In today’s guest blog post, ketogenic dietitian and keto ambassador Vanessa Aldaz, MPH, RD, CDE, shares her tips for parents managing Halloween with a child on a medical ketogenic diet. Thanks for these fabulous ideas, Vanessa!
Important: Please note that this post was written prior to COVID-19. Whether you will be celebrating Halloween at home with your family or participating in modified Halloween activities, please be sure to keep current safety recommendations (like social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand washing) in mind. For more information on how to protect your family from COVID-19, read this post.
It’s that time of year again when not only is it getting colder outside, school is on a roll and well, everything is going well. However, you walk into pretty much any store to find decorations colored in black and orange and entire sections of candies and sugar right at the entrance! What is a keto-parent to do? You hear the chatter of children talking about what costume they’ll be dressing up as this year, and then there’s the whirlwind thought of “Can my keto kid go trick or treating? Can we make it through this holiday without a sentimental scratch?” The answer is: yes! Children on the medical ketogenic diet can have just as much fun as any other kid out there celebrating Halloween. There may need to be some rules that other kids may not need to stick to, but the fun won’t be a disappearing act. Here are more than a few ideas to make Halloween on the medical ketogenic diet fun, crafty, ghoulalicious, and sure to set new traditions.
Can my child go trick or treating? Yes, yes, and sure! Let them only collect a bag full of candy and not eat them, but at the end of the night you can have them participate in a few new fun ideas or traditions (read ideas below). The other great thing about this is that they went for a walk and got some exercise. A good rule of thumb is to have them eat dinner or a filling snack BEFORE going trick or treating so they don’t get the munchies once they are out there.
New Fun Ideas & Traditions
- The first one, I truly have to say I stole the idea from one of my patients with diabetes a while back, but come to think about it, it works!! For a keto kid it’s genius! Once your child has come home with a bag full of candy and treats, have them count them with you and put them in a bag for the “Switch Witch” – yes she’s that sweet tooth, sugar eating witch with rotting teeth who’s willing to take your child’s candy and switch them over for a fun toy or surprise that your child will wake up to the next morning! – Tada! You have replaced a treat your child cannot eat with a fun surprise of your choosing that your child is sure to love and not miss that candy. Feel free to come up with your own Halloween “goblin” that will replace candy for a treat.
- If the above doesn’t work for you then have your kids collect the candy and donate the candies to our troops overseas. Many dental offices will collect candies that your little ones collect. Not sure if this includes a discount on your next visit though, hehe.
- You can also try to have close friends and neighbors have a pre-set keto treat bag for your little one when they ring their door bell and say “trick or treat”. A bag full of little non-edible goodies like Halloween stickers, spider rings, bubbles, erasers, pencils, etc. Places like dollar stores or 99 cent sections at other stores are filled with fun little trinkets. These can also be taken to school to hand out to your child’s classmates.
- Focus on costumes, not on the candy! – have a costume contest. Dress up your child in their favorite costume or disguise. Be creative, decorate their stroller or make their wheelchair part of their disguise. Pinterest had some amazing ideas like a brand new toy still in the box, where the box is the stroller and the doll or toy is your child.
- Host a family Halloween party, play games and focus on non-edible treats. You can have them paint mini pumpkins, tossing balls or any other fun game. Focus on the fun decorations! If you do get trick or treaters to your house, instead of having a large bowl of candy that might get into the wrong hands or mouth, try pre-packaging them into sealed “grab bags” for non-keto kids to take home.
- Go on a Halloween-themed adventure! Visit a pumpkin patch, go on a hay ride or if your child is old enough and able, perhaps a not so haunted house might not be a bad idea. Or go to a theme park – Many theme parks will be all decked out all month long or host a series of fun events for the whole family to enjoy. Disney theme parks are amazing that time of year.
- Lastly, if you would like to make some fun Halloween Keto treats, here are some ideas. Just make sure you double check with your keto team and dietitian to ensure it fits your child’s keto diet prescription.
-Keto Chocolates: cocoa butter flavored with stevia flavoring drops, put in fun candy molds and enjoy.
-Sugar free jell-o molds. Try the KetoCal® gelatin recipe and put in fun Halloween molds, yummy!
Happy Halloween and enjoy.
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 to determine if KetoCal is right for you.