How do you make sure your child happily comes to sit down at the table for a meal despite being on a ketogenic diet? It’s not always easy. Especially when you’re just starting the diet. The flavors are different and your child often needs to eat something different from the rest of the family. That said, it is vital that your child continues to eat.
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to help eating and joining dinner fun and enjoyable.
Prepare what your child likes
At first, I had a tendency to prepare new dishes for my son all the time because I assumed he needed a lot of variety and would otherwise find food boring. The result was that he often didn’t want to eat even though I had put so much effort into preparing something new. After years of ketogenic cooking for my son, it has become clear to me: I just make what he likes. Currently he prefers to eat keto pizza, spinach quiche or meatloaf. If he gets tired of something at some point, he’ll tell me. Then I’ll invent a new recipe.
Present the food in a fun way
Another trick I often use is to present the food in a fun way. With pieces of cheese and olives, for example, you can make a smiling face. Furthermore, you can use cool plates and bowls and funny cutlery to give everything just a nice touch.
Make food similar to what the rest of the family eats
My son always likes it when his food is similar to what the others at the table are eating. It is often possible to prepare about the same as for everyone else but with just a little more mayonnaise, butter or olive oil. There are also often good keto alternatives for popular meals. Think Konjac pasta and rice, ketogenic bread and, for example, fries made from turnips.
Make a game out of it
When my son refuses to eat for some reason, I usually make a game out of it. For example, a bite for Superman and then a bite for Batman, etc. Or every time he takes a bite, then a toy animal is allowed on the table. Or eat while singing. Or whoever finishes first. You know your child and surely know what game can make eating more enjoyable for him or her.
I notice that things are getting easier. Over time, our son’s tastes have changed. He no longer likes sweet flavours as much. Chances are your child’s tastes will also change as he or she grows up. You will probably notice that; in that case, try to adapt the dishes to the changed taste preferences.
Reward with treats
My son loves cheese. Therefore, in calculating his meals, I often include a slice of cheese. He then gets that as a reward when he has eaten his whole meal. Works very well here as a motivation to eat more independently and just a little faster. Your child probably also has something he or she finds super tasty that you can use as a reward….
Special food for a special child
From the moment we started the ketogenic diet, we agreed with those around us that ketogenic food is not a punishment and instead something very special that is prepared especially for our son. Because of this, he has never felt like it was unfair or sad that he eats differently than the other children. Instead, he gets something special for him because he is worth it.
The above tips can all help make ketogenic eating and joining the table just a little more fun. Still, this will always vary somewhat from child to child. Find out what works for your child and what doesn’t.