Keto for Kids: When Should You Consider It

If you follow a keto diet, have you ever wondered if your kids might benefit from a low-carb, high-fat diet, too? Keto meal plans have become incredibly popular in the last decade because of their many potential health benefits, alongside their weight management support. It’s only natural to wonder if you can share the keto lifestyle with your growing kids. 

There are many nuances to introducing a keto diet to children. Come with us as we explore what a keto diet looks like for kids, why you may want to consider introducing it to your kids, and whether there is an appropriate age to start kids on a keto diet. 

This content is general in nature and for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice; It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding your or your children's health.

When Is an Appropriate Age for Kids To Start a Keto Diet?

With all the potential benefits of a keto diet for kids we’ll be discussing below, you may wonder if there is a perfect age to introduce this lifestyle to them. Like most decisions when it comes to parenting, this isn’t as cut and dry as you might hope. Starting a new diet with your child depends on their individual needs. 

Typically, your doctor will be able to recommend a timeline for starting your children on keto — whether it’s because of a family preference or because your pediatrician believes it will help them manage a number of health conditions. 

Keto’s brain-related benefits have been used as a supplementary treatment for children and teens with refractory epilepsy since the 1920s, and some believe it may help reduce the size of tumors related to certain forms of pediatric brain cancer

If your pediatrician believes it’s the right time for your child to start a keto diet, they can help create a nutritious and safe plan to transition your kid to keto. However, the “right” time to start will look different for every child.

What Does the Keto Diet Look Like for Kids?

The keto diet focuses on a nuanced balance of macronutrients that are high in healthy fats, moderate in protein, and limited in carbs. The goal of the keto diet is to gain energy and regulate blood sugar with stored fat (ketones) instead of from the glucose and other carbs you eat. This process is called ketosis. 

There are many benefits of a keto diet, including weight loss, brain and heart health support, and metabolic function support, but most of these studies have been done on adults. 

There is little research on the benefits of a keto diet for kids, but the keto diet is focused on nutritious whole foods. If you are considering introducing a keto diet to your kids, there may be a few tricks to keep it safe for little ones. 

As with any new diet, it is always best to consult your child's pediatrician before making big changes. 

While low-carbohydrate eating is likely safe for kids, every child is different, so it’s best to consult their doctor before starting. That way, you’ll get some medical supervision before having your kids try a low-carb diet like keto and may get recommendations for supplements or new foods to try.

Focus on Whole Foods for Keto Kids

Focus on Whole Foods for Keto Kids

Once you understand keto’s balance of fat, protein, and carbs, it is important to focus on whole foods. One of the major benefits of eating keto foods is that you’ll focus on cutting out overly processed snacks and meals. While this might sound like a restrictive diet that doesn’t offer many food choices to kids, the opposite is true! There are plenty of options in all of the food groups that fit the keto requirements.

Instead of switching out those snacks with “keto-approved” processed snacks, you can use this opportunity to introduce healthy whole food options to your kids. Here are some whole foods to include:

  • Low-carb veggies like broccoli, asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, and green beans. (These can be eaten raw, dipped in hummus, or cooked with a drizzle of olive oil.)

  • Low-sugar fruits like berries, coconut, melons, peaches, and citrus. (These fruits may provide nutrients and electrolytes important for active kids.)

  • Plant-based proteins like full-fat tofu and tempeh.

    • Nuts and Seeds like almonds, cashews, chia seeds, and walnuts.

    • Plant-based dairy like cashew cheese, added sugar-free coconut yogurt, and vegan butter.

    Not as Restrictive as Adults

    A keto diet for children shouldn’t be as restrictive as an adult’s keto diet. For one, it is generally recommended for kids to have 55% of their energy from carbs. This is far from the 5 to 10% of carbs recommended on a keto diet. Without this percentage, some kids may experience side effects like constipation, as well as potential nutrient deficiencies in calcium and magnesium.

    In order to determine an appropriate carb intake for kids following a keto diet, work with a registered dietitian at a local children’s hospital or doctor’s office. They may be able to provide you with an individualized plan for your child that includes some whole food sources of carbs, such as whole grains, fruits, and starchy veggies. 

    Focusing on foods that provide the most nutrients and eliminating foods that lack nutritional value is a solid keto foundation for kids.

    Cut the Sugar, but Not the Desserts

    Reducing sugar intake is a huge benefit of the keto diet. Added sugars can contribute to obesity, negatively affect heart health, impact metabolic function, and possibly cause cognitive decline. 

    Cutting sugar is important, but we’re talking about kids, here — Taking kids away from their sweets might as well be torture! 

    Thankfully, we’ve developed the most delicious chocolates and baking essentials to make sweet treats an everyday delicacy. MiiRO products are free of added sugars, vegan, and keto-approved. 

    You can feel good knowing you're giving your little one a delicious treat without all the sugar.

    Make It Fun!

    The last thing your kid wants to do is give up all of their go-to junk foods. Why not give them the foods they crave in a healthful way? 

    You can make them decadent chocolate cakes, smoothies that taste like a milkshake, or a kid-friendly keto charcuterie board. To keep your board vegan, you can use vegan cheese, nuts, berries, MiiRO Peanut Butter Cups, and veggies.

    What Are the Benefits of a Keto Diet for Children?

    While a keto diet is generally recommended for adults, there may be circumstances where the keto diet may be beneficial for kids as well. Here are some benefits you may want to consider when deciding if the keto diet is appropriate for your child. 

    Reduce Sugar Intake

    Kids and sugar seem to go hand-in-hand. Many kids love sugary cereal, candy, soda, fruit juices, and cake. All of these sugary drinks and foods can add up quickly. 

    The average kid ages 2 to 19 consumes about 17 teaspoons of sugar a day — that’s 11 teaspoons over the daily recommendation of fewer than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day for kids. If you’re concerned about your kids' sugar habits, you may want to introduce them to a keto diet, where added sugars are completely eliminated.

    Keeping keto doesn’t mean treats have to be totally taken away. MiiRO is your secret weapon when that sweet tooth hits, keeping your health and wellness at the top of our minds. All of our delicious sweets are made with quality, keto-friendly ingredients, and no added sugars. 

    Weight Management

    Weight management is important for the health and well-being of kids, just like it is for adults. Childhood obesity can lead to poor metabolic function, elevated levels of cholesterol or blood pressure, joint pain, or problems with the lungs and liver. 

    The most effective ways to help your child manage their weight is through diet and exercise. While weight management can be a difficult conversation to have with anyone, it is particularly difficult for kids. 

    One way to help your kids develop healthy habits is by setting an awesome example. If they see you enjoying a keto diet, it may help them be more open to the idea of trying it themselves. 

    Support Brain Health

    Kids’ brains are constantly developing. Between school, team sports, dance, music lessons, and playing with their friends, they are constantly building their cognitive skills. These skills include how they process information, learn, think, read, and pay attention. 

    The keto diet has been shown to help boost cognitive skills, helping your kids excel in all the activities they love. The brain needs a constant supply of energy — it actually uses about 20 percent of the body’s daily calories — and ketones can supply up to 75 percent of your brain’s energy needs. Keto can also help regulate GABA neurotransmitters, which helps your brain cells communicate effectively with the rest of your body. Finally, ketones can help protect your brain both thanks to their antioxidant properties and their ability to enhance the capacity of brain cells.

    All of this fancy science just means that keto may help you be more alert, help your brain function optimally, and be beneficial for certain neurological conditions when planned under the supervision of your child’s pediatrician. 

    If you are interested in the keto diet for your kids because of its potential brain health benefits, it’s best to have a conversation with your child's doctor, as always. Their doctor may be able to guide you to the best option for your child and their needs. 

    Boost Nutrition

    With the keto diet’s focus on whole foods, your child is not only getting important macronutrients, but they also benefit from micronutrients. 

    Micronutrients are nutrients needed in smaller amounts, like vitamins and minerals. While you may need less of these than macronutrients, they are still essential for our overall health. 

    The keto diet can be an awesome way to help your kids experiment with new whole foods. It’s also a helpful way to remove processed foods and snacks from their diet, giving them more opportunities to reach for those healthy snacks. 

    What About the Ketogenic Diet and Autism?

    Similar to how the keto diet can support brain health — both relating to refractory epilepsy and overall wellness — it may help improve the symptoms of autism in children and adults. 

    There are a few possible reasons why keto is being looked into as a treatment for the symptoms of autism. 

    First, it can help promote better gut health. Many people with autism have gastrointestinal symptoms that might be helped by improving your gut health, and there’s even a connection between your gut health and your body’s ability to communicate with your brain (appropriately called the “gut-brain axis”).

    Keto can also help improve your energy and balance your metabolism thanks to effects on your central nervous system, and it can help regulate GABA neurotransmitters in the brain. Finally, people with autism often have higher levels of oxidative stress, which keto can help address.

    Ultimately, researchers don’t know exactly why the keto diet may impact the symptoms of autism (yet), but many studies have shown that keto may be a safe diet for this disorder.


    The keto diet is a popular health trend. After seeing how amazing the results can be for yourself, it’s only natural to want to share the keto diet with your children.

    While there is little research on the benefits of keto specifically for kids, its focus on whole foods and limited sugars can be beneficial to growing children. 

    If you are considering a keto diet for your child, you may want to follow a less restrictive model than the adult version of keto. Talking to your child’s pediatrician or dietitian will allow you to make a plan specific to your child’s needs. They can also advise you on when it may be appropriate to start a keto diet, as every kid’s needs are different from the next. 

    Bringing you and your kids delicious treats without all of the unnecessary sugar is a passion at MiiRO. You can keep up with your health and wellness goals while still satisfying that need for a daily sweet treat. So, basically, you can have your keto cake and eat it, too! 

    This content is general in nature and for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice; It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding your or your children's health.


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    Is the restricted ketogenic diet a viable alternative to the standard of care for managing malignant brain cancer? | NIH

    A Ketogenic Diet and the Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder | Frontiers In

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