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

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”!