Back to School on the Ketogenic Diet: A Keto Dietitian’s Guide

In today’s guest blog post, ketogenic dietitian and Nutricia Keto Ambassador Vanessa Aldaz, MPH, RD, CDE, shares her tips for parents with a child going back to school on the ketogenic diet. Thanks, Vanessa!

Back to School

Perhaps your child started the ketogenic diet over the summer. School will soon be back in session and managing the diet may now require the assistance of others who will be involved in your child’s care. This can be very anxiety-producing for many parents. If possible, set up a meeting with school officials, your child’s teacher, and the school nurse to explain the ketogenic diet and what will be needed from the school. Educating them on the importance of the ketogenic diet in a positive way can lead to a lot more assistance.

Here are a few tips that may help make this transition easier.

1) Kindly ask your keto team or RD to write you a school letter addressing key points of the ketogenic diet. Include in the letter:

  • Important do’s and don’ts
  • Foods allowed or not allowed
  • A feeding schedule and how meals will be given (orally or tube-fed)
  • Any meds or supplements that may need to be given during school hours
  • A clear indication of whether snacks and or lunch will be provided from home only, or if the school will be expected to prepare any part of a meal
  • If on tube feeds, make sure all is specified including any water flushes, formula name, amount and how feeds will be given.

2) Ask your social worker or keto team to assist with a 504 plan or IEP for support ensuring supervision during meal times and support making sure that no unplanned snacks are given.

3) Look up Nutricia’s “Epilepsy and the School Lunch Program”- a helpful way to ensure your child receives her keto formula at school as part of her school lunch.

4) It is also helpful to provide the school or day care with extra keto formula, along with the most current recipe for your child’s formula preparation in case of an emergency.

5) Consider creating a ketogenic diet emergency kit to keep at school. Include important phone numbers, keto formula (KetoCal®4:1 LQ is ideal as it comes in a drink box and can be used anywhere), bottled water, flash light, an extra scale with batteries, urine ketone testing strips, keto-friendly dried foods such as KetoCal powders, sugar-free jell-O, canned veggies or other low carb foods,and food/formula preparation instructions.

6) Providing “all-in-one meals” versus foods separated in different compartments can ensure that even if your child does not finish his lunch, he will still be eating his few bites in the correct ratio!

7) Have a plan for addressing a food cheat or unplanned extra carb. For example, omitting the carb from the next meal or providing a “fat bomb”.

8) Make lunch fun- don’t forget the cool lunchbox with your child’s favorite cartoon or comic character. When you have time, send sticky notes reminding him of how wonderful he is and how much he is loved! You are also their cheerleaders!

Here are a few ideas for fun keto lunches. Ask your keto RD for more ideas and to make the below ideas work for your child’s ratio and calorie needs.

Pizza: Try KetoCal pizza (3:1,4:1, or MAD recipe), pizza muffins, or pizza rolls made with low carb, high fiber tortillas or an egg base.
Veggie Rolls: On a Nori seaweed sheet add cucumbers, spinach, grated carrots and combine with a keto dip such as avocado and mayo or a cream cheese dip.
Skewers: Make pepperoni and cheese bites on skewers. Other ideas include low-carb fruits, veggies, meats or cheeses.

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I have been paid by Nutricia for my time to write this blog post but my opinions are my own. 


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