Back to School on the Ketogenic Diet: Part 2

Continuing with our “Back to School on the Ketogenic Diet” blog series (see Part 1), today we’ll provide some tips and meal ideas to help you pack a school lunch that your keto kid will love.

Packing the Ketogenic Lunchbox

Many parents face a daily challenge when it comes to packing their child’s lunch box. It can be difficult to come up with lunch ideas that are transportable, nutritious, and that your child will actually eat. When your child is on a ketogenic diet for epilepsy, this task is even more daunting. Not only does the meal need to be carefully weighed and prepared, but oftentimes your child must eat the entire meal to maintain the ketogenic ratio. This is challenging enough at home but it can be even more difficult in the school cafeteria when you aren’t there to supervise. We’ve put together some tips and ideas to help you come up with keto-friendly school lunches that your child will enjoy.

Before school starts, ask your child’s dietitian to help you come up with some transportable meals that can be sent along to school. Find out from the school whether there is access to a refrigerator or a microwave since this will determine the types of meals that will work.

Presentation is Key

Because the ketogenic diet is high in fat and fat is denser in calories than carbohydrates and protein, ketogenic diet meals appear smaller than regular meals even though they provide the same amount of calories. Many parents find that small, fun food containers help to make ketogenic meals look more appealing and kid-friendly. Bento-style lunch boxes are very popular right now and are perfect for packing keto school lunches. If you’re not familiar with them, bento-style food boxes have multiple compartments to hold small amounts of different foods that can be packaged in clever, kid-friendly ways. You can find bento-style and other kid-friendly food containers at major department stores, kitchen goods stores, or online*.

  • Meal Inspirations:

If you are looking for some lunchbox inspiration, check out these creative bento school lunch ideas on Pinterest. Once you get some ideas, you can work with your child’s dietitian to make keto-friendly versions of Bento meals by substituting the ingredients in the compartments with low-carb, high fat foods like olives, pepperoni, or macadamia nuts.

  • Accessories

If the Bento-style boxes weren’t cute enough, there are additional accessories to make meals even more kid-friendly. For example, there are bento food picks* to hold foods together and bento forks* to send in place of utensils (keep in mind these could be a choking hazard for very young children). Then there is my personal favorite accessory, the bento vegetable cutter*. You can use these to cut low-carb vegetables (such as cucumbers or zucchini) into fun shapes that can be eaten with mayonnaise or other high-fat keto dips.

Mind the Ratio

For younger kids, it may be a good idea to send meals that have a consistent ratio regardless of how much is eaten since you can’t be there to ensure your little one eats the entire meal. For example, tuna salad that has all ingredients combined vs. a hot dog with a side of mayonnaise that must be eaten in entirety. With combined meals, you don’t have to worry that the ketogenic ratio will be off if your child doesn’t finish it all.

KetoCal®LQ can be very handy for school lunches since it is ready-to-drink, nutritionally complete, and has a 4:1 ratio regardless of whether your little one takes a sip or drinks the whole box. Plus, if your child gets distracted by all the commotion in the school cafeteria, it may actually be easier for him or her to drink a meal at lunchtime. Kids love the KetoCal LQ drink boxes since they look like the juice or milk boxes all the other kids are drinking. Consider keeping a few boxes of KetoCal LQ at school as a back-up lunch in case the one you pack is left on the school bus or accidentally spilled on the cafeteria floor.

 

As always, be sure to consult with your child’s health care provider about all meal ideas to ensure that they work for your child’s specific ketogenic ratio and calorie requirements.

For those of you who have already mastered the art of packing your child’s ketogenic diet lunchbox, which meals are your child’s favorites? What tips would you offer other parents who are new to this?

Mallory

For more information on this topic, read Part 1 and Part 3 of the Back to School on the Ketogenic Diet series.

 

*Nutricia North America is not affiliated with Amazon.com nor the bento-style products included in these links. These links are shared for example purposes only.

Photo: Flickr

Back to School on the Ketogenic Diet: Part 1

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over. If your child started the ketogenic diet over the summer, you might be anxious about the thought of sending your little one back to school. Today’s post, “Informing the School About Your Child’s Ketogenic Diet” is Part 1 of the “Back to School on the Ketogenic Diet” blog series. This series will provide tips and resources to help make the transition back to school go smoothly.

Informiback to school busng the School About Your Child’s Ketogenic Diet

First, be sure to let the school know about your child’s ketogenic diet before school starts. If possible, arrange a meeting with your child’s teacher and everyone else that may care for him or her to educate them about the diet and how to manage it at school.

If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), request an IEP review meeting so that accommodations associated with the diet can be added. Prior to the meeting, have your child’s physician provide a letter explaining the ketogenic diet and the requirements during school hours.

If there have been any changes to your child’s epilepsy medications, be sure to notify the school about these as well. Consider providing an updated Seizure Action Plan to reflect these changes.

Lastly, there are many celebrations at school that involve food so make sure that your child’s teachers and aides understand that your child cannot have the same treats that the other children get.  Ask them to let you know when celebrations are planned so that you can send a ketogenic diet treat for your child to enjoy. You might consider leaving a shelf-stable keto snack, such as a box of KetoCal®LQ, at school just in case of an unexpected celebration.

Stay tuned for next week’s post where we’ll continue the “Back to School on the Ketogenic Diet” series with some tips on packing the ketogenic diet lunchbox!

If you have already mastered sending your little one to school on the ketogenic diet, what advice would you offer other parents?

Mallory

For more tips & resources on this topic, read Part 2 and Part 3 of the Back to School on the Ketogenic Diet Series.

Photo: Flickr

Big News: We Have a Blog!

BlogWe are so excited to announce our blog, KetoConnect, an online resource for parents of children on the ketogenic diet for epilepsy. The purpose of KetoConnect is to keep keto moms and dads informed of the latest news and events, while sharing useful tips, recipe ideas and resources to support you in managing your child’s ketogenic diet. We hope KetoConnect will provide support for parents at various stages of their child’s ketogenic diet journey, from the time they start considering  and researching it, to the time their child is weaned off of the diet.

KetoConnect is written by a team from Nutricia North America, the makers of KetoCal®, so we will provide parents with useful information, tips and recipe ideas related to KetoCal. However, the goal of the blog is to provide support for the ketogenic diet in general so our posts will cover a broad range of topics. We’ll even have parents and health care providers as guest bloggers to provide a variety of perspectives. Please let us know if you are interested in contributing!

Starting next Tuesday, look out for our weekly blog posts. We hope you’ll join the conversation and welcome your questions, comments, topic suggestions, and feedback!

-The KetoConnect Team

Photo: Flickr user xioubin low