Tips for Managing Your Child’s Ketogenic Diet Over the Holidays

The holiday season is officially upon us! This time of year tends to be very food-focused, which can make it challenging for parents of children on restrictive diets. Robyn Blackford, a ketogenic dietitian from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, helped us to come up with some tips for managing the holidays with a child on the ketogenic diet.

Plan Ahead for Meals & Treats

  • Talk to your child’s dietitian for any recipes that you may need well before the time you need them.
  • Make the recipes in advance to ensure that they taste good and travel well.
  • For holiday meals, if possible, find out what will be served ahead of time so that you can find keto-variations to match what everyone else will be eating.
  • Make a few batches of keto treats to have handy over the holidays so that you can provide them for your child at school parties, family get-togethers, etc. when other kids are enjoying treats.

Prepare for Holiday Meals & Get-Togethers

Preparing your child:

  • It’s important to prepare your child for holiday meals, get-togethers, and parties. Talk to your child ahead of time about what to expect and practice saying “No, thank you” if offered any foods other than the foods that you bring.
  • For holiday meals, some kids may enjoy a smaller, kid-friendly, holiday-themed dinner plate. Smaller, sectioned plates can be helpful for making keto meals more appealing to children and also make it less obvious that their meal is smaller in size than a typical meal. On the other hand, some kids may prefer to have the same dinner plate as everyone else so that they don’t feel different. Talk with your child ahead of time to find out which option he or she prefers. If you go with the small, child-friendly plate, you might also bring some for all of the children attending to enjoy!

Preparing friends & family:

  • Let family members and friends know ahead of time about your child’s special diet so that they know not to offer foods other than the food that you bring for your child. By letting everyone know ahead of time, you can avoid having the conversation in front of your child, which might make your child feel self-conscious.

Preparing your child’s school:

  • If there will be a holiday party at your child’s school and food will be provided, remind your child’s teacher(s) that your child cannot have any food except for the food that you send. If there will be treats provided, send a special keto treat for your child so that he or she doesn’t feel left out. You might also send along non-food, holiday-themed treats like stickers, pencils, etc. for all of the children to enjoy.

Embrace Non-food Variations of Favorite Holiday Traditions

A lot of holiday traditions involve foods that are not allowed on the ketogenic diet, but you can still enjoy them by taking a new, non-food spin on favorite traditions.gingerbread house

  • If your family enjoys making gingerbread houses, you can make a non-food gingerbread house this year using a cardboard box, paper, cotton balls, jewels, glitter, puff balls, stickers, etc. Here’s one that we made as an example. They are just as much fun to make and they last longer!
  • Rather than filling your child’s Christmas stocking with candy, fill it with non-food treats like small toys, stickers, markers, fun socks, etc.

We hope that you find these tips helpful for managing your child’s ketogenic diet over the holidays.  With a little creativity, improvising and planning ahead, you can make your child’s holiday as normal as possible. Try to remember that although food seems like such an important part of holiday celebrations, most of our best childhood memories of the holidays have nothing to do with the food.

Happy holidays, everyone!

-Robyn

 

I was paid by Nutricia for my time to write this post, however, my opinions are my own.

KetoCal is a trademark of SHS International LTD.

KetoCal is a medical food for use under medical supervision.

The ketogenic diet for epilepsy should be used under medical supervision. 

Celebrating Chanukah on the Ketogenic Diet

zahavaChanukah begins a week from today and we are excited to welcome a guest blogger for today’s post on celebrating Chanukah while on the ketogenic diet for epilepsy. Zahava Turner, RD CSP LDN, is a ketogenic dietitian at the Johns Hopkins Ketogenic Diet Clinic in Baltimore, MD. Zahava looks forward to celebrating Chanukah with her family each year so she is happy to share some tips for families celebrating Chanukah with a child on the ketogenic diet so that they can have an enjoyable holiday too.


hanukkahChanukah and the Ketogenic Diet

The holiday season is fast approaching! Chanukah or Hannukah is a Jewish holiday that begins on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev. Chanukah is observed by lighting the Menorah every night for eight days in honor of the single vial of olive oil that was found in the rubble that lasted for eight days.

As with most holidays, there are special foods that are eaten during Chanukah. Popular Chanukah foods include latkes, which are potato pancakes, and sufganiot, which are doughnuts. These foods are traditionally cooked in oil to commemorate the miracle of the olive oil that lasted for eight days. The heavy use of oil during Chanukah makes it the perfect holiday for children following a ketogenic diet for epilepsy!

As a ketogenic dietitian, I know how important it is to parents for their child’s life to be as normal as possible while on the ketogenic diet. Parents may be concerned that their child will have to miss out on favorite Chanukah foods but with some creativity and help from your dietitian, you can create ketogenic versions of almost any dish. Below are some ideas for making ketogenic latkes and sufganiot for your child to enjoy during Chanukah.

Latkes:

Although potatoes are traditionally used for latkes – any shredded vegetable like zucchini, beets, kale, or spinach can be mixed with egg to bind it together and then fried in oil.

Sufganiot:

One of the families that I work with came up with this recipe for a ketogenic donut! These keto donuts make a great substitute for sufganiot during Chanukah.

Keto-donut Recipe – Created by the Lynch family

Work with your dietitian to adjust the amounts of each ingredient to meet your child’s ketogenic ratio and calorie needs.

Ingredients:

  • Egg whites
  • Cream (whipped)
  • Macadamia nuts (finely chopped)
  • Butter and
  • Peanut butter

Directions:

Spray mini bunt pan well with nonstick cooking spray.  Mix egg whites, whipped cream and nuts together – set aside.  Melt butter and peanut butter together – mix well and pour into egg mixture.  Mix together and pour into bunt pan.  Bake in the oven at 350°Fon the lowest rack until golden brown (about 35 min. for a 300 kcal meal).  Cover with aluminum foil the last 10 minutes or so of baking to prevent top from burning before completely cooked through.

Happy Chanukah everyone!

-Zahava

 Find more recipe ideas for keto Chanukah foods here.

I was paid by Nutricia for my time to write this post, however, my opinions are my own. 

The ketogenic diet for epilepsy should be used under medical supervision. 

KetoCal Hanukkah Recipes

Being on the medical ketogenic diet for the management of epilepsydoesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy traditional Hannukah foods! Check out these recipes for keto-friendly latkes and sufganiyot!

KetoCal Latkes with Sour Cream Topping (4:1 ratio)

Latkes are potato pancakes often enjoyed during Hanukkah. These delicious keto latkes are made with low-carb vegetables (zucchini and cauliflower) instead of potatoes.

KetoCal Sufganiyot (4:1 ratio)

Sufganiyot are jelly-filled doughnuts often enjoyed during Hanukkah.

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 about whether KetoCal is right for you. 

The medical ketogenic diet for epilepsy should be used under medical supervision.