Keto for Kids: Is It Safe and How to Start

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What do you think about keto for kids? Good idea or no? I’m on the keto diet and have found a host of benefits from being on this diet. Let me share with you how I approach feeding my family while I’m following the ketogenic way of eating.

The ketogenic diet is surrounded by controversy right now as we unlearn all that we grew up on when it comes to our diets and eating healthy. Now that we’re eating more fat than ever and realizing that we’ve been blaming butter for what the bread did, more questions are being raised.

Questions like, is this way of eating safe for the long term and is it safe for kids? This article will look at ket for kids discussing the pros and cons of starting your children on a low carb diet and how to transition them to this lifestyle if you choose to.

New to the keto diet? Start here! This will help you to figure out how to stick to this diet and make it a lifestyle for you

It’s a good time here to bring up the fact that the keto diet was actually developed for children who suffered from epilepsy.

It was discovered that the brain thrived on using fat as a source of fuel and so it is children that first benefited from this diet. In fact, children start out being in ketosis if they are breast fed.

Think about it, your breast milk is made up of fat mostly, and babies use this fat to grow and develop. It is us that introduce them to carbs and sugar and change their way of eating from what they’re used to.

Related: How to Get into Ketosis in 24 Hours

The Case Against Keto for Kids

The arguments against the keto diet are usually along the lines of the high fat and meat content of the diet. We’ve been conditioned to believe that fat is bad and plant-based is better.

I won’t personally get into the argument of meat consumption and leave that up to individual choices, I just wanted to point out that there are clean and humane choices for meat consumption. Eating meat and vegetables is what our ancestors did for ages until convenience foods were manufactured and introduced to our bodies.

Generally, people argue that the keto diet is restrictive and doesn’t allow a kid to be a kid. They argue that kids should be allowed to eat a balanced diet to get nutrients from as many sources as possible.

The Case for the Ketogenic Diet for Kids

Those that believe that children would be perfectly OK on a low carb diet cite the fact that the keto diet done properly is a mix of protein, healthy fats and vegetables.

These are all foods found in nature and introduces a healthy diet to our children, steering them away from foods that are processed and packaged.

It cannot be denied that our children are addicted to sugar from an early age and facing an epidemic of becoming more and more obese from earlier and earlier ages.

While yes, I don’t think children should be restricted on any sort of diet, I also believe that low carb living is sustainable on some level for life and so is not a diet but a way of eating. This is similar to those who are vegan or dairy-free, they eat that way long term and so do us low carbers.

How I Approach Keto with My Kid

I am currently on a strict keto regimen for weight loss. My kid is not overweight and so she doesn’t need to lose weight, what I want her to be is healthy. I want her to know and love healthy foods and be able to make good choices for herself as she grows.

She was 8 years old when I discovered the keto diet. At the time, she was on the standard diet of juice boxes, cereals, bread and lots of sugar. She wasn’t overweight as I was always trying to be somewhat healthy and because of my own personal struggles with weight, I was committed to her not getting fat. She was carrying around a layer of chub that I always thought would thin out as she grew and so I don’t worry about that too much.

Ever since she was a baby, I rotated lots of different vegetables in our diet and by now had learned what vegetables she liked and which ones weren’t a hit. I’d even gotten her liking green juices as long as it had bananas in there to sweeten the taste. Then I discovered the keto diet and took this up one notch further.

Related: Avoid these Keto Mistakes that Can Stall Your Weight Loss

How to Transition Your Child to a Keto Kid Lifestyle

The first thing I did was to eliminate juice boxes, cereal, snacks that come in a bag (anything sweet or cheesy),yogurt with fruit or any additional flavourings and bread. She still eats plain yogurt, we just add our own fruit and honey to it now instead of buying pre-sweetened stuff.

I still give her oatmeal for breakfast most mornings and allow her to purchase lunch at school which isn’t usually the most healthy thing (think chicken and fries or a beef patty).

When she gets home from school in the afternoons, the keto diet kicks in.

She eats a snack which I’ve prepared and then my low carb dinner.

Her after-school snacks which used to be a cheese or PBJ sandwich, fruit-flavoured yogurt, cereal or milk and cookies has been transformed into egg cups, keto pizza, a cheese bun sandwich or some of my salad if I’m having one.

Just this one change of eliminating her snacks and juices and introducing healthier meals for half of the day has really seen her slim down from some chunkiness she was carrying around and her energy and focus has benefitted too!

Her teachers have commented on her change in body makeup and in general attitude and I know this is all because of eliminating some of the processed foods and carbs in her diet.

This is great news to me because it means when I have finally hit my goal weight and I’m in maintenance, I can increase my carbs somewhat to include other healthy foods like fruit and oatmeal on occasion and still remain at a healthy weight.

Related: How to Drink Alcohol When on the Keto Diet

Is it Safe for Children to be Low Carb?

So the question here is, is it safe to eliminate carbs from the diet of children. To that, I would say it’s perfectly fine for them to be low carb and have indulgences maybe more often than one who is trying to lose weight.

I have not deprived my munchkin of any healthy foods. What I have done is to eliminate all the processed and sugary convenience crap that always filled our cupboards. I seriously have so much more storage space in my kitchen since I started the keto diet.

Now, junk food is a very rare occurrence for us on a whole. I cook a lot more but I try to meal prep when I can so that I always have healthy food on hand. It’s been a fun adventure learning all about a healthier way to fuel our bodies and to see munchkin learn how to make her own snacks like egg cups and keto pizza.

People get the wrong idea about the keto diet. It can seem unhealthy that a diet allows you to consume bacon cheeseburgers without the bun and is truly safe.

However, what the keto diet is at heart is a healthy relationship with vegetables once more. I have learnt to make a variety of vegetables taste amazing enough that even an 8 year old loves to eat them. Fat is the vehicle of flavour and this diet allows it in abundance. When green beans used to be flavourless when steamed, now I can saute them in bacon grease and top them with cheese and have them as a side instead of potatoes or pasta.

Anything can be made greater with bacon and cheese.

Here are my tips for getting your kid started on a low carb life.

Tips for Getting Kids to Eat Low Carb Food

  1. , eStart by eliminating snacks and sugary drinks.
  2. Add one new veggie to their diet each week. Load it up with healthy and flavourful fats to get them to be more appetizing.
  3. Meal prep each week so that you’re not overwhelmed and reaching for unhealthy food when in a pinch.
  4. Allow your kids to help in prep. Kids love to eat foods they’ve helped to prepare.
  5. Explain to them along the way why this way of eating is so important. Understanding health from early on helps to set life-long habits.
  6. Introduce fat bombs to kids who are not overweight and need the extra fat for fuel. These will also help to lessen sugar cravings.
  7. Allow them to still have healthy carbs in small amounts. Things like oatmeal and sweet potatoes should not harm your kid when eaten occasionally. You can lessen this over time as they transition to a full ketogenic diet with you.
  8. Stress less. It’s fine if you grab takeout occasionally. It won’t be the end of the world. They’re growing kids and will bounce back faster than you and I. What’s important is helping them to understand why fast food is not a healthy, every day option.

Overall, kids need more nutrients than adults as they grow and develop. For me, what’s more important in my child’s diet is less packaged, processed convenience food and more real food.

I need her everyday diet to be as natural as possible. I need for her to love a variety of veggies, healthy proteins and good fats. Setting this foundation now and ensuring she knows how to make her own meals means a healthy relationship with food throughout her life.

Typical Diet of a Keto Kid

Here’s what my kid’s diet consists of most weeks. This may help you to see what she eats as an 8 year old on a daily basis so that you can start to transitions your entire family to the keto diet.

Breakfasts: Egg omelet, oatmeal with blueberries, banana porridge, keto pancakes, egg cups with keto bread.

Lunch options: She typically buys school lunch but on the weekends we have egg cups with keto bread, cheese buns with deli meat and tomatoes, keto pizza which is so delicious, one of her fave keto recipes, fat head dough wrapped hot dogs (made from all meat, no fillers) or a salad.

Snacks: Plain yogurt with fruit and honey, egg bakes, cloud bread with peanut butter or cheese, cheese buns, boiled eggs, fruits, cheese crisps (made from baked cheese).

Dinner: Bunless burgers, chicken breast (only because I prefer this part of the chicken but thighs are great on the keto diet too) or pork chops or beef with a veggie side, homemade alfredo or meat sauce over spiralized zucchini, tacos in a cheese shell, canned meat with sauteed frozen veggies.

Every now and then I will open up a keto cookbook and try something new. Good ones make it into rotation but for the most part, I try to keep it simple. This helps me to stay on the diet and not reach for old habits.

On and Off Keto | + posts

Iva discovered the keto diet back in 2020 and has experimented with it, off and on. She recently took over this site and shares experiences, her knowledge and some yummy recipes. She also runs a women only website Women Blazing Trails.

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