Taylor Arnold, PhD, RD

Pediatric Dietitian, Barrow at Phoenix Children's

Celebrating the Holidays the Ketogenic Diet Way

We all know that the holiday season is full of sweets, but for children following the ketogenic diet, it can be disappointing to sit out the sugar rush. 

For those who aren't familiar with the diet, here's a little background: The ketogenic diet is a precisely-calculated diet that is used as a treatment for children with epilepsy and other medical conditions. The diet includes foods high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbohydrates. It provides enough calories and other nutrients for the child to grow, and it's designed so the body uses fat for energy instead of sugar. And while it's time-tested and safe, it is such a precise diet that it must treated like a prescription and be monitored by a medical provider. For more information on our ketogenic diet program, visit the Barrow at Phoenix Children's website

But the holiday season doesn't mean kids on the ketogenic diet have to miss out on all the fun! We've collected some great holiday recipes from our friends at the Charlie Foundation, an organization all about the keto diet. Remember, all of these keto-friendly recipes are in gram units, so don't forget your food scale! And if you're a medical provider, don't forget to check out our Spring Summit on Ketogenic Diet Therapies for Neurologic Disorders, a medical education conference we're hosting March 11-12, 2017!

Gingerbread House

For a twist on this classic holiday tradition, keto-friendly gingerbread (2:1) is made using almond and coconut flour as a base with cinnamon, ground cloves and ground ginger to spice things up. Add some faux snow in the form of whipped cream or shaved, chilled coconut oil to increase the ratio. Decorate your mini gingerbread house with some keto-friendly buttercream frosting (2:1, 3:1, 4:1, recipes in link) for a fun and kid-friendly holiday activity! 

Get the recipe here! And don't forget the frosting!

Sugar Cookies

Making cookies for Santa? These keto-friendly sugar cookies (2.6:1) are a great option if your keto kiddo wants a taste and wants to stay on the nice list! With a base of coconut flour, almond flour and butter, these cookies can be made extra festive with some holiday cookie cutters. Dunk them in a glass of heavy cream, or decorate with whipped cream frosting for some added fun (and fat). The whipped cream frosting needs to stay cool, so make sure Santa knows his cookies will be in the fridge!

Make the cookies, and the whipped cream frosting!

Hot Chocolate

Whether you're seeing some snowy weather, or you're an Arizona native who breaks out the gloves and scarf at the first sign of 60-degree weather, a warm glass of holiday cheer may be just what you need! This hot chocolate (2.5:1) is made with cacao powder (which is different from cocoa powder) and heavy cream and is a ketogenic diet staple. To increase the ratio, adjust the recipe by adding more heavy cream or less water. Don't forget the blanket and cozy fire!

Find the recipe here!

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