Halloween on the Ketogenic Diet

Today’s Guest Blog post is by Lindsey Thompson, MS, RD, CSP, LD, ketogenic dietitian and Nutricia Keto Ambassador.


 

Food is the focus of many holidays, and Halloween is no exception. For kids on the ketogenic diet, there are many ways to include them in your family traditions for Halloween. For this blog, I reviewed some tips for trick-or-treating with your child as well as how to navigate school or other Halloween parties.

Trick-or-Treating Tips

If your family trick-or-treats, here are some tips for including your keto kid:

-Provide non-food items or keto-friendly treats to neighbors beforehand for your child to pick up when she or he trick-or-treats. Some examples include:

  • Halloween themed toys or stickers
  • Tickets or tokens your child can collect from house-to-house and redeem for a larger non-food prize at the end
  • Keto-friendly treats, such as the following:
  • Chocolate Almond Bark:3:1 recipe
  • Almond Coconut Cookies:4:1 recipe and 3:1 recipe
  • No-Bake Fudge:4:1 recipe and 3:1 recipe
  • Sugar-free gelatin cups (Choose Halloween colors and/or decorate cups with Halloween stickers)
  • Other keto-friendly food ideas from the recipes included below

-Donate candy to a local charity or group after trick-or-treating. There are many groups that will collect extra Halloween candy for a good cause. If you plan to donate candy, make sure to talk to your children beforehand to explain your plan so they understand. You can also have the children turn in their candy to you for a larger toy, prize or allowance.

-Plan another activity in place of trick-or-treating that would not include candy or other treats your child could not consume. Some examples include a hayride, corn maze, pumpkin patch or decorating pumpkins as a family.

School Parties or other Halloween Parties

Make sure to plan ahead for school or other parties around the Halloween holiday. Let teachers or other caregivers know about your child’s food restrictions and plan to bring keto-friendly foods that your child can consume with her friends.

Here are a few recipes for keto treats that your child can take to the party:

  • KetoCal® Creamy Gelatin Snack: 4:1 recipe (can use green or orange gelatin powder and Halloween themed molds to make the treats festive)
  • KetoCal Pumpkin Spice Shake: 4:1 and 3:1 recipe
  • KetoCal Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Cream Frosting: 3:1 recipe (cook in Halloween themed muffin wrappers or add Halloween cupcake toppers)
  • Matthew’s Friend’s Chocolate Muffins: 4:1 recipe
  • Crustless Pumpkin Pie: 3:1 recipe

Always be sure to check the recipes with your ketogenic dietitian.

I hope these tips help make for a safe, happy and keto-friendly Halloween!

-Lindsey

 

 

Celebrating Birthdays on the Ketogenic Diet

staceyIn today’s guest blog post, ketogenic dietitian Stacey Bessone provides some tips for celebrating birthdays while on the ketogenic diet. Stacey is a ketogenic dietitian, RDN, LDN, based in St. Petersburg, Florida and a Nutricia Keto Ambassador.

 


 

A birthday party can be a little tricky for someone trying to stay on their ketogenic diet.  With a party comes the expectations of cake and ice cream, not bacon and heavy cream.  Luckily, there are more resources for low-carb and keto friendly treats so thoughts of birthday treats are possible.  Here are some suggestions.

  1. If you are planning the party, concentrate on the activity or theme of the party and make the treats secondary. For example, you could have a jump house with games, go to the movies, have an arts and crafts project, or have live entertainment such as a magician. Having the focus on fun will divert from the expectations of cake.
  2. Have a birthday cake made of flowers or a craft paper cake.
  3. Cupcakes or cake pops are very popular at birthday parties. These are great options because they are single serving and you can provide regular cupcakes or cake pops for the party guests and keto-friendly cupcakes or cake pops for your child. Try these recipes for KetoCal® chocolate cupcakes or KetoCal® vanilla cake pops.
  4. Doughnuts and doughnut holes can be made with keto-friendly ingredients. Try these recipes for KetoCal glazed or chocolate doughnuts.
  5. Sometimes having a trip or a special outing can replace a party. Depending on the time of year and where you live, your child may want to go to a theme park or go boating!
  6. If the party is during summer months, consider a Popsicle party. Popsicles are easily made keto-friendly and kids enjoy them.
  7. Another great dessert is sugar-free gelatin. You can use blue gelatin to make a beach themed dessert. Here is an example that you can make keto-friendly by using sugar-free blue gelatin, almond flour for sand, and adding a tiny drink umbrella.
  8. For your child’s birthday celebration at school, opt for non-food items to celebrate. You could send non-food party favors for all of the children to enjoy, such as stickers, pencils, etc. Doing a craft or playing a game could also be a good substitute.
  9. For other children’s birthday parties, including school parties- have your child come prepared. Send along keto- friendly snacks and/or fat bombs so that they may have a sweet treat too.

-Stacey

A Parent’s Ketogenic Diet Journey & Creation of the Keto Hope Foundation

We are pleased to share today’s special guest blog post by Jessica Lee, a keto mom and co-founder of the Keto Hope Foundation. Jessica provides a parent’s perspective of the ketogenic diet journey and what led her, along with her husband and their daughter’s dietitian, to create the Keto Hope Foundation! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Jessica!


 

The Lee Family

The Lee Family

The Unimaginable

“There are moments that the words don’t reach

There is suffering too terrible to name

You hold your child as tight as you can

And push away the unimaginable”

-Hamilton (2015)

There are moments in our lives that we will vividly remember, crystal clear, no matter our age at the time or the time elapsed since. For some of us it is a social event like a wedding, world events such as 9/11, or personal achievements such as hiking Mt Kilimanjaro.   For me one of those moments is the day I knew my daughter had infantile spasms*.  To his credit, my husband made the diagnosis from YouTube videos the day before we saw the neurologist.  We lay in bed that night, knowing, holding each other.  It was quiet but tears flowed slow and steady.  If you google “infantile spasms” the most often cited piece of medical literature is a study with depressing statistics that would make anyone feel hopeless. The possibilities or lack of possibilities swirled, clouding my mind until I couldn’t even imagine the future. Would she ever smile, laugh, say “ma-ma”, walk, dance…?   What I was imagining had been unimaginable 24 hours earlier.

We were quickly admitted to the hospital the next day and an overnight EEG confirmed what we already knew.  At that time at our institution, ACTH was the first line medication and we were trained to perform the injections and discharged home. They initially worked.  And then they didn’t.  We tried another round but again the spasms returned. Antiepileptic drugs were started but seemed to make the spasms worse.  Unimaginable. These medications were not controlling her spasms. As a physician myself I have been taught to believe in evidence based medicine but the best evidence was not applying itself to my daughter’s situation.  Quoting statistics takes on an entirely new meaning when you are the exception, the “1” in the ratio.

KetoCal 1st Birthday Cake

KetoCal 1st Birthday Cake

After consulting our medical team, the next decision was to start the ketogenic diet during a hospital admission.  I cut the “footies” out of her pajamas so she wouldn’t have to be undressed and awakened for glucose heel sticks at night.  I questioned the dietitian about food options for a now eight month old and voiced my concern over artificial sweeteners.  By this time, I had read many scholarly articles but couldn’t find an exact mechanism of action for the reason this diet was supposed to work, so I have to admit, I was skeptical.  BUT…within days we saw a significant decrease in the number of spasms and about a month later she had her last spasm. Her LAST ONE. Unimaginable. Feeding her a (strict) high fat diet had done what medications failed to do.   Was that even possible?

We kicked into gear. We learned how the calculations for meals worked and starting planning our own meals (with approval from our dietitian).  I took some time off after I graduated residency and spent hours each week prepping meals by steaming vegetables, blending them into purees and freezing them in small portion sizes. Her first birthday cake was a mini two tier chocolate cake made with KetoCal and cocoa powder. All the while her spasms stayed away.  More importantly, she was smiling, then laughing, then saying “ma-ma” …  All of the things I had been scared to imagine were becoming a reality.

The ketogenic diet gave us hope.  A chance to imagine things that we couldn’t before. My husband began imagining a way to make the diet a little easier on families.   I began imagining a network of parents who could make someone feel a little less isolated. Our ketogenic dietitian Laura Dority began imagining processes to increase efficiency and adherence to the diet. We began imagining the Keto Hope Foundation in those first months of treatment. It took us a couple of years of planning but in 2016 what we imagined became a reality.

keto hopeKeto Hope Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to helping families on the ketogenic diet for epilepsy.  While other well established foundations have done an excellent job for awareness, research funding, and general resources, we wanted to address some areas on a more personal level.

  • After experiencing the significant time required for planning and preparation of meals on a daily basis, the idea of having a pre-made meal option available seemed an obvious focus. We spent countless weekends in the kitchen with Laura modifying recipes and taste testing, and ultimately decided to launch the Keto Bakery with a cheddar cracker and a bread mix (currently available for order online).  We shipped out our first orders just three months ago and the feedback so far has been very positive!  We are looking forward to launching more products in the future.
  • Our Keto Friends network aims to match families based on diagnoses or age of child and provide them with a personal connection to trade recipes, ideas, or just lend an understanding ear. This is something I would have loved as a new mom navigating the ketogenic and epilepsy worlds.  Unfortunately, even a few short years ago the ketogenic diet Facebook groups didn’t exist as they do now, and to be honest, I tend to be a private person so posting my questions, fears, or even triumphs to a group of 1000 strangers was not appealing initially. I think it takes some people time to open up so having a one-to-one confidant can be very helpful especially in the early stages.
  • Educational opportunities for ketogenic dietitians and pediatric neurologists are essential to furthering our understanding of the diet and its applications. We hosted our first webinar in May of this year and have another planned for this fall. Future goals of our Keto RD initiative include standardizing an accreditation for ketogenic dietitians, building a consensus for therapeutic protocols to initiate and maintain the diet, and developing a mentoring program for new ketogenic dietitians.

    Jessica's daughter today

    Jessica’s daughter today

Today, our daughter is back on a traditional Western diet but I will never forget the months of measuring to the 0.1 gram or traveling with our scale and a jar of coconut oil in the diaper bag. Although we don’t fully understand how this diet changes the brain’s metabolism in such a miraculous way, it is no longer unimaginable. Imagine instead the possibilities.  Join us on this journey at www.ketohope.org.

-Jessica

 

*KetoCal is not indicated for infant use.