Top Five Kitchen Essentials for the Ketogenic Diet Chef

When a child goes on the ketogenic diet, his mom and dad become experts of many trades.  After a few months, parents will be math whizzes (measuring food to the tenth of a gram), they’ll learn to spot hidden carbs a mile away, and most impressively, they’ll become absolute magicians in the kitchen. Keto cooks quickly learn that there are some kitchen supplies that you simply can’t live without.

Although we’re not nearly as skilled as some keto parents we know, we do spend quite a bit of time creating and testing new KetoCal recipes, so we’ve come across some tools that we’ve found to be especially helpful. Below is our list of the top 5 kitchen essentials for the ketogenic diet chef.

1. Silicone spatulas:

Silicone spatulas, especially the mini ones, are perhaps our most cherished keto cooking utensils. They work great for getting every last drop out of a dish (which is critical in keto cooking).

2. Parchment paper:

We find that parchment paper is a must for the ketogenic baker. Use it to line baking pans and cookie sheets so that foods don’t stick to the pan. Another perk is that it saves time cleaning up! Note that parchment paper and wax paper are not the same thing- Parchment paper is oven-safe and wax paper is not (Yes, we learned that the hard way!).

3. Silicone bakeware:

Silicone bakeware is awesome for cooking keto recipes because it a) makes it super easy to remove food from the pan, b) keeps food from sticking to the pan and c) keeps all of the oil in the finished product. If you allow the food to cool before removing from the pan, the excess oil will absorb back into the food so you don’t have to worry about losing some of the fat.

4. Mini prep bowls (lots of them):

When preparing keto meals, you need small bowls to weigh each ingredient before combining them. Stocking up on mini prep bowlswill save you time because you won’t have to wash bowls in between weighing multiple ingredients.

5. Mini whisks:

We find these most helpful for recipes involving eggs. Usually the recipe will call for a given amount of eggs, raw, and well-mixed. To prepare this,  you crack an egg into a mini prep bowl (see above), mix it well, then measure the amount that you need for the recipe. The regular size whisk doesn’t fit into the mini bowl and we find that a fork just doesn’t mix quite as evenly. The mini whisk works great for this!

You can usually find these kitchen tools in kitchen supply stores or online department stores.

Keto parent chefs- Which kitchen tools can’t you live without? Please share your top 5 in the comment section below!

Mallory & Ellen

Tube-Feeding and the Ketogenic Diet

feeding_tubes_bannerThe ketogenic diet can be much easier to manage when your child is tube-fed since the diet can be given with a special ketogenic formula. In addition, research suggests that an all-liquid ketogenic diet may even be more effective, perhaps because there is less room for errors with measuring foods[1].

Tube-feeding can be given in a variety of ways. Whether given via a bolus, syringe, or feeding pump, the ketogenic diet can easily be given with a feeding tube. Ideally, the feeding schedule should be similar to the way your child was previously fed, just with the new formula.

As usual, the ketogenic diet will be started in the hospital under close medical supervision. You will work with your doctor and dietitian to determine the appropriate ketogenic diet ratio and amount of formula you should give to your child daily. Oftentimes your child will be gradually transitioned from their previous formula to the new ketogenic formula over a period of a few days. While in the hospital for diet initiation, your ketogenic diet health care team will teach you everything you need to know about preparing, administering, and managing your child’s new ketogenic diet when you go home.

KetoCal is a nutritionally-complete ketogenic formula that can be used to provide the ketogenic diet for tube-fed children. It comes in a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio, and as a ready-to-feed liquid or easy-to-prepare powder. KetoCal is milk-based so it may not be appropriate for children who have milk protein allergies. However, your dietitian can put together a modular ketogenic tube-feed with a variety of ingredients that are safe for your child’s food allergies. The KetoCal 4:1 powder and KetoCal 4:1 LQ are both low in lactose, so they are usually okay for children with lactose intolerance.

Tips for Tube-Feeding KetoCal:

  • KetoCal LQ Unflavored is the ideal formula for tube-fed children because it is ready-to-feed. No need to mix! Just shake and administer the formula! In some cases, your child’s dietitian may recommend adding extra water or other ingredients to the formula, so be sure to follow these instructions carefully.
  • If your child is using the KetoCal powder, be sure to mix your formula per the instructions given by your child’s dietitian. For best results, be sure to mix with the correct temperature of water to allow the formula to dissolve fully. It is recommended to use water between 113-122 °F. For more information and tips on mixing KetoCal powder, check out our KetoCal mixing video on YouTube!
  • Once the powdered formula is mixed, store in a closed container in the refrigerator and use within 24 hours. Discard after 24 hours and mix a new batch. Be sure to mix or agitate the formula just prior to feeding since some settling may occur.
  • Once the KetoCal 4:1 LQ has been opened, it can be stored in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
  • For both the KetoCal Powder and KetoCal LQ, the recommended hang time is 4 hours. The hang time refers to the amount of time the formula can safely remain at room temperature after preparation.
  • Some settling of Ketocal may occur in the feeding bag which is a normal feature of the product. This settling should not block the feeding tube, however, it is recommended that the tube is flushed with water between each feed. It may also help to occasionally agitate the feeding bag.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact your child’s health care team for assistance. For questions about KetoCal, you can also call our Nutrition Services support line at 1-800-365-7354, Option 2.

For assistance with getting insurance reimbursement for KetoCal, contact our Nutricia Product Coverage Navigator program.

Ellen

[1] Kossoff EH, McGrogan JR, Freeman JM. Benefits of an all-liquid ketogenic diet. Epilepsia. 2004 Sep;45(9):1163.

 

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 medical 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 medical 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 medical 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

The medical ketogenic diet should be used under medical supervision. KetoCal is a medical food for the dietary management of intractable epilepsy and is intended for use under medical supervision.