Celebrating Halloween on the Ketogenic Diet

Children in halloween costumesHolidays and special occasions often include food and treats. When on a ketogenic diet, it can be tricky to participate in the celebration since foods are limited. For today’s blog post, I compiled some tips and recipe ideas to help you to ensure that your little one has a happy and keto-friendly Halloween.

School Parties:

If your child’s school is celebrating Halloween, be sure to remind your child’s teacher(s) of food restrictions. If there is a class party and candy will be involved, you may want to send some keto-friendly treats (see recipes below) or non-food treats (like Halloween-themed stickers, pencils, temporary tattoos, etc.) for your child to enjoy.

Trick-or-Treating:

As you might expect, commercial candy is off limits for children on the ketogenic diet. Even low sugar or sugar-free candies will contain far too many carbohydrates. However, there is more to trick-or-treating than the candy, so many families allow their child to trick-or-treat without actually eating the candy that they collect. The Epilepsy Foundation recently posted an article about celebrating Halloween on the ketogenic diet and interviewed two keto moms about how they manage. One mom said that her son enjoyed trick-or-treating, then giving away the candy he collected to other trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood. Another mom said that her son likes to bring home the candy he collects to his sister or take it to school to share with his classmates. Another idea is to let your child trade the candy he or she collects for special keto treats, non-food Halloween treats, coins, or even a small toy.

Recipe Ideas for Keto Halloween Treats:

As always, consult with your child’s health care professional to ensure that these recipe ideas are appropriate for your child’s ketogenic ratio and calorie requirements. If needed, your dietitian may be able to help you modify these recipes to reach a different ketogenic ratio.

You can prepare these treats ahead of time, then store them in little Halloween-themed treat bags (for example, these that I found at my local party store) that you can send to school or put in their trick-or-treating bag.

The following recipes are less transportable, but might be a tasty treat to enjoy at home on Halloween.

Read more tips for celebrating Halloween on the ketogenic diet from the Epilepsy Foundation.

How does your family celebrate Halloween on the ketogenic diet? Please share your experiences and tips for other families in the comment section below.

Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone!

-Mallory

Recipe: KetoCal Pumpkin Spice Shake

yogurt with spiced pumpkin puree

In case there was any doubt, the surplus of pumpkin-flavored foods confirms that it is officially fall. Like many, I look forward to pumpkin lattes, pumpkin cheesecakes, and anything else pumpkin all year long. I decided that we needed to come up with a pumpkin KetoCal recipe, so I set out to create one. I must say that this delicious KetoCal Pumpkin Spice Shake exceeded my expectations. I hope that your keto kids enjoy it as much as I did!

-Mallory

As always, consult with your health care provider to ensure that this recipe idea is appropriate for your child’s diet and calorie requirements. The instructions for preparing this recipe at a 4:1 and 3:1 ketogenic ratio are provided, along with the instructions for preparing this recipe for the Modified Atkins Diet. Be sure to use the appropriate version for your child. If your child is on a different ratio, your dietitian may be able to help you adjust it by changing the amount of oil used. Note that the nutrition values were calculated using KetoCalculator, so if you are in another country or using a different system, the recipe may need to be adjusted.

Ingredients:

4:1 Version:

  • 120 g Vanilla KetoCal 4:1 LQ (you could also use Unflavored KetoCal LQ but you may want to add a carbohydrate-free sweetener if you do)
  • 15 g pumpkin, canned, unsweetened
  • 1 g ground cinnamon or unsweetened pumpkin pie spice
  • 5 g canola oil

3:1 Version:

  • 120 g Vanilla KetoCal 4:1 LQ (you could also use Unflavored KetoCal LQ but you may want to add a carbohydrate-free sweetener if you do)
  • 15 g pumpkin, canned, unsweetened
  • 1 g ground cinnamon or unsweetened pumpkin pie spice

MAD Version:

  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) Vanilla KetoCal 4:1 LQ (you could also use Unflavored KetoCal LQ but you may want to add a carbohydrate-free sweetener if you do)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin, canned, unsweetened
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or unsweetened pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  • Add ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Once prepared, serve immediately or store in a refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Serving ideas:

  • Blend with ice for a cold treat!
  • Serve warm for a comforting treat on a cold day!
  • Freeze into pumpkin spice popsicles or ice cream!

Nutrition Information:

4:1 Version:

Ratio: 4:1
Calories: 228
Fat: 22.8 g
Protein: 3.9 g
Carbohydrate: 1.8 g

3:1 and MAD Versions:

Ratio: 3.1:1
Calories: 183
Fat: 17.8 g
Protein: 3.9 g
Carbohydrate: 1.8 g

Gallery

Summary of the 2014 Global Symposium for Ketogenic Dietary Therapies

We’ve just returned from Liverpool, England where we attended the 4th Global Symposium for Ketogenic Dietary Therapies for Epilepsy and Other Neurological Disorders, hosted by Matthew’s Friends. Our brains are full of new and exciting information, so for this week’s blog post, I thought I’d share an overview of the conference with you.

As mentioned, this year’s Global Symposium was held in Liverpool, UK and hosted by Matthew’s Friends. For those of you not familiar with Matthew’s Friends, it is a charity based in England dedicated to spreading awareness and providing access to the ketogenic diet. It was started by Emma Williams, mom to Matthew, whose seizures and quality of life improved on the ketogenic diet. The mission of Matthew’s Friends is very similar to that of the Charlie Foundation here in the US, and the two groups often work together (The Charlie Foundation hosted the last Global Symposium, held in Chicago in 2012).

The Global Symposium consisted of 4 days of presentations for health care professionals, followed by a family day for families of children on the ketogenic diet, some adult patients on the ketogenic diet, and some individuals who are just interested in learning more about it. There were 5 of us from the US KetoCal team who attended the symposium, in addition to our KetoCal colleagues from the UK, Germany, Netherlands, and Spain. KetoCal had a booth in the exhibitor’s hall and as always, Chef Neil wowed visitors with his KetoCal recipe creations. We were excited to see our fellow US buddies from the Glut-1 Deficiency Foundation in the booth right across from us!

Day 1:

The conference kicked off on Tuesday with a dietitian’s meeting in the morning, followed by the opening sessions for the professional program in the afternoon. After the close of the sessions, Matthew’s Friends hosted a Welcome Reception where everyone could catch up with old friends and meet new members of the global keto family.

Matthew’s Friends created awesome video overviews of each day of the conference. Here is the video of Day 1.

Day 2:

Wednesday morning covered utilization of the ketogenic diet for specific epilepsy syndromes, including Dravet Syndrome, Doose Syndrome, Infantile Spasms, Status Epilepticus, FIRES, Angelman Syndrome, and Tuberous Sclerosis. In the afternoon, we heard presentations about the possible “mechanisms of action” of the ketogenic diet (or for those of us who are not doctors, we learned a little about how and why the diet is thought to work). That evening, we got to visit the Museum of Liverpool for the poster session. This was one of my favorite parts of the conference- Researchers from all over the world displayed posters presenting their brand new research on the ketogenic diet.

Watch the Matthew’s Friends’ video summary of Day 2 here.

Day 3:

On Day 3, researchers discussed secondary effects of the ketogenic diet, such as the diet’s effects on cognition, learning, behaviors, and bone health. Dr. Kossoff, who some of you may know from the Ketogenic Diet Center at Johns Hopkins University, talked about the long term use of the ketogenic diet. Next, a group of ketogenic dietitians talked about the clinical implementation of the ketogenic diet. The afternoon sessions focused on “optimizing utilization” of the diet. The presenters talked about utilizing the diet in specific age groups, including infants and adults, and in specific situations, such as for patients in status epilepticus. Emma Williams presented on ways to better support families and prepare them for managing their child’s ketogenic diet. That night, we had the privilege of attending the Matthew’s Friends Charity 10th Anniversary Gala Dinner. We enjoyed some great food and an awesome Beatle’s cover band (when in Liverpool!).

View the video summary of Day 3 here.

Day 4:

We started Day 4 of the professional conference with presentations on using the ketogenic diet across different cultures and settings. Next, we learned about the ketogenic diet for patients with mitochondrial disease and specific metabolic conditions, including pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency and Glut-1 Deficiency. In the afternoon sessions, we learned about research being done on the ketogenic diet for cancer, a new and exciting topic for the ketogenic diet community. We ended the day with discussions about the future of the ketogenic diet and the announcement of the 2016 Global Symposium, which will be held in Banff, Canada!

Watch the Day 4 video summary here.

Family Day:

Family Day is always my favorite part of the Global Symposium. It’s exciting to meet families and learn about their ketogenic diet stories. In the morning, presenters gave families an overview of the presentations from the professional sessions. In the afternoon, we broke up into workshops for specific areas of interest. Between sessions, Chef Neil made some amazing KetoCal recipe creations for families to try, including some popular British foods, Scotch Eggs and Yorkshire Pudding! The UK KetoCal team launched some new KetoCal recipe books. There’s one for a 4:1 ratio, 3:1 ratio, Modified Atkins Diet, and MCT Ketogenic Diet.  Families got to take one home and they were a huge hit. We are in the process of putting some US versions of the recipe books together so keep an eye out for them in the next few months!

See the video summary of Family Day here.

Well done, Matthew’s Friends, on a very successful, informative, and fun Global Symposium. We are already looking forward to seeing everyone in Banff in 2016!

-Mallory

Below are some photos from the week.