In this blog, Jessica Kohl, a Nationally Qualified Bikini fitness competitor, personal trainer and fitness coach working in Strathroy Ontario is taking us through her tips on eating keto when your family isn't. Qualified to compete at a national level in NPC Bikini Fitness and having worked in the fitness industry for over 7 years she has a deep understanding of both nutrition and fitness and being a keto eater herself, is here to share her tips and trick on healthy low-carb living with the family!
Hey there! In this blog I’ll be talking about one of the major challenges we face with keto that not many people talk about - doing keto when you have a house full of kids or other family members that aren’t on a keto diet.
Living with carb eaters can make meal prepping a major challenge and can big a minefield of temptation with candies, chips, chocolate, ice cream, and other treats making their way into your home.
Of course, some meals can be family friendly and keto - like eggs, zucchini noodles, salads and such…but what do you do when your family loves pizza, pasta, and sandwiches? In this post I want to share with you how I have navigated some of the family meal times as well as those sneaky snacks that pop up.
- Prepping Both Regular & “Keto” Friendly Versions
Like I mentioned some meals you can do a keto version and keep everyone happy. One of the easiest ways I do this is to prepare a nice meat sauce and then make a batch of regular noodles and then zucchini, spaghetti squash or Zeroodle or nupasta noodles for myself. This way we all get to enjoy relatively the same meal – but you can keep it low-carb.
One of my favourite new discoveries is the Unbun low-carb bread products. With three different baseball games and football practices to get to a night I don’t have the time I had in the winter to make my own breads and buns so I gave these a try. We also love doing family BBQs out by the pool… and just eating a lonely hotdog with some mustard can get a little sad. So, needless to say, UnBuns are AWESOME. With the UnBun I make us all hot dogs, burgers, and even use them to make sandwiches and personal pizzas. Its quick, easy and manageable with the whole family as we can make the meats and toppings altogether and then I just switch out my bun.
I also do “deconstructed” wraps and burgers for myself. So for example making a chicken shawarma for the family and then a big chopped salad version for myself. This also goes for Reuben’s without the bread, or Big Mac salads (yum!). On the flip side I’ll do a keto style casserole and then add in noodles or rice for everyone else when I plate them; spinach, broccoli, or zucchini noodles for me.
- Getting the Family Buy-In
Nutritional education is important to our family and we are often talking with the kids about sugar in foods and looking at calories and healthy alternatives. I am fortunate that my partner also has tried keto and had great results. He loves trying the new healthy meals that I make and the boys are great guinea pigs for new keto baked goods like Strawberry muffins. I find that when we explain the different benefits of what foods do for our bodies the kids take a keen interest because they are learning about how foods they eat affect them.
We took snacks out of the cupboard and used sugar and a food scale for them to see how much sugar was in the snacks they are eating and when the best times to eat high energy foods are (not before bed!). This was awesome for them to actually understand the “why” instead of just the “no you’re not allowed”. Fortunately they love shrimp and spiralizer zucchini. Spaghetti squash.. not so much. Kids give the most honest feedback.
- Keto snacks to beat the attacks
Let’s face it. Peanut butter cups flying around the house could break anyone’s willpower. I like to keep frozen fat bombs (PB cup ones are my favourite) in the fridge or freezer. While sometimes I’ll whip up my own batch of some version of what the kids are having (cinnamon buns just came out of the oven) it’s just not realistic. I find that part of the planning comes down to keeping keto options around for when those cravings strike. Whether that’s crunchy, savoury, or sweet.
For crunchy, and when everyone is eating chips or popcorn, I usually have a bag of pork rinds and eat some of those dipped in a hummus or a roasted pepper cashew dip. For savoury - there’s nothing like a good old fashioned “meat stick”, aka pepperettes or some another easy access meat and cheese. For Sweet - this is where I stock up on frozen chocolates, cookies, brownies, lemon squares, cupcakes and more or I will bake a whole keto style cake.. and everyone loves cake! Crustless cheesecakes are great for this. Fortunately, the kids don’t like the taste of swerve so I don’t have to worry about them eating all of my snacks. One of the lesser known benefits of keto!
Overall introducing Keto to the family has been great for starting conversations about health, the nutrition of food, and sets an example for creative cooking. It is also a great way to spend time together finding new ways to create recipes you love! Thanks for reading, until next time!