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

 

Keto-friendly Candy and Treat Recipes for Easter

With Easter coming up, you may be searching for keto-friendly candy alternatives to put in your little ones’ Easter baskets. These recipes are perfect for making keto-friendly candy and treats. Use Easter-themed candy molds to make these even more festive.

Chocolate Candy (2.87:1)

Easter Marshmallow Treats (MAD Recipe)

Gummies (3:1)

 

The Ketogenic Diet: 5 Things To Do Before You Go on a Trip

Taking a summer trip requires a little more planning when you or a family member is on a special diet. In today’s guest blog post, ketogenic dietitian and keto ambassador Stacey Bessone, RDN, LDN, shares her list of 5 things to do before going on a trip while on the ketogenic diet. Thank you for your tips, Stacey!


trip 2Sometimes planning for a trip can be overwhelming, even for people not on a special diet. When you or a family member is on a special diet, such as the ketogenic diet, the task can be even more daunting.  Here are a few tips to help preparations so that you do not need a vacation from your vacation.

  1. Plan for the travel portion (there and the way home).

    Try to bring non-perishables and pre-made snacks/meals that can be consumed on the way there AND the way back.  Some suggestions would be a sugar-free jello with whipped cream, avocado or a KetoCal LQ.  Make 2 travel meals/snacks and save one for the return trip.

  1. Plan for airport security.

    Below is a link for items NOT allowed through the check points for carry on. Liquids need to be less than 3.4 fluid ounces with the exception of medically-necessary liquids, such as special formulas or liquid medications. Let the TSA agent know if you have medically-necessary liquids as these will need to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings. You may also consider bringing a letter from your doctor or dietitian explaining the diet and need to carry special food, liquids, or medications.

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/prohibited-items

  1. Research grocery stores in the area you will be visiting.

    This may help with brand names and usual food items that you will want to have menus for. Call your hotel to see if there is grocery delivery and order ahead so that items will be available when you arrive.  Also, most hotels can provide small refrigerators which can be used to store cream, butter and other cold items.

  2. Review menus of local restaurants where you will eat.

    Many restaurants have online menus. This may make it easy to make a plan for ordering and bringing along items needed to compliment the meal. If you are staying or eating in a relative’s or friend’s home, call the host ahead of time to explain the situation.  This way you can make a plan for the host to supply certain foods or the need for you to bring food with you. Always have a fast food meal menu for back up.

  3. Have fun!

    By preparing and making a plan, the ketogenic diet can fit into a great vacation. This can be a good time to try new foods that may be part of the experience.  For example, BBQ in the south or fish/seafood near the ocean.  Preparing a menu for these foods and taking some of the steps above can make for an interesting dining experience.

-Stacey


See Stacey’s other guest blog post: “How to Make Valentine’s Day Extra Sweet on the Ketogenic Diet”

 

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”.

Summer Camp, Epilepsy, and the Ketogenic Diet

summer campIt’s hard to believe that summer vacation is almost here! Right about now, many of you are looking for summer activities, such as camps, to keep your little one busy over the break. Summer camp is an invaluable childhood experience full of fun, friendships and personal growth. But when your child has epilepsy, finding a suitable summer camp can be a bit more challenging.  If your child is on a ketogenic diet, it can be even more complicated. Fortunately, there are camps that can accommodate special circumstances and there are even camps specifically for children with epilepsy. With some extra research and planning, you can likely find a camp that will work for your little one. If you are eager for your child to experience summer camp but are unsure how to make it happen, today’s post will provide you with some resources to guide you.

Choosing a Camp:

The first thing to consider is the type of camp that will work best for your child. In some cases, a standard camp (that is, not specifically for children with epilepsy) may work fine as long as the staff is made aware and prepared in case of a seizure.

In other cases, a camp specifically for children with epilepsy, with medical personnel on site, is the best option. Some parents prefer this option because it allows their child to make friends with other children with epilepsy and just be “one of the gang”.  You and your child’s health care provider are the best judge of which option is most appropriate for your family.

If you are searching for an epilepsy camp near you, the Epilepsy Foundation provides a great list of camps in each state.  You can also contact your Epilepsy Foundation affiliate to learn about scholarship options. One epilepsy camp that is located near us and that we love is Camp Great Rocks. This camp is run under the medical management of the Children’s National Medical Center Neurology Team. If you live close to the DC Metro area, be sure to check it out–It’s a very special place!

Once you choose the type of camp, you should also consider whether you are interested in a day camp, where your child attends during the day but comes home in the evenings, or overnight camp, where your child sleeps over at camp. There are also overnight camps for both children and their caregivers. Again, you are the best judge as to which option is most appropriate for your child.

Taking the Ketogenic Diet to Camp:

These days, many camps are able to accommodate children with special diets, such as children with food allergies, so they are likely able to accommodate a ketogenic diet, so long as you discuss it ahead of time and provide the food and specific instructions. If your child is attending an epilepsy camp, they may already be familiar with the ketogenic diet, but you should still be sure to discuss it with the camp ahead of time to ensure they can accommodate the diet during camp. In most cases, you will need to provide the food and special instructions for the staff.Note- KetoCal LQ works great as a substitute for a meal while at summer camp since it is easily transportable and requires no weighing or mixing!

For a first-hand account, check out this keto mom’s article about her child’s experience at camp on the ketogenic diet: “Camping With Special Needs And A Ketogenic Diet

Preparing for Camp:

Once you’ve selected a camp for your child, you can take steps to prepare the staff and help keep your child safe while having a great time. The Epilepsy Foundation provides some awesome tips and resources, listed below:

Hopefully this post has provided you with some tips and resources to help guide your camp selection process but, as you know, the best advice comes from other parents. Have any of your children attended summer camp on the ketogenic diet? What advice or guidance would you offer other parents who are considering it?

-Mallory