Keto-friendly Finger Foods for Kids

It can be challenging to find keto-friendly finger foods for your little one, so in today’s post, we’re sharing some of our favorite bite-sized recipes.

Savory Cheese Crackers (3:1 ratio or MAD)

Almond Coconut Cookies (3:1 ratio or 4:1 ratio)

You can also make many recipes into finger foods by cooking them in bite-sized portions.

For example, you can make Bite-sized Pancakes by preparing our KetoCal Pancake Recipe (3:1 ratio, 4:1 ratio or MAD) as you normally would, but pouring into tiny pancakes when cooking.  You can also find mini pancake makers to make things easier- Here are some options. Serve pancakes alone or with carb-free pancake syrup for dipping!

For a savory snack, you can apply the same concept to make Cheesy Tomato Bites by preparing our KetoCal Cheesy Tomato Wrap Recipe (4:1 ratio, 3:1 ratio, or MAD) as you normally would, but shaping into bite-size circles to cook (you could try the mini pancake maker here too!). Serve alone or with a savory dipping sauce!

What are your child’s favorite finger foods? Have you been able to come up with keto variations for them? If you could find a keto-version of any kid’s food, what would it be? (Maybe our keto chef can help!)

Back to School on the Ketogenic Diet: Blog Roundup

back to school busWe don’t have to tell you that managing your child’s ketogenic diet can be tricky. As the kids head back to school, you may find that it gets a little more complicated. We’ve compiled a list of blog posts to help support you. From tips for informing the school about the diet to ideas for packing a keto-friendly lunchbox, we hope that this blog collection will help make your keto kid’s transition back to school as smooth as possible.

 

 

Fiber and the Ketogenic Diet for Epilepsy

By Ellen Sviland Avery, MS, RD, LD, CNSC

As many of you know, the ketogenic diet is a very high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate diet. Since carbohydrates are limited, this can also limit an important nutrient in the diet: fiber. In today’s KetoConnect post, registered dietitian Ellen Sviland Avery answers your questions about fiber and why it’s important for children on the ketogenic diet for epilepsy.

Why is fiber important?

Fiber is important in a healthy diet to maintain gut health.  It is recommended that children older than 2 years of age consume a minimum amount of dietary fiber equivalent to their age plus 5 grams of fiber per day. For example, a 4-year old child should consume at least 9 g of fiber per day (4+5=9). A safe range of dietary fiber intake for children is suggested to be their age plus between 5-10 grams of fiber per day. 1 Research has also shown that up to 55% of children don’t meet fiber needs with an oral diet. 2,3

How does this affect my child on the ketogenic diet?

As previously stated, fiber may be limited in the ketogenic diet. Fiber is primarily found in fruits, vegetables and grain products. Due to the low carbohydrate intake of the ketogenic diet, these foods are typically consumed in small quantities, limiting the amount of fiber consumed. Because of the lack of fiber and bulk in the diet, constipation is a common side effect. 4,5 Gastrointestinal symptoms, especially constipation, are seen in ¾ of all ketogenic diet patients.6

So how do I improve these side effects?

To help prevent or alleviate constipation with the ketogenic diet, talk to your child’s doctor or dietitian to ensure your child is receiving adequate fiber and fluid. Speak with the dietitian about foods that may be higher in fiber that will fit in your child’s ketogenic ratio. Sometimes just increasing the amount of fiber consumed by small amounts will help with constipation. If needed, the doctor or dietitian may also prescribe a fiber supplement or even a carbohydrate-free laxative. Do not give your child any laxative without first consulting with the medical team.

How can KetoCal help with fiber needs?

KetoCal 4:1 contains fiber to help meet your child’s fiber needs while on the ketogenic diet. One drink box of KetoCal 4:1 LQ contains 2.6 g fiber. The great thing about the fiber found in KetoCal is that it comes from a patented blend of six different types of fibers, rather than just one type. This helps to better resemble the blend of fiber one would get from eating a healthy diet. Talk to your dietitian to see how KetoCal fits into your child’s meal plan!

-Ellen

  1. Williams CL, Bollella M, Wynder EL. A new recommendation for dietary fiber in childhood. Pediatrics. 1995;96(5 Pt 2):985-8.
  2. Butte NF, Fox MK, Briefel RR, et al. Nutrient Intakes of US Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers Meet or Exceed Dietary Reference Intakes. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2012;110(12):S27-s37.
  3. Hampl JS, Betts NM, Benes BA. The ‘age+5’ rule: comparisons of dietary fiber intake among 4- to 10-year-old children. J Am Diet Assoc. 1998;98(12):1418-23.
  4. Dahl WJ, Niebergall EJ, Owen RJ. Implications of fiber inadequacy in the ketogenic diet: a case study. ICAN: Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition. 2011;3(5):3.
  5. Kossoff EH, Zupec-Kania BA, Amark PE, et al. Optimal clinical management of children receiving the ketogenic diet: recommendations of the International Ketogenic Diet Study Group. Epilepsia. 2009;50(2):304-17.
  6. Bergqvist AG. Long-term monitoring of the ketogenic diet: Do’s and Don’ts. Epilepsy Res. 2012;100(3):261-6.

Tips and Recipes for Making Valentine’s Day Fun for Your Keto Kid

valentinesdayLike most holidays and special occasions, Valentine’s Day can be tricky when you have a child on the ketogenic diet for epilepsy. Most valentine celebrations involve candy and other sweets not allowed on the ketogenic diet, which can make it stressful for parents trying to ensure that their child does not consume any non-allowed foods.  Parents may also find it challenging to make the day fun despite the dietary restrictions. Fortunately, little things go a long way when it comes to making special occasions fun for kids. For today’s KetoConnect Blog Post, we have some tips and ideas for small ways to make Valentine’s Day fun and special for your keto kid.

Add a Festive Touch!

You can make any meal more festive with a cute Valentine’s Day-themed straw, cup, plate, etc.

Decorate Your KetoCal!

Replace your child’s regular KetoCal with pink, strawberry-flavored KetoCal. Simply add a sugar-free, carb-free strawberry flavoring, such as DaVinci Gourmet’s strawberry syrup, to the KetoCal LQ Vanilla. Add your festive straw and voila!–You have a Valentine’s treat!

Another idea is to actually decorate the KetoCal LQ drink box. We found some cute ideas on Pinterest, such as these. You can find more ideas on our “Valentine’s Day on the Ketogenic Diet board on Pinterest! (Please note- these ideas use juice boxes, so you would just use your KetoCal LQ boxes instead).

Make Everything Heart-Shaped!

Another easy way to make Valentine’s Day special is to make your child’s favorite foods in the shape of a heart. Below are a few ideas:

  • Make your KetoCal pancakes into hearts by pouring the batter into a cookie cutter on the pan.
  • Make a heart-shaped KetoCal pizza by spreading the pizza dough into the shape of a heart before topping and cooking (you could do this by hand or using a larger-sized cookie cutter–just place the cookie cutter on the parchment paper and spread the dough inside of it to shape the pizza).
  • Make heart-shaped muffins or cupcakes using heart-shaped silicone baking cups, such as these.

Embrace Pink!

Celebrate Valentine’s Day by making recipes that are naturally festive by color! Here are some recipe ideas that are pink and perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Rasstrawberry_smoothiepberry or Strawberry Smoothie:

Our KetoCal Raspberry or Strawberry Smoothie recipes are naturally pink in color and perfect for Valentine’s Day. Optional–Top with whipped heavy cream sweetened with carb-free sweetener and serve with a festive straw!

KetoCal Cherry Float:

Add scoops of KetoCal Vanilla Ice Cream to any sugar-free, carb-free cherry-flavored soda, such as Zevia® Black Cherry or Professor Fizz (please note, these sodas are not carb-free but the carb comes from erythritol, which some dietitians do not count towards total carbohydrate– check with your dietitian first). Usually, the carb-free cherry soda is red in color but if the brand you use is not, you could add a small amount of red food coloring. Optional- top with whipped heavy cream sweetened with carb-free sweetener and serve with a festive straw!

Strawberry Panna Cotta:panna-cotta

Panna Cotta is a creamy Italian dessert. Our KetoCal Strawberry Panna Cotta recipe is tasty and perfectly-colored for a Valentine’s Day treat!

Make Awesome Non-Food Valentines!

Many valentines involve candy, but there are many other options for non-food valentine treats which are just as much fun for kids. We found some awesome ideas for non-candy valentines on Pinterest. You can check them out on our “Valentine’s Day on the Ketogenic Diet” Pinterest board. If your child’s school is having a Valentine’s Day celebration, send along some non-food valentine treats for your child and the rest of the children to enjoy. If you are friends with other parents of children in the class, you could share some non-food Valentine ideas with them as well. There are likely other children in the class with food restrictions, such as those with food allergies, and many parents try to minimize their children’s sugar intake, so you might find that other parents embrace the awesome non-food valentine idea too!

-Mallory

2015 Epilepsy and Ketogenic Diet-Related Event Calendar

2015 CalendarFor today’s blog post, we created a calendar of epilepsy and ketogenic diet-related events taking place throughout 2015. This includes various conferences, fundraisers and patient group awareness days. These are only the events that we are aware of, so we hope that you can help us add on to this calendar. If we are missing your group’s event, please let us know so that we can include it. Please add a comment below this post or send us an email at myketocal@nutricia.com.

January

February

March

April

  • Keto University (for dietitians)
    April 27th– 29th
    San Diego, CA

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Top Five Books for Parents Learning About the Ketogenic Diet for Epilepsy

If you are considering the ketogenic diet for your child, or perhaps your child is already scheduled to begin the ketogenic diet, you are likely seeking all the information that you can find to educate and prepare yourself. Even after your child starts the ketogenic diet, you will likely continue searching for information and resources to support you in managing your child’s diet. Many parents find books to be helpful, so for today’s KetoConnect blog post, we rounded up a list of five of our favorite books for parents learning about the ketogenic diet for epilepsy.

For more resources for parents learning about the ketogenic diet for epilepsy, check out our list of helpful YouTube videos and infographics.

ketodietsbookKetogenic Diets

This book, by the ketogenic diet team at Johns Hopkins Hospital, is a must-have for both parents and health care professionals.

The Keto Cookbookketocookbook

This ketogenic diet cookbook is co-authored by a mother of a child on the ketogenic diet and a ketogenic  dietitian. It provides a variety of tasty ketogenic recipe ideas.

Keto Kid: Helping Your Child Succeed on the Ketogenic Dietketokid

This book is written by a physician who is also the mother of a child on the ketogenic diet. It provides helpful tips for everyday management of the diet.

Fighting Back with Fatfightingback

This book is written by two mothers of children on the ketogenic diet for seizures. It provides practical tips for parents managing the Classical Ketogenic Diet or the Modified Atkins Diet.

Diet for Seizures: One Child’s Journeydietforseizures

In this book, a father tells about his daughter’s experience with the Modified Atkins Diet for epilepsy. This is a great read for parents, especially those interested in the Modified Atkins Diet.

Do you have feedback about these books or know of another useful book to add to this list? Please share in the comment section below!

Ketogenic Diet Myths and Misconceptions Series: Heart Disease

myths2

One of the most common misconceptions about the ketogenic diet for epilepsy is that it will lead to heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease. It is true that consuming high amounts of certain types of fats (including cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fats) can lead to high levels of lipids in the blood, which may increase an individual’s risk for developing heart disease. It is also true that high lipid levels are a common side effect of the ketogenic diet. However, when the ketogenic diet is used under proper medical and nutritional supervision, lipid levels can typically be controlled.

When an individual is on a ketogenic diet for epilepsy, their health care team will regularly monitor their blood lipid levels. If high lipid levels are found, adjustments can be made to the diet in order to bring the levels down to a safe level. This is just one of the many reasons why it is so important to only do the ketogenic diet under close medical and nutritional supervision.

A 2008 study from Johns Hopkins Hospital found that about a third of children developed high lipid levels after starting the ketogenic diet[1]. Interestingly, the researchers noted that in many cases, the high lipid levels were only temporary. As the children’s bodies adjusted to the high fat diet, their blood lipid levels often normalized and returned to near pre-diet levels within 6-12 months[2].

As mentioned above, the ketogenic health care team can make certain adjustments to the diet in order to help prevent or manage high lipid levels. For one, the ketogenic dietitian can help caregivers to incorporate more healthy fats into the diet and reduce the intake of unhealthy fats. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) published a report in 2009 about six children who developed high lipid levels on the ketogenic diet[3]. The children’s caregivers were encouraged to reduce foods with high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol (such as heavy cream, butter, egg yolks, etc.) and to incorporate more healthy fats into the diet (such as vegetable oils, nuts, etc.). These simple diet adjustments led to improved lipid levels for all six of the children observed.

It’s important to note that high lipid levels may be less of a concern for children on the ketogenic diet who are tube-fed or who otherwise consume a formula-only ketogenic diet. The previously mentioned 2008 Johns Hopkins study found that children on formula-only ketogenic diet were much less likely to develop high lipid levels in comparison to children who consumed a solid food ketogenic diet. This may be because ketogenic diet formulas have relatively low levels of saturated fat (20%) in comparison to the amount of saturated fat in a typical solid-food ketogenic diet (60%).

In summary, the belief that a ketogenic diet for epilepsy will lead to heart disease is a common misconception. Although high lipid levels can increase an individual’s risk for developing heart disease, lipid levels can usually be managed with close monitoring and guidance from the ketogenic diet health care team. As always, be sure to discuss any questions or concerns with your health care provider.

 

  1. Nizamuddin, J., et al., Management and risk factors for dyslipidemia with the ketogenic diet. J Child Neurol, 2008. 23(7): p. 758-61.
  2. Kossoff, E.H., et al., Ketogenic Diets: Treatments for Epilepsies and Other Disorders. Fifth ed. 2011, New York, NY: Demos Medical Publishing.
  3. Fenton, C., C.M. Chee, and A.G.C. Bergqvist, Manipulation of Types of Fats and Cholesterol Intake Can Successfully Improve the Lipid Profile While Maintaining the Efficacy of the Ketogenic Diet. ICAN: Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition, 2009. 1(6): p. 338-341.