The 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 medical ketogenic diet. Thanks for these awesome tips, Robyn!
Important: Please note that this post was written prior to COVID-19. Whether you will be celebrating the holidays at home with your family or participating in modified holiday activities, please be sure to keep current safety recommendations (like social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand washing) in mind. For more information on how to protect your family from COVID-19, read this post.
For people following a medical 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 medical 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 medical ketogenic diet can be one of the best gifts you can give them during the holiday season!
I was paid by Nutricia for my time to write this post, however, my opinions are my own.
The medical ketogenic diet for epilepsy should be used under medical supervision.
KetoCal is a medical food for the management of intractable epilepsy and is intended for use under medical supervision. Talk with your healthcare provider about whether KetoCal is right for you.