I get this question a lot.
Once someone sees how effective the ketogenic diet is, they want to know if it’s safe for their kids.
As responsible parents, they have questions:
- Is it okay for kids to restrict carbs?
- Can they fast?
- Is all that fat good for them?
Here are my top 3 recommendations for applying the ketogenic diet with kids:
1. Tell Them Why
I’ve always believed that my job as a parent is to teach my kids why it’s important to make your health a priority.
If you look at the wave of different diet crazes that have been popular in the past few decades (Paleo, Atkins, Whole30,) they all have one thing in common: they’re all low carb.
There’s a reason for that. When you lower your carbohydrates, you:
- lower inflammation
- lower blood sugar
- increase ketones
Bottom line: the ketogenic diet is a HEALING diet.
Explain to them that their brains will love all the good fat they are eating. I teach my kids that if they have a big test coming up, they should increase their avocado and egg consumption (two of their favorite foods). If they have an important sporting event, I remind them that sugar can make them more prone to injury.
It’s that simple.
2. Lower Carb, Higher Fat
I highly recommend you don’t start counting carbs with your kids. But what I do recommend is that you teach them that there are good carbs and bad carbs. It’s as simple as saying this:
Good carbs come from nature, like an apple.
Bad carbs have sugar, like a piece of cake.
Good carbs energize you.
Bad carbs make you sleepy.
Good carbs fill you up faster.
Bad carbs leave you hungry a few hours later.
When it comes to fat, simply remind them to eat some fat with every meal.
My son is a carb lover. He often reaches for a carb-filled treat first. After years of struggling to get him to stop eating so many carbs, I switched the conversation to adding more fat. I discovered that he liked avocados. Now, with almost every meal, I slice open an avocado and make sure he has some on his plate. He also loves smoothies, so I pour Brain Octane in his smoothie and he doesn’t even know it.
The minute I took my focus off his carb load and put it on increasing his consumption of good fat, his carb cravings improved.
Butter, eggs, avocados, raw whole milk, raw nuts… these are staples in our household.
3. Skip Breakfast
What? Tell your kids to skip breakfast? Isn’t it the most important meal of the day?
Well, actually, it’s not.
When I am coaching a patient back to health, one of the first concepts I teach them is to skip breakfast. The most common response I get when I tell them this is, “Great! I hate eating in the morning anyway.” People are often relieved.
I know that many of you are thinking, “If my kid doesn’t eat breakfast, he/she will have a meltdown.”
Kids have meltdowns because they are eating a high carb diet, especially high carb dinners. Once you switch them to lower carb/higher fat you will notice that they can go longer periods without food and be just fine.
My son hates breakfast so I don’t push it. But you better believe that he gets a high fat dinner so he can handle the morning at school in a fasted state.
Remember that our bodies are chemistry. You can really manipulate your mental clarity, energy, and metabolism by working with the QUALITY of the food that is going into your body.
Teach that concept to your kids and you will find that they become healthy adults.
I know this a controversial subject but I am here to help simplify it for you. Reach out if you have any questions!