Working with a Dietitian

When children (or adults) are treated with the ketogenic diet, the dietitian is a very important member of the medical treatment team.

The dietitian works out how much of one type of food or another should be served together to make the diet work. He or she helps the family plan the child’s meals, and works out how many calories the child needs for healthy growth.

Meal plans serve small amounts of fruits or vegetables (carbohydrates) and meat, fish or chicken (protein) with lots and lots of fat (such as cream, butter, eggs, or mayonnaise), and no sugar.

The following sample meal plans provide a general idea of the kinds of foods that are part of the diet.

Breakfast

  • Scrambled eggs with butter
  • Diluted cream
  • Orange juice

Lunch

  • Spaghetti squash with butter and Parmesan cheese
  • Lettuce leaf with mayonnaise
  • Orange diet soda mixed with whipped cream

Dinner

  • Hot dog slices with sugar-free catsup
  • Asparagus with butter
  • Chopped lettuce with mayonnaise
  • Sugar free vanilla cream Popsicle

These examples don’t show the exact amounts of each food because those have to be worked out for each child by the dietitian.

Each portion of food must be prepared very carefully by the parents, who often use a gram scale to weigh items exactly.

That’s because a tiny mistake in weighing and measuring foods (or if a child finds and eats a few cookie crumbs, or puts anything containing sugar — including medicines and toothpaste — in her mouth), can break the diet’s effects — and cause a seizure.