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

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

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 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.

Tips for Families Getting Ready to Start the Ketogenic Diet

Lindsey Thompson, MS, RD, CSP, LD

We are pleased to share today’s guest blog post written by ketogenic dietitian and keto ambassador Lindsey Thompson, MS, RD, CSP, LD. Thanks for sharing your tips for families preparing to start the ketogenic diet, Lindsey!


The ketogenic diet is an option for managing intractable epilepsy, and it often provides a liberating alternative for families struggling with heavy medication loads, side effects and persistent seizures. I have seen hundreds of families benefit from the diet in incredible ways both in terms of seizure control and quality of life. Nonetheless, starting the ketogenic diet can be a challenging transition for families for many reasons. Some of the challenges relate to things other than the actual food being provided, such as mealtime structure or schedule, child behaviors around mealtime or medication/supplement administration. The ketogenic diet is initiated during a several day inpatient stay (or possibly a series of outpatient visits) and many of these challenges cannot be worked through in this short period of time.

In my experience having worked with the ketogenic diet for a number of years, there are a lot of areas families can be working on before they “formally” start the diet that can make the transition onto the ketogenic diet a lot easier.  Families appreciate working on these at home beforehand and come to the diet initiation much more prepared with what will be expected.

If your provider has started talking to you about the ketogenic diet or you in the process of getting scheduled to initiate, here are some tips to get your family ready:

Focus on Mealtime Structure

Once your child is on the ketogenic diet, he or she will be expected to consume all of the foods prepared for him/her at a scheduled meal or snack in order to consume his or her prescribed “ratio” of the diet. If your child is currently a “grazer” or very picky eater, this will be a difficult part of the transition. It will help to have put some structure in place before starting the ketogenic diet. Here are a few tips to implement this mealtime structure now:

  • Create a schedule of meals and snacks for your child.
  • Sit together at the table as a family for meals and snacks. Avoid allowing your child to eat on the couch, in front of a TV or “on-the-go”.
  • Avoid food battles. Provide your child with a plate of food and give him or her 20-30 minutes to finish what they would like to eat from the foods you have provided. After 20-30 minutes, remove the plate of food and end the meal/snack time.
  • Avoid offering alternatives to foods that are provided. If your child is very picky, have at least one “preferred” food available with the meal or snack, but avoid being a “short-order cook” for your child. If your child has not eaten a lot of the meal/snack at the end of the meal/snack, remind them that another meal or snack will be available at the next scheduled time. This will help your child to learn that they should eat what is available. When alternatives are provided, your child sees this as a reward for not eating the foods that have been provided and will make the picky behaviors worse.
  • Offer water between meals and snacks. Avoid offering drinks with calories such as juice or milk between meals or snacks, as these can make your child just full enough to not be interested in the foods offered for their next meal/snack.

Encourage Fluid Intake

Fluids are an extremely important part of the ketogenic diet. Consumption of adequate fluid helps protect against the possible side effects of the diet such as constipation, metabolic acidosis and kidney stones. I have found that children who consume adequate fluid have a much easier transition onto the ketogenic diet and do not suffer as many side effects of the diet later.

  • Ask your dietitian or pediatrician how much fluid your child needs each day (will be based on your child’s weight). Most of the time, our patients and families are very surprised by the amount of fluid their child needs each day and their child is getting less than what is expected.
  • Offer water frequently, and recognize that your child may need to be prompted to drink more regularly.
  • Get your child a special cup or bottle that he or she will enjoy drinking from.
  • Discontinue sugary drinks such as juice and soda as these will not be an option on the ketogenic diet.
  • If your child is struggling with water intake, introduce sugar free beverages (such as sugar free powders or drops) that will also be an option when your child is on the ketogenic diet. Dilute these with water as much as possible because they do contain small amounts of carbohydrate.

Start Brainstorming Ideas about Medication Administration

If your child is young, it is likely that his or her medicines or vitamins are currently in a liquid, chewable or gummy formulation. At the start of the ketogenic diet, these formulations will be changed to tablet or capsule forms because the liquids, chewables and gummies have too many carbohydrates (sugars) for someone on a ketogenic diet. For children who are not able to swallow tablets or capsules, their medicines must be crushed and administered. These are not very palatable and can be another challenge we would rather work through before the diet initiation.

  • If your child seems ready to learn to swallow pills, now is the time! Before the diet start, you can practice with mini candies or other tasty treats which will not be an option after diet initiation.
  • If possible, contact your epilepsy provider and have them change your child’s liquid medications to tablets/capsules so you are able to start practicing how your child will be able to consume these at home.
  • Test different foods your child will tolerate the medicine being mixed into such as yogurt, applesauce or peanut butter. Once on the ketogenic diet, your dietitian can create “medication snacks” that would include the above foods mixed with a certain amount fat (such as applesauce and oil, yogurt and sour cream or peanut butter and butter).
  • You can also try mixing the medicine into a small amount of a sugar free beverage that would be given via syringe.

Introduce Various Fats into your Child’s Diet

Once your child is on the ketogenic diet, high fat foods will comprise about 70-90% of his or her calories. It can be overwhelming for a child to be trying new foods for the first time when they are also in the hospital starting the ketogenic diet. If your child is not currently exposed to a variety of fats, give them a try now, so that you can let your dietitian know the fats your child prefers at diet start.

  • Heavy whipping cream: most children on the ketogenic diet drink heavy cream instead of milk. To get started, offer a small amount (1 oz) diluted equally with water and a drop of liquid Stevia added for sweetness. You can also mix your child’s milk with a bit of cream to start the transition.
  • Butter: melt over vegetables, meats or fruits
  • Sour Cream: offer as a dipping sauce with a pinch of dried herbs or mix into yogurt
  • Mayonnaise: make cold egg, chicken or tuna salads or use as a dipping sauce
  • Peanut butter: mix with butter and offer on fruits or vegetables
  • Vegetable oil (olive, safflower, grapeseed, or whatever oil is used in your home): can be used to cook with, mixed into any sauce (spaghetti sauce, barbeque sauce, ketchup) or atop meats, fruits and vegetables

The ketogenic diet can be a helpful and rewarding option for families struggling with seizures or other neurological disorders. Being prepared for the transition can make the diet initiation much more manageable, successful and enjoyable! I hope the above tips will be helpful in getting you ready to start. Good luck!

-Lindsey

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”.

A Dietitian’s Tips for Tasty Ways to Incorporate Fat into the Diet

We are excited to share today’s guest blog post by ketogenic dietitian and Keto Ambassador, Vanessa Aldaz, MPH, RD, CDE. Thanks for these awesome tips, Vanessa!


BleVanessa Aldaznding in the fats- Can we make them taste better?

By Vanessa Aldaz, MPH RD CDE

I often hear the same complaint from new keto parents: “It’s just too much fat– my child has a hard time eating it all”. Or “It just doesn’t taste that good”.  Even parents that have been doing the diet for a longer time will come back eventually and ask “How can we continue giving the fats?”

Whatever happened to the old saying ”Fat makes everything taste better”?  Yes, I imagine it especially does when it is also covered in sugar and simple carbs! But not so much in this magical diet known as the ketogenic diet when sugar is not allowed and loads of butter, oil, mayo, lard or other fatty goodness are needed to keep our children away from those vicious seizures.

So how can we keep the magic happening each time we slather and pound the fat component of the diet on our child’s plate? Can we make it go down easier? Well, perhaps! If you haven’t tried some of these tricks and tips, you might find some of these useful. Remember to mix it up and continue to use creativity. Here are a few tasty ways to blend in the fats on a high fat diet! Hmm, maybe fat does make everything taste better…..

Note- Be sure to tailor these ideas to work with your prescribed ketogenic ratio or diet type. Consult with your dietitian for help.

  1. Mix in the MCT oil. If using MCT oil in your diet- mix it into mayonnaise or a dressing.
  2. Make herbed butter! Fresh or dried herbs work just fine– Use a pinch or weigh out and calculate into your ratio if using more. Add herbs like parsley, oregano, tarragon, lavender, cilantro, rosemary, thyme or herbs de Provence to butter, ghee or even coconut oil. Make it into a log, freeze or keep refrigerated and use as needed for fats that add flavor, freshness and color.
  3. Spice it up! Same as above but add spices. Paprika, cayenne and even a pinch of curry are enough to give your fats a kick!
  4. Make a dressing! Mix oil, heavy cream, salt and pepper, and an acidic component whether it be lime or lemon juice or vinegar. Try to use 3 parts fat to 1 part acid component. Don’t forget to calculate the vinegar or citric juices as these may add extra carbs.
  5. Infused oils! Yes, infused oils have very low or even no carbs but provide plenty of aroma and flavor. Take 1 cup of any oil (except flaxseed)- such as olive, coconut oil, canola or corn oil and add a flavoring component, such as 2 cloves of garlic, or 1 tsp red pepper flakes, dried rosemary, oregano, thyme, or basil. You could also add 1-2 star of anise, some cloves, a piece of fresh dried turmeric (which is also a great antioxidant), or ginger root. Add the oil blend to a small sauce pan. Bring to a low simmer then turn off heat and let stand until cool for 30 minutes. Once cooled, use a sieve and keep only the oil. Drizzle on foods like fish, vegetables, or meats! YUMM!
  6. Infused cream! To 1 cup of heavy cream- add 1 TBSP of one of the following: dried herbs or spices (such as basil, garlic, curry, peppermint or mint leaves), tea leaves like green tea, cinnamon sticks, orange or lemon peel, macha green tea, or a chai tea bag. Bring the mixture to a low simmer for 10-15 minutes or until cream is infused with enough flavor. Do not boil. Cool to room temperature or refrigerate. Depending upon whether you made a sweet or savory cream infusion, you can add salt or your choice of sugar substitute. The infused cream can be made into a sauce or dessert topping or as a twist on a fat bomb!
  7. Create a mousse using heavy cream whipped and blended with applesauce or pureed fruit.
  8. Make a savory mousse by mixing an infused oil, heavy cream and pureed chicken, tuna or salmon. Use to dip with keto crackers or veggies.
  9. Keto ice cubes! Mix MCT oil and heavy cream together (emulsified forms of the MCT oil work best), pour into fun shaped ice cube trays, and freeze! These work great in a diet orange soda or diet root beer as a “keto float”!

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.

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“.

page-break-01
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

KetoCal Supports Rare Disease Day 2015!

KetoCal is a medical food used by individuals with intractable epilepsy who are on a ketogenic diet. Within the category of intractable epilepsy, there are many different seizure disorders, many of which are rare diseases. KetoCal is also used by individuals with rare metabolic disorders that are managed with a ketogenic diet, including GLUT1 Deficiency Syndrome and Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Deficiency (PDHD). Many individuals in our KetoCal community are living with rare disease, so we wanted to take this opportunity to show our support for Rare Disease Day 2015rdd-logo

Below is a list of just some of the rare diseases within the ketogenic diet community. Please note that this list contains only the rare diseases that we are aware of from talking with caregivers and healthcare providers of individuals living with these diseases; If we are missing one that is important to you, please let us know. If you get a chance, please take a moment to click on the links to learn more about these rare conditions.

Rare Disease Day 2015 is on February 28th. To learn more about Rare Disease Day, and how to get involved, visit http://www.rarediseaseday.org/.

Rare Disease:Numbers:Learn more:
GLUT1 Deficiency SyndromeAbout 500 cases have been diagnosed worldwidehttp://www.g1dfoundation.org/
Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Deficiency (PDHD)Several hundred cases reportedhttps://www.rarediseases.org/rare-disease-information/rare-diseases/byID/413/viewFullReport
Myoclonic-Astatic Epilepsy (Doose Syndrome)Estimated 1 in 10,000http://doosesyndrome.org/
Tuberous Sclerosis ComplexEstimated 1 in 10,000http://www.tsalliance.org/pages.aspx?content=2
Rett SyndromeEstimated 1 in 10,000 females (very rare in males)https://www.rettsyndrome.org
Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy of Infancy (Dravet Syndrome)Estimated 1 in 30,000http://www.dravetfoundation.org/
Infantile Spasms (West Syndrome)Estimated 2-3.5 in 10,000http://www.infantilespasmsinfo.org/index.php
Lennox-Gaustaut SyndromeEstimated  1 in 50,000-100,000http://www.lgsfoundation.org/
Angelman SyndromeEstimated 1 in 15,000http://www.angelman.org/
Landau Kleffner SyndromeUnknownhttp://www.epilepsy.com/learn/types-epilepsy-syndromes/landau-kleffner-syndrome
Alternating Hemiplegia of ChildhoodEstimated 1 in 1,000,000http://ahckids.org/ or http://cureahc.org/

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.

Tips and Recipes for Making Valentine’s Day Fun for Your Keto Kid

valentinesdayLike most holidays and special occasions, Valentine’s Day can be tricky when you have a child on the ketogenic diet for epilepsy. Most valentine celebrations involve candy and other sweets not allowed on the ketogenic diet, which can make it stressful for parents trying to ensure that their child does not consume any non-allowed foods.  Parents may also find it challenging to make the day fun despite the dietary restrictions. Fortunately, little things go a long way when it comes to making special occasions fun for kids. For today’s KetoConnect Blog Post, we have some tips and ideas for small ways to make Valentine’s Day fun and special for your keto kid.

Add a Festive Touch!

You can make any meal more festive with a cute Valentine’s Day-themed straw, cup, plate, etc.

Decorate Your KetoCal!

Replace your child’s regular KetoCal with pink, strawberry-flavored KetoCal. Simply add a sugar-free, carb-free strawberry flavoring, such as DaVinci Gourmet’s strawberry syrup, to the KetoCal LQ Vanilla. Add your festive straw and voila!–You have a Valentine’s treat!

Another idea is to actually decorate the KetoCal LQ drink box. We found some cute ideas on Pinterest, such as these. You can find more ideas on our “Valentine’s Day on the Ketogenic Diet board on Pinterest! (Please note- these ideas use juice boxes, so you would just use your KetoCal LQ boxes instead).

Make Everything Heart-Shaped!

Another easy way to make Valentine’s Day special is to make your child’s favorite foods in the shape of a heart. Below are a few ideas:

  • Make your KetoCal pancakes into hearts by pouring the batter into a cookie cutter on the pan.
  • Make a heart-shaped KetoCal pizza by spreading the pizza dough into the shape of a heart before topping and cooking (you could do this by hand or using a larger-sized cookie cutter–just place the cookie cutter on the parchment paper and spread the dough inside of it to shape the pizza).
  • Make heart-shaped muffins or cupcakes using heart-shaped silicone baking cups, such as these.

Embrace Pink!

Celebrate Valentine’s Day by making recipes that are naturally festive by color! Here are some recipe ideas that are pink and perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Rasstrawberry_smoothiepberry or Strawberry Smoothie:

Our KetoCal Raspberry or Strawberry Smoothie recipes are naturally pink in color and perfect for Valentine’s Day. Optional–Top with whipped heavy cream sweetened with carb-free sweetener and serve with a festive straw!

KetoCal Cherry Float:

Add scoops of KetoCal Vanilla Ice Cream to any sugar-free, carb-free cherry-flavored soda, such as Zevia® Black Cherry or Professor Fizz (please note, these sodas are not carb-free but the carb comes from erythritol, which some dietitians do not count towards total carbohydrate– check with your dietitian first). Usually, the carb-free cherry soda is red in color but if the brand you use is not, you could add a small amount of red food coloring. Optional- top with whipped heavy cream sweetened with carb-free sweetener and serve with a festive straw!

Strawberry Panna Cotta:panna-cotta

Panna Cotta is a creamy Italian dessert. Our KetoCal Strawberry Panna Cotta recipe is tasty and perfectly-colored for a Valentine’s Day treat!

Make Awesome Non-Food Valentines!

Many valentines involve candy, but there are many other options for non-food valentine treats which are just as much fun for kids. We found some awesome ideas for non-candy valentines on Pinterest. You can check them out on our “Valentine’s Day on the Ketogenic Diet” Pinterest board. If your child’s school is having a Valentine’s Day celebration, send along some non-food valentine treats for your child and the rest of the children to enjoy. If you are friends with other parents of children in the class, you could share some non-food Valentine ideas with them as well. There are likely other children in the class with food restrictions, such as those with food allergies, and many parents try to minimize their children’s sugar intake, so you might find that other parents embrace the awesome non-food valentine idea too!

-Mallory

2015 Epilepsy and Ketogenic Diet-Related Event Calendar

2015 CalendarFor today’s blog post, we created a calendar of epilepsy and ketogenic diet-related events taking place throughout 2015. This includes various conferences, fundraisers and patient group awareness days. These are only the events that we are aware of, so we hope that you can help us add on to this calendar. If we are missing your group’s event, please let us know so that we can include it. Please add a comment below this post or send us an email at myketocal@nutricia.com.

January

February

March

April

  • Keto University (for dietitians)
    April 27th- 29th
    San Diego, CA

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Top Five Books for Parents Learning About the Ketogenic Diet for Epilepsy

If you are considering the ketogenic diet for your child, or perhaps your child is already scheduled to begin the ketogenic diet, you are likely seeking all the information that you can find to educate and prepare yourself. Even after your child starts the ketogenic diet, you will likely continue searching for information and resources to support you in managing your child’s diet. Many parents find books to be helpful, so for today’s KetoConnect blog post, we rounded up a list of five of our favorite books for parents learning about the ketogenic diet for epilepsy.

For more resources for parents learning about the ketogenic dietfor epilepsy, check out our list of helpful YouTube videos and infographics.

ketodietsbookKetogenic Diets

This book, by the ketogenic diet team at Johns Hopkins Hospital, is a must-have for both parents and health care professionals.

The Keto Cookbookketocookbook

This ketogenic diet cookbook is co-authored by a mother of a child on the ketogenic diet and a ketogenic  dietitian. It provides a variety of tasty ketogenic recipe ideas.

Keto Kid: Helping Your Child Succeed on the Ketogenic Dietketokid

This book is written by a physician who is also the mother of a child on the ketogenic diet. It provides helpful tips for everyday management of the diet.

Fighting Back with Fatfightingback

This book is written by two mothers of children on the ketogenic diet for seizures. It provides practical tips for parents managing the Classical Ketogenic Diet or the Modified Atkins Diet.

Diet for Seizures: One Child’s Journeydietforseizures

In this book, a father tells about his daughter’s experience with the Modified Atkins Diet for epilepsy. This is a great read for parents, especially those interested in the Modified Atkins Diet.

Do you have feedback about these books or know of another useful book to add to this list? Please share in the comment section below!

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.

    info

    Click to view full image

  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.

    Click to view full image

    Click to view full image

  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).

    Click to view full image

    Click to view full image

  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).

    Click to view full image

    Click to view full image

  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.
    Click to view full image

    Click to view full image

     

Do you know of a helpful infographic about the ketogenic diet for epilepsy? Please share a link in the comments below!

Keto Highlights of 2014

2014 Highlights

As we finish the final days of 2014, today’s KetoConnect blog post looks back at the highlights of 2014 for the ketogenic diet community.

International Conference:

The highlight event of 2014 was undoubtedly the International Symposium on Dietary Therapies for Epilepsy & other Neurological Disorders, which was hosted by Matthew’s Friends in Liverpool, England. Around 270 healthcare professionals, scientists, and parents attended the first International Symposium on Dietary Therapies for Epilepsy & Other Neurological Disorders, which was held in 2008 in Phoenix, AZ. This year’s symposium had nearly double the attendance with roughly 500 attendees from 27 different countries.

Global Growth:

The use of the ketogenic diet continued to expand geographically in 2014. As mentioned in the paragraph above, this year’s International Symposium had attendees from 27 different countries! In the August 2014 issue of Keto News, Dr. Eric Kossoff discussed the global growth of the ketogenic diet, which is now offered in at least 60 countries!

More Research:

Research interest in the ketogenic diet has increased tremendously in recent years and the trend continued into 2014. There were more scientific articles on the ketogenic diet published in 2014 than ever before. The graph below shows the steadily increasing number of publications on the ketogenic diet, with a whopping 172 articles published in 2014 (along with 13 articles e-published ahead of print in 2015)! As Dr. Eric Kossoff discussed in his recent Keto News article, there has never been more research interest in the ketogenic diet. It is a very exciting time for our community!

Source: Pubmed.gov

Source: Pubmed.gov

Increased Online Interest:

In addition to the trend for increasing research interest, there is also a trend for increasing online interest in the ketogenic diet. Google Trends allows you to compare online interest in certain topics over time based on how many people search the Web for that topic. As you can see from this graph comparing online search trends over the last 10 years (below), there were many people searching for the ketogenic diet online in 2014!

Source: Google Trends

Source: Google Trends

Loss of Dr. John Friedman:

The ketogenic diet community mourned the loss of Dr. John Freeman in 2014. Dr. Freeman was an internationally renowned neurologist from Johns Hopkins University who revived the use of the ketogenic diet for epilepsy. Dr. Freeman’s contributions live on in the many patients that he helped.

New Keto Ambassador Program:

Nutricia North America launched a new “Keto Ambassador” program in 2014, connecting expert ketogenic dietitians with less experienced dietitians for support and guidance. In 2015, the Keto Ambassadors will host the first ever “Keto University” for dietitians!

 

For more 2014 highlights from our friends across the pond in the UK, check out the 2014 project summary from Matthew’s Friends.

Happy New Year, everyone! We’ll see you in 2015.

-Mallory

Holiday Tips and Recipes Roundup

Today’s KetoConnect post is a collection of posts from around the web with helpful tips and recipe ideas for celebrating the holidays with a child on the ketogenic diet. Please comment if you know of any other helpful posts that we should add to the list. Best wishes for a happy, healthy, keto-friendly holiday!

Tips for Celebrating Winter Holidays (Epilepsy Foundation)

Christmas:

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

Christmas Survival Guide (Matthew’s Friends)

KetoCal Christmas Recipe Ideas (KetoConnect)

Holiday Baking (KetoCook)

Hanukkah:

Celebrating Chanukah on the Ketogenic Diet (KetoConnect guest blog post)

KetoCal Hanukkah Recipe Ideas (KetoConnect)

Celebrating Chanukah on the Ketogenic Diet

zahavaChanukah begins a week from today and we are excited to welcome a guest blogger for today’s post on celebrating Chanukah while on the ketogenic diet for epilepsy. Zahava Turner, RD CSP LDN, is a ketogenic dietitian at the Johns Hopkins Ketogenic Diet Clinic in Baltimore, MD. Zahava looks forward to celebrating Chanukah with her family each year so she is happy to share some tips for families celebrating Chanukah with a child on the ketogenic diet so that they can have an enjoyable holiday too.


hanukkahChanukah and the Ketogenic Diet

The holiday season is fast approaching! Chanukah or Hannukah is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and spirituality in a materialistic world. The Holy Temple which had been destroyed was rededicated  in Jerusalem. It begins on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev. Chanukah is observed by lighting the Menorah every night for eight days in honor of the single vial of olive oil that was found in the rubble that lasted for eight days.

As with most holidays, there are special foods that are eaten during Chanukah. Popular Chanukah foods include latkes, which are potato pancakes, and sufganiot, which are doughnuts. These foods are traditionally cooked in oil to commemorate the miracle of the olive oil that lasted for eight days. The heavy use of oil during Chanukah makes it the perfect holiday for children following a ketogenic diet for epilepsy!

As a ketogenic dietitian, I know how important it is to parents for their child’s life to be as normal as possible while on the ketogenic diet. Parents may be concerned that their child will have to miss out on favorite Chanukah foods but with some creativity and help from your dietitian, you can create ketogenic versions of almost any dish. Below are some ideas for making ketogenic latkes and sufganiot for your child to enjoy during Chanukah.

Latkes:

Although potatoes are traditionally used for latkes – any shredded vegetable like zucchini, beets, kale, or spinach can be mixed with egg to bind it together and then fried in oil.

Sufganiot:

One of the families that I work with came up with this recipe for a ketogenic donut! These keto donuts make a great substitute for sufganiot during Chanukah.

Keto-donut Recipe – Created by the Lynch family

Work with your dietitian to adjust the amounts of each ingredient to meet your child’s ketogenic ratio and calorie needs.

Ingredients:

  • Egg whites
  • Cream (whipped)
  • Macadamia nuts (finely chopped)
  • Butter and
  • Peanut butter

Directions:

Spray mini bunt pan well with nonstick cooking spray.  Mix egg whites, whipped cream and nuts together – set aside.  Melt butter and peanut butter together – mix well and pour into egg mixture.  Mix together and pour into bunt pan.  Bake in the oven at 350°Fon the lowest rack until golden brown (about 35 min. for a 300 kcal meal).  Cover with aluminum foil the last 10 minutes or so of baking to prevent top from burning before completely cooked through.

Happy Chanukah everyone!

-Zahava

 Find more recipe ideas for keto Chanukah foods here.

“What Are Ketones Anyways?”

When your child is on the ketogenic diet for seizures, the word “ketone” is a part of your everyday vocabulary. Not only do you talk about them, chances are that you measure them regularly as well. Despite this, you may find yourself wondering, “What are ketones anyways?” In today’s post, I’ll try to answer all of your questions about ketones.

Ketones, sometimes referred to as “ketone bodies”, are water-soluble compounds (meaning that they dissolve in water) that are produced as “byproducts” when the body burns fat for energy [1]. Normally, the body produces only small quantities of ketones but ketone production increases when the body is using fat as a primary source of fuel. This happens during starvation, when the liver burns stored body fat for energy, and on a ketogenic diet, when the liver burns large quantities of dietary fat for energy.

As the liver burns fat, ketones build up in the blood and the body is said to be in “ketosis”.  Ketones are transported from the liver through the blood to the brain, heart, and skeletal muscles where they can be used for energy[2].

Types of Ketones:

There are 3 different types of ketones: beta-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate, and acetone. Beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate are the most abundant ketones[3]. Acetone is produced in much smaller quantities, making up just a small proportion of the total ketone levels. While beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate are transported through the blood to provide energy to other parts of the body, acetone is not. Instead, it is exhaled through the lungs, which is why individuals on the ketogenic diet may have a characteristic smell to their breath.

Measuring Ketones:

When the body is in ketosis, ketones can be detected in the blood, urine and even in the breath.

Health care providers typically measure a patient’s ketone levels using blood or urine tests. Blood tests measure the blood levels of beta-hydroxybutyrate specifically. Urine tests, on the other hand, measure the levels of acetoacetate primarily. Although blood tests are generally viewed as more reliable measures of ketosis, urine testing is more practical for caregivers. Health care providers may use blood tests to evaluate ketone levels during diet initiation and at follow-up appointments but most families will measure ketones at home using urine test strips. Ketones can also be measured in the breath, although this is not a commonly used method [4, 5]. Breath testing of ketones specifically measures the level of acetone exhaled.

The Role of Ketones in Seizure Control

Because ketones can pass through the blood-brain-barrier, they are able to enter the brain to provide fuel[1]. There are many theories about how the ketogenic diet works to reduce seizures. One theory is that the ketones have an antiepileptic effect on the brain. However, we still don’t know exactly what role ketones play. Although ketone levels are good indicators that the body is in ketosis, the level of ketones do not always correlate with the degree of seizure control[6]. In other words, some individuals may have high levels of ketones but poor seizure control while others have low ketones but good seizure control. Because of this, some researchers believe that ketone levels may just be a sign that the body is in ketosis and that perhaps there is some other factor associated with ketosis that is responsible for the effect on seizures.

Thanks for reading today’s post on ketones. I hope that I answered your questions but if not, feel free to ask questions in the comment section below. We’ll see you next week!

-Mallory

  1. Kossoff, E.H., et al., Ketogenic Diets: Treatments for Epilepsies and Other Disorders. Fifth ed. 2011, New York, NY: Demos Medical Publishing.
  2. Nelson, D.L. and M.M. Cox, Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry. Third ed. 2000, United States of America: Worth Publishers.
  3. Qiao, Y., et al., Breath ketone testing: a new biomarker for diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring of diabetic ketosis. Biomed Res Int, 2014. 2014: p. 869186.
  4. Musa-Veloso, K., S.S. Likhodii, and S.C. Cunnane, Breath acetone is a reliable indicator of ketosis in adults consuming ketogenic meals. Am J Clin Nutr, 2002. 76(1): p. 65-70.
  5. Musa-Veloso, K., et al., Breath acetone predicts plasma ketone bodies in children with epilepsy on a ketogenic diet. Nutrition, 2006. 22(1): p. 1-8.
  6. Danial, N.N., et al., How does the ketogenic diet work? Four potential mechanisms. J Child Neurol, 2013. 28(8): p. 1027-33.