Hidden Carbohydrates in Non-Food Products

Toothpaste can be a source of hidden carbs

Toothpaste can be a source of hidden carbs

When your child is on the ketogenic diet, you have to count and limit the carbohydrates (carbs) in everything consumed, not only in foods but also in non-food items. The term “hidden carbs” refers to carbs in products that are easily overlooked because you may not expect these products to contain carbs, or because carbs are listed on the ingredient list in unfamiliar names. Even a small amount of extra carbs can affect the ketogenic ratio, so it’s important to watch out for carbs that may be hiding in unexpected places. In today’s post, we’ll talk about some common non-food items that may be sources of hidden carbs.

Medications

Medications are often made with fillers that may contain carbs. When your child is started on the ketogenic diet, the neurologist and dietitian will assess the carb content in your child’s prescribed medications and switch to carb-free or lower-carb versions if possible. The ketogenic dietitian will account for any carbs coming from medications when calculating your little one’s total daily carb intake.

If your child needs a new medication while on the ketogenic diet (for example an antibiotic for a new ear infection or an antihistamine for seasonal allergies), be sure to contact the neurologist or ketogenic dietitian. If the medication contains carbs, they may be able to recommend a keto-friendly alternative, or if not, adjust the diet to account for the additional carbs coming from the new medication. This applies to situations where you are just switching brands of medications or switching from a brand to generic version and vice versa. Different brands and generic versions can have different ingredients and fillers, so never assume that one version is safe because the other was.

The Charlie Foundation provides a helpful list of Carb-free or Low-Carb products, including common over-the-counter medications, such as:

This list is a great guide for keto-friendly products but as always, consult with your health care team before introducing any new medications.

Personal Care Products:

It’s also important to look out for hidden carbs in personal care products because they may be absorbed through the skin. Be especially careful with dental care products, like toothpaste and mouthwash, as well as skin care products that are applied in large amounts, like sunscreen or body lotion.

Before using personal care products, check the ingredient lists closely to check for hidden carbs and consult with your health care team. Unfortunately, identifying carb sources on the ingredient list can be tricky since they are usually listed in unfamiliar names, like “glycerol” or “propylene glycol”. The Charlie Foundation provides this list of carbohydrate and non-carbohydrate ingredients, which is a great resource because it lists the names of carb sources as they might appear on the ingredient list.

Your health care team may be able to recommend certain brands or varieties of personal care products that are keto-friendly, along with varieties to avoid. The Charlie Foundation’s list of Carb-free or Low-Carb Products includes a broad collection of keto-friendly personal care products, such as:

Remember, if you are ever unsure if a product is keto safe or not, hold off on using it until you check with your health care team.

Keto parents- Have you ever discovered hidden carbs in an unexpected place? Please share your experiences and tips with other parents in the comment section!

Mallory

 

Photo: Flickr

Back to School on the Ketogenic Diet: Part 3

ketoschoollunchFor the final post in our Back to School on the Ketogenic Diet Blog Series, we’ll talk about getting KetoCal® through the National School Lunch Program. We’ll also share some school lunch recipe ideas incorporating KetoCal®LQ. In case you missed them, be sure to read Part 1 on notifying the school about the ketogenic diet and Part 2 on packing the ketogenic diet lunchbox.

KetoCal and the National School Lunch Program

If your child attends a U.S. public school, you may be able to get KetoCal LQ provided by the school for the cost of the standard lunch meal. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as well as the regulations governing the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) stipulate that substitutions to the regular school meal must be made for children who are unable to eat school meals or have special dietary needs due to a qualified disability, such as epilepsy, when that need is certified by a licensed physician. Best of all, our Nutricia Product Coverage Navigator can guide you through the steps to request KetoCal from the school. For more information, visit our Epilepsy and the School Lunch Program webpage.

Quick & Easy KetoCal School Lunch Recipe Ideas

Speaking of KetoCal and school, we are excited to share some ketogenic school lunch recipe ideas that incorporate KetoCal LQ. If your child gets KetoCal LQ provided by the school, you can just send the additional ingredients to go along with it. We hope that your keto kids love the recipes and we hope they save you precious time in the morning!

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.

Thanks for reading our Back to School on the Ketogenic Diet Blog Series. We hope everyone has a happy and healthy school year. We’d love to see photos of your little ones and their keto lunches on the first day back, so please share on our Facebook page!

-Mallory

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