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Low Carb and Keto Kids

Low carb for kids is challenging but not impossible. Make an easy, slow transition – the healthy eating habits they learn now will help them the rest of their lives.

  • How to tell your child about low carb
  • Low carb ease-in plan for kids
  • The Rules
  • Snacks, lunches, low carb away from home
  • Social challenges: parties, celebrations



Most of us discover low carb as adults. We see positive changes in ourselves and wish we found it sooner. Kids of low carb parents enjoy all the benefits of whole foods without – waiting years to get there.

Younger kids may not be able to understand the science. Younger kids can learn some foods will help them grow up healthy and strong, while other foods won’t.


Tips for Sharing Low Carb with Kids

Fun, low carb family activities are a great way to inform kids and celebrate your new, healthier lifestyle.

  • Try a felt vegetable art project: Use a kit or make your own low carb vegetables from colorful felt or fabric pieces. During the project, discuss the healthy benefits of the foods you are creating together.
  • Plan a special trip to the grocery store or market to highlight this important change.
  • Do your best to present the new list in a positive light: an exciting new choice that will help your family stay healthy and active. Buy something different, special and low carb.


A young girl smiles, missing a front tooth. A single pea rests in the gap.

The Low Carb Transition

Older kids can be tough customers when it comes to cutting off their “cinnamon crunchy doodles.”

Transitioning to a low carb diet involves many hurdles, especially for parents who are also struggling with their own diet.

Adults who choose to adopt a low carb lifestyle have made the decision that the difficulty is worth the benefits.

Children whose parents make the choice for them often feel overly restricted by a change that suddenly forbids all of their favorite foods for no apparent reason.


“Cold Turkey” is Not Ideal

Kids are biologically hardwired to reject new and unfamiliar foods– an overnight switch from macaroni and cheese, to liver and broccoli is unlikely to go over well.


Low Carb Ease-In Plan

Gently ease your kids into their new eating patterns. Start by just cutting out gluten, or even just one gluten-containing food (such as breakfast cereal).

Getting the family used to eating eggs instead of “sugary choco-smacks” is a small step, but it’s a small step in the right direction.


Low Carb Snacks

Slowly replace snacks with low carb-friendly options, letting your kids enjoy each new food slowly, rather than hitting them with several changes at once.

Try using deli-meat and cheese roll-ups, kabobs, or lettuce wraps as an after school snack.

Lower carb versions of favorite foods can go a long way towards easing the transition period. French fries made with slower-carb sweet potatoes may be a hit.


One Low Carb Meal at a Time

Some people have better results focusing on one meal at a time, rather than one food type.

  • Breakfast is an easy option for this. Most people eat it at home, meaning that you have the maximum amount of control over what you eat.
  • Later in the day, you may not have the mental energy to insist on roast beef and spinach for dinner, instead of pizza.
  • Starting with breakfast sets you up to succeed– and a solid low carb breakfast might even give you more energy to tackle lunch.


A young boy holds two brown eggs and smiles.

Low Carb Kid Rules

Approach the change with a positive attitude, a flexible game plan and a willingness to communicate.

You may be surprised how well it goes.


Be Patient. Lead by Example

Kids typically want what you find delicious to eat. Embrace the challenge.

You don’t have to be the Perfect low carb Family from day one. Minor setbacks along the way doesn’t mean you should give up entirely.


Be Low Carb Consistent

Whatever strategy you choose, be sure to stay consistent. If your kids figure out they may get their old foods back by throwing a tantrum, that’s what they’ll keep doing.

For two-parent households, it’s vital that both adults stay on the same page about what is and isn’t allowed: frustrated kids are quick to take advantage of any inconsistency.

Be gentle and encouraging, but stick to your plan.

If your kids refuse to eat dinner, it won’t hurt them to skip a meal – vegetables have a way of magically becoming less “icky” the hungrier they are.


Involving Kids in the Low Carb Lifestyle

One of the simplest ways to get your kids excited about their new food is to involve them in the process.

  • Encourage kids to help you in the kitchen with basic tasks like washing veggies or peeling cooled, hard boiled eggs.
  • Older kids can help shop, chop, peel, and clean up.
  • Teenagers can take charge of the family dinner for a night.
  • Ask your kids for their input when you plan meals, and then take them to the grocery store to help you pick out the ingredients.


Kid-Friendly Low Carb Foods

The main difference between a low carb diet for kids and a low carb diet for adults is that children’s growing brains need slightly higher levels of carbs.

  • Try sweet potatoes or chestnuts for delicious, slow carb sources of starch to fuel your child’s rapid growth.

With a few added carbs, kids can thrive on the same version of a low carb diet as adults can – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make it more fun every now and again.



Fun Low Carb Snacks for Kids

One way to make almost any food fun to eat is to create a mini version: mini omelets, mini meatloaves, and mini burgers are quick and easy ways to make dinner kid-sized.

  • Cut deli meats with cookie cutters, or use an egg mold to keep low carb snacks interesting.
  • Fruit or berries in small amounts are an easy, tasty snack.
  • Hard-boiled eggs are another nutritious option that you can easily make ahead of time and store in the fridge for days.
  • Various enterprising cooks have also constructed low carb crackers from almonds and coconut flour. Enjoy them with butter, nut butter, guacamole, or deli meats.
  • Jerky and small packets of nuts are easy to find and portable.


Low Carb and Keto Kids

Low Carb School Lunches

Pack a hot lunch in a thermos bottle for a gourmet meal that will put cafeteria pizza to shame.

Low carb lunches don’t have to be complicated or time-consuming.

Surprise your child with a colorful, low carb Bento lunchbox packed with leftover meat, fruit salad, hard-boiled eggs, chopped veggies like carrot or celery sticks, and some strawberries or coconut squares for dessert.


Outside the Home: Social Challenges

Encouraging your kids to eat meat and vegetables in place of sugar-filled “kid food” can be hard enough at your own dinner table.

But your kids also have to leave the house at some point– and unless you’re living in low carb Utopia, that means a constant parade of cleverly-marketed junk food around every corner.


“All or Nothing” Doesn’t Work

A natural reaction is to strictly prohibit junk food. But this method isn’t particularly useful. An “all or nothing” approach doesn’t work.

If you institute an absolute ban on all non-low carb food, you’ll turn it into a delicious forbidden fruit that your kids are dying to get their hands on as soon as they get the chance.


Restriction Doesn’t Either

Extreme restriction won’t help your kids develop healthy eating habits in the long run, because it prevents them from learning how to make their own low carb choices away from home.

A better method is to keep communication open about different kinds of foods and their effect on the body.

Speak to your kids about why you don’t eat junk food. Encourage them to notice how they feel when they do. Help them identify less harmful indulgences, and enjoy them instead.


Parties and Social Events

Navigating special events are tough for low carb kids. Social events like birthday parties give you a prime opportunity to teach your kids about what we eat.

If your child has no serious allergies, consider allowing them to eat whatever the other children are eating.

One serving of cake and ice cream won’t hurt them, and it gives you a chance to let your child try “junk food” without bringing it into your house.

Many parents also find that it helps to feed their children a healthy meal beforehand. If they don’t go into the party hungry, they’re more likely to focus on the social aspect, rather than the food.


The Holidays

Sugar-laden holidays like Easter or Halloween also pose the risk of candy overload.

Try focusing on other aspects of holiday traditions (such as pumpkin carving instead of trick-or-treating), or swapping your kids’ candy for low carb alternatives like all natural “Unreal Candy,” toys, or other treats.


The Greatest Benefit of All

Helping your kids switch from a modern American diet to nutritious, low carb foods is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.

Regardless of the situation, realistic compromises and communication are key.

You can only compel your kids to eat low carb for a few years, but if you can persuade them of the benefits, they’ll keep their good habits for life.

The results will be worth the challenge, and when your kids are mature enough to understand delayed gratification, they’ll probably thank you.


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Low Carb and Keto Kids

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Category: Strategy