Getting ready to start a Ketogenic diet – Helena Champion Paediatric Ketogenic Dietitian

Helena Champion

Ketogenic diet therapy should always be directed and supervised by a State Registered Dietitian. They will prescribe a diet regimen that is nutritional adequate and meets growth requirements. They will provide on-going support to manipulate the diet ensuring appropriate ketosis is developed and maintained.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Getting ready to start a Ketogenic diet

When the decision has been made to start a Ketogenic diet, you can start to prepare you family and child for the change that it on the way. Making some simple changes to food and life style before you actually commit to change will ease you unto your Ketogenic diet when it is time to start.

Start by altering family meals and snacks for everyone. Cut out sugars and carb based  snacks; e.g offer alternatives to  cakes and biscuits as snacks Provide portions of nuts,  chopped cucumber and olives, sugar snap peas and blue berries, or pots of   strawberries, melon  or raspberries.

Cut down on the carbs in a meal and introduce some vegetables which are naturally lower in carbs. Use celeriac in place of some potato, cook with more mushrooms, spring onions and aubergine, offer portions of spinach, green peppers, Curley Kale. Include a green leaf or cucumber salad with an oil based dressing as a small starter.

Stop using meat and fish with batter or bread crumb coatings. Try frying fish pieces tossed in ground almonds. Choose sausages and burgers free from rusk and onions; make your own chicken nuggets or fish cakes.

Cook with extra butter, or oil and choose the full fat varieties not the ‘lite’ ‘healthier ‘alternatives. Add cream into sauces. Serve salads with mayo.
Cow’s milk is high in natural carbohydrates. Introduce some low carb milk alternatives; unsweetened rice or soya milks in cups of tea and coffee. Try unsweetened yoghurts.

Starting Ketogenic diet therapy

Be prepared for keto cooking. Ensure you set enough time aside to cook Ketogenic meals. Right at the beginning you may find it hard to cook your keto meal alongside the main family meal. So why not consider batch cooking in advance. You then not only have the meal prepared and ready to go, but can freeze meals for future use.

Choose your electronic scales wisely. You are going to be using them a lot as you measure out each and every keto ingredient. So invest in a set of scales that will be easy to use. Remember to get a set of spare batteries as well.

Set out some kitchen ground rules. You may find it useful to make a sign ‘No interruptions while I am weighing out ingredients’. It is very frustrating when mistakes are made and you have to throw everything away and start again.

Invest in some good quality containers for storing and freezing meals. Remember to get labels and marker pens so that once frozen you can see exactly what they are. Then you won’t get that surprise when you attempt to serve a keto cauliflower cheese dish, only to discover you have defrosted a keto apple crumble with keto custard.  If you have space in your freezer, put the savoury meal s, desserts and snacks in different draws or baskets.

Keep a good stock of your essential keto cooking ingredients: ground nuts and whole nuts, Keto ‘ flours’ – your Dietitian will advise on which products are suitable for you to use,  carb free  sweeteners and syrups, Psyllium husk and low carb packets of pasta , noodles and rice if you use them . In the fridge, butters and double cream and low carb vegetables; Celeriac, spring onions, courgettes, cucumber and celery. In the freezer, cauliflower rice, finely chopped mushrooms, spinach and low carb berry fruits. Buy the free flowing frozen fruits as they are much easier to use.

Helena Champion
Paediatric Ketogenic Dietitian
Addenbrookes