I don’t normally mix my Keto and my blogging, as most diet enthusiasts (paleo, keto, vegan, vegetarian, whole30, etc.) seem to be fanatical Internet bullies and usually intimidate me back into the corner of my parenting blog. I don’t much care for how other people eat (do what works for you), so I typically do my best to avoid such conversations. However, after sharing my secrets for why my two year old guzzles vegetables here, I have been asked about how my own personal diet works alongside hers. As the title of the article indicates, I do adhere to a ketogenic lifestyle and have been mostly ketotic for roughly 21 months in the last 2 years. No, my daughter does not eat keto, and if she did, I’m sure the hate mail would come fast and furious.
Keto, for those uninitiated to the latest diet craze, utilizes carbohydrate suppression to induce one’s body into a state of ketosis. In terms a 5 year old would understand (that’s how I had to learn about it), keto basically turns the body into a fat burning entity instead of a sugar burner. At a drastically reduced carbohydrate intake, the body produces and burns ketones as a fuel source, rather than the typical glucose. Perhaps if people are more curious, I’ll do a deeper and more scientific dive at a future point, but for now we can move forward knowing that keto (for me, at least) results in a diet with tons of vegetables, meats, nuts, oils, and a little dash of dairy here and there. The strict diet doesn’t mesh real well with traditional foods, so it can be a challenge at times.
Without further ado, here’s how I manage keto in a non-keto house:
- FORCEFUL INDOCRINATION
I do all of the cooking in the house, so everyone has to eat what I prepare (insert sinister laugh here). This means that I make my keto meals and my wife and daughter will always begin dinner eating with my chosen foods. The best part of keto and this progression for me has been how many vegetables I prepare daily that my toddler snatches up with the fury of a fasted predator. She hasn’t met a vegetable yet she won’t devour in seconds. Eliza also regularly pounds steak, eggs, sardines, salmon, pork rinds, and several other keto staples. She is so disgusting when she eats I can hardly take my eyes off her. Love keto or hate it, my adherence has actually been the foundation for my family’s diet, which means lots of vegetables and nothing but fresh, non-processed goodies for my toddler to wipe in her hair.
- SIDE OF CARBS, PLEASE
While I don’t necessarily worry about my toddler eating and growing up on a ketogenic diet, I definitely do not aim to keep her body in that state. So after we have had our veggies and protein, it’s off to the races with more higher carb vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, and white potatoes. She’ll also demand some berries (blue being her favorite) and occasionally mix in an apple or a banana. Fixing a quick potato or serving some fresh fruit makes it really easy to satisfy and further satiate the two year old. She also hoards pecans and almonds like a squirrel before winter.
- NO BAD CARBS
I have so little self control around food (especially sweets!) that the best thing I do to stay content in keto is not to keep the real junk around the house where I would cave at a moment’s notice. It’s one thing to pass on a few bites of sweet potato; it’s a whole different challenge to pass on a pint of Chunky Monkey. While my wife eats a lot of different foods than me (she definitely does fly the keto flag), she thankfully doesn’t load up the fridge and cabinets with junk that only serves as temptation for me.
So, to wrap up, start by getting your family to fall in love with as many keto foods as possible. Next, find some easy side dishes and complements that will not distract you. Finally, keep the real sugary stuff out of the way…nobody’s perfect!