We often get asked questions about keto for kids – is it safe, what should they eat? Our lovely friend Kirsty from Meraki Mother, who is a busy mum of three, has been successfully following a keto diet with her family and offered to provide some practical tips and advice around keto for kids.
Keto for Kids
We have all heard of the wonders of the popular Keto diet and how amazing it is for both weight-loss and health.
What about if you are a busy Mum though? Trying to get everyone fed in the family can sometimes be a big enough challenge, without having to cook different meals. What are keto kid-friendly meals? And is the keto diet safe for children?
As busy mums ourselves we thought we would answer some of these keto with kids questions for you.
Is the Ketogentic Diet Safe For Children?
Did you know that the ketogenic diet was actually designed for children and is still used today as an alternative therapy for epilepsy? The keto diet used to treat epilepsy however is much stricter and more controlled than the keto diet you will use at home.
So yes, the ketogentic diet is safe for children. We think the key to kids on keto is balance. Remember this is a LOW carb diet…not a NO carb diet and it is important to be a little more relaxed with children and not restrictive. Your child developing a poor relationship with food is not what you want to achieve.
It is vital for any child that they receive the nutrients and vitamins they need to grow strong and healthy.
What Benefits Will Children Get From a Keto Diet?
Teaching your children to make healthy food choices from a young age is a huge benefit for them that will last their lifetime. Obesity and insulin resistance is a growing problem in most countries and it is important that our children grow up knowing what foods and lifestyle will keep them healthy.
Nutrition wise, your child will be getting plenty of good fats and iron in their diet. Both of which are important for growing bodies and developing brains. Good fats have essential fatty acids as well as fat soluble vitamins such as K,E,D and A.
You are also reducing sugar and wheat intake. This can improve behaviour and concentration as well as improve gut health and over all wellbeing.
Getting the Kids onboard with a Keto Diet
We suggest slowly swapping certain foods and meals with keto alternatives. Chances are when you swap things like main meals for keto diet food, they may not even notice. And giving your child some of the amazing kid-friendly keto snacks available, they will forget all about the unhealthy alternatives.
We found the easiest way to introduce the keto diet was to swap dinner for a keto-friendly option first. We also found pretty quickly that the kids were more than happy to try the keto snacks we made and were always asking to try our keto breakfast recipes too.
When our children go to a birthday party or a friends house we don’r restrict their eating. You will usually find that after being on a keto diet for a while they will find too much sugar and junk food overbearing anyway.
Remember to make it fun! Get them to help you make keto cookies or prepare a delicious family dinner.
What Should Children Eat on A Keto Diet?
The best way to introduce children to a keto diet is by providing them with whole foods. Think good quality protein, lots of good fats and carb sources that are nutrient-dense.
Some keto choices that kids will love are:
- Boiled eggs
- Low carb veggies
- Good sources of protein like chicken, bacon and sausages ( be sure to check all labels for any hidden sugars and nasties).
A great way to make sure kids are eating enough good fats is making fat bombs like these Keto Chocolate Fat Bombs. Kids will love them and they make a fantastic on the go keto snack.
Are There Any Risks to Kids on the Keto Diet
One of the biggest risks for children on the keto diet is constipation and dehydration. Both of which can be combated by making sure your child drinks plenty of water throughout the day. This is an important habit for anyone to get into.
Replace all other fluids with water. Your child does not need fruit juice or soft drink as a daily drink. When you start looking closely at labels you may be shocked at just how much sugar is in these drinks.
Kid-Friendly Keto Meals
The good news is that any meal that was a family favourite is more than likely to have a keto-friendly version. Kids love Pizza? Have Butter Will Travel have an amazing Pizza Base recipe, or if pasta is a favourite there are these delicious Zucchini Noodles.
Again, instead of taking away ingredients and meals…swap! Don’t stop eating the Tuna Mornay the kids adore. Instead try a Keto Tuna casserole.
We also suggest you plan ahead ( and make ahead ) as much as possible. As a busy mum it can be easy to give in to temptation and grab a carb loaded takeaway or quick pasta meal after a hectic day working, running around after sporting activities and making sure the house doesn’t look like a bomb hit it. Having a healthy keto meal in the freezer or simmering away in the slow cooker can be a saviour.
Who are Meraki Mother?
Meraki means to put the essence of yourself into something you do, that little bit of creativity, love and soul we add to what we love. We think that pretty much sums up motherhood.
Meraki Mother is a place where we are inspired and empowered, as women and as mothers. A place to share content that informs, educates and enhances Meraki Mothers lives in a real and authentic way.
We are three mums who have 8 children between us. Kirsty has changed her lifestyle and followed the Keto diet for the last few months with her family. Kirsty and her husband have lost over 23kg together by following a LCHF diet. They are not at their goal weight yet but know they will get there soon and are enjoying their increased feeling of health and well being.
We would love to hear how you have incorporated keto into your kids lives. Let us know in the comments what strategies you used and what your kids love to eat on keto.
Check out some other great keto articles.