Time to go back to school! 4 Tips for Families on the Medical Ketogenic Diet to Make Going Back to School Easier! By Lindsey Thompson, Ph.D., RD, LD

For families with a child on the medical ketogenic diet, starting the new school year can be a mix of emotions. Here are some useful tips to help get you through these upcoming weeks as school approaches.

Tip 1: Meet with the teacher and staff at the school in person (or virtually, if necessary).
It is so vital, especially if your child will be at a brand-new school this year, to make sure all of the staff members who are in contact with your child are aware of his or her special diet and restrictions. If your
child has an
Individualized Education Program (IEP), you likely already have a meeting scheduled. Be sure to discuss:
• Dietary restrictions – Many parents I have worked with find it helpful to compare the medical ketogenic diet to a food allergy (“my son has an allergy to carbohydrates or sugar”). Although this is an oversimplification of the diet, sometimes using the comparison helps staff understand the scope of the medical ketogenic diet when applied to epilepsy management.
• Classroom items to avoid – In addition to the dietary restrictions, make sure staff are aware that classroom items containing carbohydrates could be harmful for a child on the medical ketogenic diet to use (for example, modeling clay/Play-Doh®, which contains flour). I tell classroom staff that when in doubt, have the child wear gloves when using a product in question.
• Parties & Special Events – It is also important to review the schedule of class parties or events that may involve food with the teacher. Have the teacher let you know in advance when there will be a party or food so that you can send an appropriate ketogenic alternative for your child.
Tip 2: Practice to ease into the school routine
Switching from the summer schedule to the school schedule can be stressful. Kids with epilepsy may especially need additional time to adjust their sleep schedules in preparation for school. Practice your family’s school routine a few weeks in advance, perhaps in preparation for a day at the zoo or another activity. Set the alarms, have your children get up and ready, and pack that keto lunch for your child. You may even practice getting to the bus stop or driving to school to estimate the amount of time needed. Practicing beforehand will make the first day of school go more smoothly.
Tip 3: Meal Prep
As any keto parent knows, meal prepping for the medical ketogenic diet is very time-consuming. Schedule a day or time to prepare ketogenic meals and snacks for school ahead of time. Many parents like to choose a day when a spouse or other caregiver is available to help keep the kids occupied, like a weekend day.
Try to keep school lunches simple. If your child likes to drink KetoCal®, your school can provide a serving of KetoCal for the same cost as a school lunch, which may save you time in having to meal prep. Contact Nutricia Navigator to find out more about KetoCal and the National School Lunch Program: https://Nutricia-NA.com/NutriciaNavigator Nutricia KetoCal (myketocal.com)
Tip 4: Helpful supplies for school lunches
Supplies that are helpful in medical ketogenic diet lunches include:
• An insulated lunch bag with an ice pack (to keep cream and other fats cold). Let your child pick out a fun lunchbox
• Small containers for holding the smaller portions of food required on the medical ketogenic diet
• Bento-style lunch boxes can be fun for kids as well as they have separate compartments for everything
Having a child on the medical ketogenic diet can be a lot of work and preparation, but it is worth the effort. All of you keto parents and caregivers are doing great! I hope these tips will help ease you and your child on the medical ketogenic diet into a safe and happy school year!
-Lindsey
I was paid by Nutricia for my time to write this post, however, my opinions are my own.
Plah-Doh® is owned by Hasbro Inc. and is not affiliated with Nutricia North America.
KetoCal is a trademark of SHS International Ltd.
KetoCal® is a medical food for the dietary management of intractable epilepsy and is intended for use under medical supervision. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether KetoCal® is right for you.

KetoCal® 4:1 LQ Red, White, and Blue-sicle!

By Chef Rachel Finn

Summer wouldn’t be the same without popsicles. Firecracker-type popsicles were my favorite as a kid. Using Powerade® Zero as the base with a little KetoCal® 4:1 LQ makes this high ratio (fat bomb) and approximately 100 calories. For a brighter color, you can use a few drops of blue food coloring.

Ratio: 4.8:1

Full batch (1 serving): Calories: 97; Fat 9.84 g; Protein 1.23 g; net Carbohydrate 0.82 g; Fiber 0.34 g

Ingredients:

60 grams (1/4 cup): Powerade® Zero, Red

30 grams (2 Tablespoons): KetoCal® 4:1 LQ, vanilla or unflavored

15 grams (1 Tablespoon): Powerade® Zero, White  

15 grams (1 Tablespoon): Heavy Whipping Cream

60 grams (1/4 cup): 36% Powerade® Zero, Blue

2-3 drops food coloring, if desired: Blue

Directions:

In either a popsicles mold, a plastic cup, or a popsicle-type zipper bag.

  1. Pour in 60 grams or ¼ cup of Powerade® Zero, Red into cup.
  2. Place either a stick or plastic stir stick in cup and freeze for 30 minutes. (Chef Rachel’s Note:  Use foil over top of cup to keep stick in place while freezing).
  3. In the meantime, mix KetoCal® 4:1 LQ with Powerade® Zero, White and Heavy Whipping Cream.
  4. Remove popsicle from step 1 from freezer. Add KetoCal® mixture from Step 3 and freeze for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from freezer and add 60 grams (¼ cup) of  Powerade®  Zero, Blue.
  6. Freeze for another 30 minutes.
  7. Ensure popsicle is frozen and enjoy your summer treat!

Powerade is a trademark of The Coca-Cola Company Corporation and is not affiliated with Nutricia North America and has not endorsed the proposed use of their products in this recipe.

Specific brand names are referenced to ensure consistent nutritional composition necessary to maintain the medical ketogenic diet.

KetoCal® is a medical food for the dietary management of intractable epilepsy and is intended for use under medical supervision. Talk with your healthcare provider to determine if KetoCal is right for you. Brought to you by Nutricia North America. (2022)

Summer Traveling while on the Medical Ketogenic Diet

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 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 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 helpful to look into both hotels and rental homes in the area. 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 Medical 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, choose 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
I was paid by Nutricia for my time in writing this post, however, my opinions are my own.
KetoCal® is a medical food for the dietary management of intractable epilepsy and is intended for use under medical supervision. Talk with your healthcare provider to determine if KetoCal is right for you.