe Ideas (KetoConnect)

A Keto Mom’s Tips for Managing the Holidays on the Ketogenic Diet (KetoConnect guest blogger)

Winter Holidays on the Ketogenic Diet (Epilepsy Foundation)

Holiday Baking (KetoCook)

Keto Gingerbread House & Gingerbread Men (KetoCook)

Although Hanukkah has already passed for 2015, we also have some tips and recipe ideas for families celebrating Hanukkah on the ketogenic diet in case you missed them.

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Introducing MyKetoPlanner!

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Are you looking for new keto recipe ideas or a platform to contribute your keto recipes to help other families just like you?

We are excited to introduce MyKetoPlanner™: a brand new diet management tool, recipe sharing database, and social network, specifically designed for the Ketogenic Diet Community!

Please note that this program is currently available only in the U.S. For information on availability in your country, please contact your local Nutricia office.

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How Can You Start Using MyKetoPlanner?

Parents of children on the ketogenic diet and adults on the ketogenic diet can register on MyKetoPlanner.com. When registering, you will be prompted to select your health care provider(s) from a list of providers who are registered on the site. Note:

  • If you don’t see your health care provider in the list, you have the option to invite him/her to join.
  • If your keto center has more than one health care provider who will be managing the diet, you can link your account with multiple providers. Simply hold the Control (“Ctrl”) key to select more than one provider.
  • Your account must be linked with a health care provider in order to access the full features of the site.

What Can You Do with MyKetoPlanner?

Create recipes and share them with others in the keto community.

  • Keep your recipes private or share them with the keto community.
  • Include a photo so that others know how to expect the recipe to look.
  • Select the appropriate Category for your recipe (for example, Classical Diet, MAD, LGIT) and select identifying tags (such as 4:1 Ratio, breakfast, dessert, etc.) to make your recipe easy for other users to find.

Search for recipes created and shared by other families and dietitians.

  • Type what you are looking for into the search bar and click “Begin Search” (for example, pizza, pancakes, cookies) or
  • Click on the colored tags to search for recipes that fall under that description. For example, click “breakfast” to see all breakfast recipes, “KetoCal 4:1 Powder” to see all recipes that use KetoCal 4:1 Powder, or “4:1 Ratio” to see all recipes in a 4:1 ketogenic ratio.search

Save shared recipes to your account where your health care provider can review, modify, and verify them for you.

  • When viewing a shared recipe, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Add to My Saved Recipes”. Then send your health care provider a message to ask them to review the recipe and make any necessary modifications for you. Once your health care provider has reviewed it, he/she will “Verify” the recipe so that you know it is okay to use. When viewing your list of saved recipes, you can see whether or not a recipe has been verified by your provider.

Provide your feedback on shared recipes by rating them on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.

Connect with your keto health care provider.

  • Send your provider private messages to ask questions, request new recipes, or to ask him/her to verify recipes that you have created or saved from shared recipes.

Where Can You Access MyKetoPlanner?

The website version of MyKetoPlanner is now accessible at www.myketoplanner.com. Soon MyKetoPlanner will be available through a mobile application which will allow you to access your MyKetoPlanner account on-the-go from your tablet or smart phone! Look out for an announcement in the coming weeks.

We hope that you love MyKetoPlanner and that it makes the ketogenic diet a little easier for you. If you have any questions or comments, contact us using the “Contact Us” page on the site or contact Nutrition Services at 1-800-365-7354, Option 2 or at nutrition.services@nutricia.com.

As always, consult with your health care provider before making any diet changes or introducing any new recipes.

Back to School: Tips for Packing Keto Lunches

We are excited to welcome back Dana Haddox-Wright, keto mom and guest blogger extraordinaire! Dana lives in Connecticut with her husband and two adorable daughters. Her 6-year-old daughter has Dravet Syndrome and has been on the ketogenic diet for over two years. As you prepare for your children to head back to school, we hope you will find Dana’s tips for packing a keto lunch box useful and timely. Be sure to check out Dana’s previous blog posts: “Tips for Making the Ketogenic Diet Funand “Ten Things That Only Keto Parents Would Understand“.

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Preparing food for children can be a daunting task, particularly when they are on the ketogenic diet. Kids on the diet are not always predictable. What they absolutely love one day, they may not want to touch the next. And the hours spent in the kitchen might drive any parent crazy (or to drinking, whichever comes first). The struggle is real for us. Just when we narrow down several “favorites” the kids love, we are then confronted with another challenge….SCHOOL.

Work Around School Policies

School policies on food vary by district, but most do not allow tree nut products. No macadamia nut, almond, or peanut-based foods are allowed much of the time. This significantly limits our fat options. If your child’s school cafeteria does allow nuts at designated tables, then you are ok. Other parents will need to get creative. Coconut is a useful substitute, but you may need to convince your school administrators that it is ok. When my daughter’s school told me that I would not be able to send in coconut based foods, I was confused. I contacted the keto dietician, and she told me that though coconuts grow on trees they are technically not “tree nuts,” and it is very rare for individuals with tree nut allergies to have a reaction to them. She wrote the school a letter that was shared with the school nurses, and problem solved. Once you know what you CANNOT send to school, you can experiment with alternate recipes. Try using coconut flour or flaxmeal in exchange for nut flours.

Keep It Simple

Another helpful hint is to keep things simple. You can make delicious meals that do not require a lot of components or ingredients. A few of my daughter’s favorites that are not messy or complex include the bake and freeze pizzas (using flaxmeal instead of macadamia nuts), cheesecake, hotdogs with “awesome sauce” (low sugar ketchup and mayonnaise with cut up cooked hot dog mixed in) and a side of cream (made into whipped cream). Last, but not least, a nice water bottle with a keto-safe flavoring and some liquid stevia is a great alternative to the juice boxes that kids often have.

Remember the Social Aspect

Lunch period is time that kids socialize. Something to remember is that kids pay attention to what their peers pack in their lunches. Knowing this, I try to make my daughter’s lunches tasty and fun while meeting all the keto requirements. You may also want use the school lunch calendar as a guide. Attempt to mimic what the school cafeteria will be serving.

Listen to Your Child

Take time to listen to your children. If they say they want carrots or apple, attempt to work them into new recipes (assuming you have time in your busy schedule). In the end, it is all about making things easier while keeping our little ones safe.

Put On Your Advertising Hat

As the head keto-chef in my house, I try to prepare things that even I would want to eat. Think like an advertiser. Market to your child, and everyone wins. Find keto-friendly food coloring for cookies or cakes, or even for their water to add to visual appeal. On a diet that is so restrictive, there are ways to turn limits into opportunities.

Know That It’s All Worth It

Know that the time you spend being a keto mad scientist, is time well spent. Your kids, whether they can verbalize it or not, will appreciate your effort. They will know that you put your love for them into everything including their school meals.

-Dana

Fiber and the Ketogenic Diet for Epilepsy

By Ellen Sviland Avery, MS, RD, LD, CNSC

As many of you know, the ketogenic diet is a very high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate diet. Since carbohydrates are limited, this can also limit an important nutrient in the diet: fiber. In today’s KetoConnect post, registered dietitian Ellen Sviland Avery answers your questions about fiber and why it’s important for children on the ketogenic diet for epilepsy.

Why is fiber important?

Fiber is important in a healthy diet to maintain gut health.  It is recommended that children older than 2 years of age consume a minimum amount of dietary fiber equivalent to their age plus 5 grams of fiber per day. For example, a 4-year old child should consume at least 9 g of fiber per day (4+5=9). A safe range of dietary fiber intake for children is suggested to be their age plus between 5-10 grams of fiber per day. 1 Research has also shown that up to 55% of children don’t meet fiber needs with an oral diet. 2,3

How does this affect my child on the ketogenic diet?

As previously stated, fiber may be limited in the ketogenic diet. Fiber is primarily found in fruits, vegetables and grain products. Due to the low carbohydrate intake of the ketogenic diet, these foods are typically consumed in small quantities, limiting the amount of fiber consumed. Because of the lack of fiber and bulk in the diet, constipation is a common side effect. 4,5 Gastrointestinal symptoms, especially constipation, are seen in ¾ of all ketogenic diet patients.6

So how do I improve these side effects?

To help prevent or alleviate constipation with the ketogenic diet, talk to your child’s doctor or dietitian to ensure your child is receiving adequate fiber and fluid. Speak with the dietitian about foods that may be higher in fiber that will fit in your child’s ketogenic ratio. Sometimes just increasing the amount of fiber consumed by small amounts will help with constipation. If needed, the doctor or dietitian may also prescribe a fiber supplement or even a carbohydrate-free laxative. Do not give your child any laxative without first consulting with the medical team.

How can KetoCal help with fiber needs?

KetoCal 4:1 contains fiber to help meet your child’s fiber needs while on the ketogenic diet. One drink box of KetoCal 4:1 LQ contains 2.6 g fiber. The great thing about the fiber found in KetoCal is that it comes from a patented blend of six different types of fibers, rather than just one type. This helps to better resemble the blend of fiber one would get from eating a healthy diet. Talk to your dietitian to see how KetoCal fits into your child’s meal plan!

-Ellen

  1. Williams CL, Bollella M, Wynder EL. A new recommendation for dietary fiber in childhood. Pediatrics. 1995;96(5 Pt 2):985-8.
  2. Butte NF, Fox MK, Briefel RR, et al. Nutrient Intakes of US Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers Meet or Exceed Dietary Reference Intakes. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2012;110(12):S27-s37.
  3. Hampl JS, Betts NM, Benes BA. The ‘age+5′ rule: comparisons of dietary fiber intake among 4- to 10-year-old children. J Am Diet Assoc. 1998;98(12):1418-23.
  4. Dahl WJ, Niebergall EJ, Owen RJ. Implications of fiber inadequacy in the ketogenic diet: a case study. ICAN: Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition. 2011;3(5):3.
  5. Kossoff EH, Zupec-Kania BA, Amark PE, et al. Optimal clinical management of children receiving the ketogenic diet: recommendations of the International Ketogenic Diet Study Group. Epilepsia. 2009;50(2):304-17.
  6. Bergqvist AG. Long-term monitoring of the ketogenic diet: Do’s and Don’ts. Epilepsy Res. 2012;100(3):261-6.

Ketogenic Diet Myths and Misconceptions Series: Heart Disease

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One of the most common misconceptions about the ketogenic diet for epilepsy is that it will lead to heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease. It is true that consuming high amounts of certain types of fats (including cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fats) can lead to high levels of lipids in the blood, which may increase an individual’s risk for developing heart disease. It is also true that high lipid levels are a common side effect of the ketogenic diet. However, when the ketogenic diet is used under proper medical and nutritional supervision, lipid levels can typically be controlled.

When an individual is on a ketogenic diet for epilepsy, their health care team will regularly monitor their blood lipid levels. If high lipid levels are found, adjustments can be made to the diet in order to bring the levels down to a safe level. This is just one of the many reasons why it is so important to only do the ketogenic diet under close medical and nutritional supervision.

A 2008 study from Johns Hopkins Hospital found that about a third of children developed high lipid levels after starting the ketogenic diet[1]. Interestingly, the researchers noted that in many cases, the high lipid levels were only temporary. As the children’s bodies adjusted to the high fat diet, their blood lipid levels often normalized and returned to near pre-diet levels within 6-12 months[2].

As mentioned above, the ketogenic health care team can make certain adjustments to the diet in order to help prevent or manage high lipid levels. For one, the ketogenic dietitian can help caregivers to incorporate more healthy fats into the diet and reduce the intake of unhealthy fats. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) published a report in 2009 about six children who developed high lipid levels on the ketogenic diet[3]. The children’s caregivers were encouraged to reduce foods with high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol (such as heavy cream, butter, egg yolks, etc.) and to incorporate more healthy fats into the diet (such as vegetable oils, nuts, etc.). These simple diet adjustments led to improved lipid levels for all six of the children observed.

It’s important to note that high lipid levels may be less of a concern for children on the ketogenic diet who are tube-fed or who otherwise consume a formula-only ketogenic diet. The previously mentioned 2008 Johns Hopkins study found that children on formula-only ketogenic diet were much less likely to develop high lipid levels in comparison to children who consumed a solid food ketogenic diet. This may be because ketogenic diet formulas have relatively low levels of saturated fat (20%) in comparison to the amount of saturated fat in a typical solid-food ketogenic diet (60%).

In summary, the belief that a ketogenic diet for epilepsy will lead to heart disease is a common misconception. Although high lipid levels can increase an individual’s risk for developing heart disease, lipid levels can usually be managed with close monitoring and guidance from the ketogenic diet health care team. As always, be sure to discuss any questions or concerns with your health care provider.

 

  1. Nizamuddin, J., et al., Management and risk factors for dyslipidemia with the ketogenic diet. J Child Neurol, 2008. 23(7): p. 758-61.
  2. Kossoff, E.H., et al., Ketogenic Diets: Treatments for Epilepsies and Other Disorders. Fifth ed. 2011, New York, NY: Demos Medical Publishing.
  3. Fenton, C., C.M. Chee, and A.G.C. Bergqvist, Manipulation of Types of Fats and Cholesterol Intake Can Successfully Improve the Lipid Profile While Maintaining the Efficacy of the Ketogenic Diet. ICAN: Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition, 2009. 1(6): p. 338-341.

Ketogenic Diet Infographics

Information graphics, better known as infographics, are visual representations of information. Infographics provide a quick and clear way to learn about a topic without having to read a large amount of text. They are a popular way to share information via social media.

Given the current popularity of infographics and their usefulness for sharing complex information in an easier-to-understand way, we searched the web for the best infographics about the ketogenic diet for seizures and epilepsy. Below is our list of the top five infographics that are helpful for learning about the ketogenic diet.

If you are a parent considering the ketogenic diet for your child, we hope that you find these infographics useful for learning more about how the diet works. If your child is on the ketogenic diet and you are already familiar with how it works, these may be useful for explaining the diet to friends, family, teachers, etc.

  1. Our favorite infographic about the ketogenic diet is from Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. It does a great job of explaining the basics of how theketogenic diet works.

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  2. We may be biased about this infographic since it’s ours, but we think it’s useful for spreading awareness about intractable epilepsy and how theketogenic diet may help for some individuals.

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  3. This infographic from Duke Children’s Hospital provides a nice visual comparison of the percentage of fat, carbohydrate, and protein in a typical diet, classical ketogenic diet, modified Atkins diet, medium chain triglyceride (MCT) ketogenic diet, and low glycemic index treatment (LGIT).

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  4. Here is another infographic from our website, which we think is useful for explaining the difference between the classical ketogenic diet and the newer variations (modified Atkins Diet, MCT ketogenic diet, and LGIT).

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  5. Lastly, here is an infographic shared on Facebook by Gillette Children’s Hospital with holiday tips for parents of children on theketogenic diet. The winter holidays may be over, but these tips are useful for managing special occasions allyear long, such as birthday parties, Valentine’s Day, Easter, etc.
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Do you know of a helpful infographic about the ketogenic diet for epilepsy? Please share a link in the comments below!