A Keto Dietitian’s Tips for Families Celebrating the Winter Holidays, Keto-Style!

Thanksgiving is a week from today and the rest of winter holidays are right around the corner! In today’s guest blog post, ketogenic dietitian and Nutricia Keto Ambassador Robyn Blackford, RDN, LDN, provides her tips for families celebrating the holidays while on the ketogenic diet. Thanks for these awesome tips, Robyn!


For people following a ketogenic diet during the holidays, it doesn’t have to be a season of additional stressors. Parents of children who follow a special medical diet, including the ketogenic diet, may even find the upcoming holidays easier to survive than they first thought.

I often hear that extended family members are very supportive of their child’s special diet. Educating others on the diet will open your family up to a potentially strong support system. Most people like to hear about the nuances of the special diet and learn how they, too, can help. Talking about the diet and getting that ‘pat on the back’ can give you just enough motivation and energy to make the next special meal. Siblings may ask if they, too, can have the yummy, magical keto food that you are preparing. What a nice, fun, supportive time that this can be for your whole family!

Whether you are hosting holidays at your house or joining others elsewhere, you are sure to be successful to sticking to your ketogenic diet during these festive days if you practice these tips.

Holidays at your house:

* Consider serving a low-carb dish on your menu. There are many low-carb recipes readily available, such as a cauliflower mash in place of mashed potatoes. This may be helpful for others to understand some of the details and enjoy the foods that are part of the special diet

* Using festive holiday plates, bowls, and napkins to distract from ordinary or special diet food is a welcome change for people of any age! Try using cookie cutters to make foods more appealing and brightly colored toothpicks to add fun to your holiday meal.

* Keep food out of reach for tiny guests that are on a special diet. This way they cannot snatch foods quicker than you can say no or be able to take it away from them. They can be faster than you anticipate!

Holidays as a guest:

* Consider eating or serving your keto meal before leaving the house. This way you do not have to worry about finding foods you can eat later when you or your child is hungry. Talking to the holiday host can help you be successful if you plan on eating a little something at the get-together.

* Plan to serve and eat your favorite keto foods while away from home in easy-to-warm-up containers. It can be quite a treat if you haven’t had that favorite food in a while.

* For smaller children, be sure to pack a bag full of toys and fun things to help distract them from focusing on food. Do not underestimate the power of non-food rewards during playtime!

 

In any case, make sure that you plan ahead. Mentally prepare your child to resist food that is not part of their special diet and prepare yourself to teach others about the positive impact the diet has had on your lives.

Helping people follow their ketogenic diet can be one of the best gifts you can give them during the holiday season!

-Robyn

A Keto Mom’s Tips for Managing the Holidays on the Ketogenic Diet

Our favorite keto-mom blogger, Dana Haddox-Wright, is back for another guest blog post! In today’s post, Dana shares her tips and recipe ideas for managing the holidays with a child on the ketogenic diet. Thanks for sharing with us, Dana.

Happy Holidays, everyone!


Happy Holidays

The holiday season is approaching quickly and for most families, this means taking in all of the feasts and treats that come with the territory. Food tends to be a focal point of the festivities as families get together to share in traditions either set by the family or by their religious affiliations.

Having a child on the ketogenic diet can be a challenge during the holidays. It is important to include them in our traditions as much as possible, even if their meals are much smaller than everyone else’s. Infusing keto meals with the holiday spirit requires a lot of thought, but it is not impossible. Though I am by no means an expert keto chef, I do have some ideas for making keto-friendly versions of holiday classics. To keep things simple, and I apologize ahead of time for leaving out any other holidays, I will be focusing on Thanksgiving, Chanukah, and Christmas.

THANKSGIVING MEAL:

Cauliflower and turnip make great substitutes for potatoes. Sweet potatoes may be switched to rutabaga. For our daughter, we make three dishes of the traditional Thanksgiving feast: Turkey breast, cauliflower, turnip, or rutabaga mixed with European butter, and a side of 40% cream (put into the keto calculator to fit your child’s caloric count and ratio). These dishes are easy to prepare and the kids will love to “gobble” it up (pun intended).

For more tips and recipes for Thanksgiving, here are some previous KetoConnect posts on the topic:

CHANUKAH FEAST:

I may not be Jewish, but I have wonderful friends who were willing to share some of their Chanukah favorites with me. Sufganiyot are custard or jelly filled doughnuts typically consumed every day of the Chanukah festival. I have created two types of doughnuts, and although they are not filled with anything (but love), they are delicious. One of my recipes uses ground macadamia nuts, egg, canola oil, frozen berries, a touch of vanilla, and liquid stevia to taste. A second is a nut-free recipe. It includes: baking powder, ground cinnamon, Truvia®, vanilla, coconut flour, xantham gum, egg, canola oil, and European butter. Each of the mixtures can be baked in a silicone mold (bundt shaped).

Latkes and brisket are also enjoyed during Chanukah. Though latkes are typically made with potato, one could create a keto-version with shredded or whipped turnip, a dash of onion powder, egg, olive oil with greek yogurt for dipping. In order to make it a full meal (which would make calculating it easier), one might add cooked brisket and a side of cream.

For more ideas, check out some previous Chanukah-related KetoConnect posts:

CHRISTMAS DINNER:

Some families serve turkey, some roast, and others serve ham. In a similar manner to Thanksgiving, consider substitutions. If you serve turkey, create a meal akin to what I suggested above. For roast, you can serve with butter and cooked carrots or rutabaga (with side of cream). You can also make a ham and cauliflower casserole (ham, cooked cauliflower, cheddar cheese, cream, and European style butter cooked in one pan).

For more Christmas recipe ideas, visit:

HOLIDAY SNACKS:

Chanukah gelt is typically a coin-shaped chocolate treat. An easy way to make chocolate is to melt coconut oil with unsweetened baker’s chocolate, add in liquid stevia and little vanilla. For texture, shredded coconut or whole flax seed can be added. You may be able to find coin molds and foil wrappers. The only catch is that the chocolate must be refrigerated until it is to be eaten.

Cookies can be made for any occasion. I like to keep it simple and make keto sugar cookies. Each batch makes 3 small cookies. Simply combine: melted European butter and coconut oil, mixed egg, coconut flour, Truvia®, a dash of vanilla and liquid stevia to taste. You can use different silicone mold shapes and keto-safe food colorings to make them look a little more festive.

I also make a coconut based candy that includes coconut oil, coconut flour, and shredded coconut. Simply melt the coconut oil and mix in other ingredients, then transfer into any mold and leave in refrigerator or freezer until completely set.

Finally, please try to keep your sanity during the holiday season.  Even if your child does not like certain items in the keto-versions of the traditional meals, they will always have their other favorites to fall back on.  If they like sausage, incorporate sausage.  If they like crunchy vegetables, work those in.  Making keto recipes is all about trial and error.  Feel free to test your holiday recipes beforehand, so that you know what needs tweaking.  I always tell people that I feel like a mad scientist in the kitchen, maybe that is because I am actually a little crazy.

In the end, both you and your kids will be happy that no one was left out.

-Dana

For more holiday tips and resources, visit the following KetoConnect articles:


Read more posts from Dana:

 

 

Holiday Tips and Recipes Roundup

Today’s KetoConnect post is a collection of posts from around the web with helpful tips and recipe ideas for celebrating the holidays with a child on the ketogenic diet. Please comment if you know of any other helpful posts that we should add to the list. Best wishes for a happy, healthy, keto-friendly holiday!

Tips for Celebrating Winter Holidays (Epilepsy Foundation)

Christmas:

Tips for Managing Your Child’s Ketogenic Diet over the Holidays (KetoConnect)

Christmas Survival Guide (Matthew’s Friends)

KetoCal Christmas Recipe Ideas (KetoConnect)

Holiday Baking (KetoCook)

Hanukkah:

Celebrating Chanukah on the Ketogenic Diet (KetoConnect guest blog post)

KetoCal Hanukkah Recipe Ideas (KetoConnect)

KetoCal Christmas Recipe Ideas

Earlier this week we posted tips for celebrating the holidays with a child on the ketogenic diet. If you missed it, be sure to check it out! To go along with these tips, today we have some KetoCal recipes for making keto-friendly Christmas treats and Christmas morning breakfast ideas. If your family celebrates Hanukkah, be sure to check out our previous blog posts on celebrating Hanukkah with a child on the ketogenic diet and KetoCal Hanukkah Recipe Ideas.

As always, consult with your child’s health care provider to adjust these recipes to meet your child’s ketogenic ratio and calorie requirements.  The ketogenic diet for epilepsy should only be used under medical supervision.

Making cookies at christmas time

Favorite Christmas Treat Recipe Ideas:

KetoCal Christmas Cookies:

Make Christmas cookies using our KetoCal Almond Coconut Cookie recipe. These are your keto-version of basic “sugar” cookies (sans sugar of course). They are easy to make and a favorite around the office (people often describe them as tasting like shortbread cookies). You can make these cookies festive by adding carb-free food coloring to the batter before cooking. I like to divide the recipe in half and add red carb-free food coloring to one batch and green carb-free food coloring to the other. Another idea is to add red or green “sprinkles” to your cookies by mixing a small amount of carb-free food coloring into the Truvia before adding it on top of the cookies. You could also use small, Christmas-themed cookie cutters to make different shapes.

KetoCal Gingerbread Cookies

KetoCal Hot Chocolate

Our KetoCal Chocolate Smoothie Recipe can be used to make tasty hot chocolate by simply omitting the ice and serving it warm. This easy recipe uses 3 simple ingredients: KetoCal LQ Vanilla, unsweetened cocoa powder, and vegetable oil. Optional carb-free sweetener can be added to taste. We like to use KetoCal LQ Vanilla for this recipe but you could also use KetoCal LQ Unflavored with additional carb-free sweetener.

Other Christmas dessert ideas:

KetoCal Blackberry Crumble

KetoCal Crème Brulee

Christmas morning breakfast ideas:

KetoCal Cinnamon and Blueberry Toast

KetoCal Pancakes

KetoCal Chocolate Muffins

KetoCal Bacon & Cheese Muffins

KetoCal Blueberry Muffins

KetoCal Cheesy Ham Tart

KetoCal Cheesy Tomato Tart

 

Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone!

-Mallory

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

The holiday season is officially upon us! Hanukkah starts today, Christmas is just over a week away, and Kwanzaa starts the following day! This time of year tends to be very food-focused, which can make it challenging for parents of children on restrictive diets. For today’s blog post, 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 Chrismakwanzika everyone!

-Robyn & Mallory

KetoCal Hanukkah Recipes

Earlier this week we posted a guest blog with tips and recipe ideas for celebrating Hanukkah on the Ketogenic Diet. If you missed it, be sure to check it out! To go along with these tips and ideas, we have some KetoCal recipes for popular Hanukkah foods to share today. As always, consult with your child’s health care provider to adjust these recipes to meet your child’s ketogenic ratio and calorie requirements.

KetoCal Latkes with Sour Cream Topping:

latkeLatkes are potato pancakes often enjoyed during Hanukkah. These delicious keto latkes are made with low carb vegetables, zucchini and cauliflower, instead of potatoes.

Recipe makes two medium-sized latkes.

Ingredients:

  • 25 g Cauliflower, raw
  • 65 g Zucchini, with skin – raw
  • 1 g Garlic Paste
  • 16 g Egg (raw, mixed well)
  • 12 g Sour Cream – cultured (not low-fat)
  • 12 g Mayonnaise
  • 16 g Oil, Olive
  • 21 g KetoCal 3:1 Powder

Directions:

  1. Shred raw zucchini (I used a cheese grater), then measure (raw).
  2. Chop cauliflower florets, then measure (raw).
  3. Steam cauliflower a bit to soften, either on the stove or in the microwave. Briefly mash them with a fork or mini spatula.
  4. After measured, place shredded zucchini on a plate and sprinkle a small amount of salt on top. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then blot it with a paper towel (this removes excess water from the zucchini so that the latke batter is not too watery).
  5. Mix vegetables, egg, garlic paste, olive oil and KetoCal 3:1 powder in a bowl.
  6. Heat a pan with olive oil.
  7. Pour latke batter into pan, making two “pancakes”. Cook until brown on edges, then flip and brown on the other side. If some of the latke falls apart at the edges, just use your spatula to reshape it as it cooks.
  8. Remove from heat and place on a plate to cool, Do not place on a paper towel since this will remove some of the fat.
  9. To make the sour cream topping, mix the sour cream and mayonnaise together. Spoon the mixture onto the latkes.

Nutrition Information (for entire recipe; 2 latkes):

Calories: 445
Fat: 44.4 g
Protein: 6.8 g
Carbohydrate: 4.3 g
Ratio: 4:1

KetoCal Sufganiot:

donut1Recipe makes two mini doughnuts.

Sufganiot are jelly-filled doughnuts often enjoyed during Hanukkah. You can make a keto doughnut by preparing the KetoCal Pancake recipe and pouring the batter into a doughnut mold pan (thanks to our past guest blogger, Dana, for sharing her keto doughnut creation with us!).

Ingredients:

  • 26 g KetoCal 4:1 Powder
  • 8 g butter
  • 7 g cream, 40%
  • 4 g olive oil
  • 28 g eggs, raw, mixed well
  • 4 g (mL) water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Melt the butter.
  3. Stir in the egg, cream, oil, and optional carb-free sweetener into the butter and mix well.
  4. Mix the KetoCal 4:1 powder and water, and then add into the mixture.
  5. Spray a mini doughnut mold pan with oil.
  6. Pour batter into doughnut molds (depending on the size of your molds, it should make about 2-3 mini doughnuts)
  7. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Optional: To add a jelly filling to your doughnuts, stir a small amount of prepared sugar-free, carb-free fruit-flavored gelatin to reach a jelly-like consistency, then spoon it into the middle of the doughnut. Note that the doughnut recipe is for a 4:1 ketogenic ratio. Adding carb-free, sugar-free gelatin will affect the ratio slightly, so work with your dietitian to balance the ratio with an additional source of fat if needed.

Nutrition Information (for entire recipe, not including optional “jelly”):

Calories: 341
Fat: 34.0 g
Protein: 7.5 g
Carbohydrate: 1.1 g
Ratio: 4:1

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 celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and spirituality in a materialistic world. The Holy Temple which had been destroyed was rededicated  in Jerusalem. It 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.