5 Things You Can Do To Help Protect Your Child From Type 2 Diabetes
Do you know anyone who has a child or teenager with Type 2 Diabetes? Until fairly recently, that was almost unheard of. However, it’s becoming more and more common and the number of children and teenagers with Type 2 Diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate.
I talk to parents often about their children and teenagers who are pre-diabetic and often overweight or obese as well.
Why is this happening?
When our grandparents were young, sugar was an expensive luxury and most of the food they ate was whole food, not processed food. All of that has changed dramatically!
Processed and packaged foods, fast food and even sugar itself, have become a large part of what we call the Standard American Diet (SAD).
When my son was young, I told my family that he could not have any sugar before he was five years old. My thinking was that if he didn’t taste it, he wouldn’t develop a taste for it. I knew that at least until he entered Kindergarten, I had some control over what he ate. Unfortunately, my edict didn’t last long. It wasn’t long before he had birthday cake and someone offered him ice cream. It’s really hard to prevent our children from eating too much sugar because there are in fact so many hidden sources of sugar.
Here are 5 things you can do to help protect your child from Type 2 Diabetes.
So what do we as parents need to know to protect our children from Type 2 Diabetes, and other related health problems like obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver (which is caused by eating too much sugar in our diets)?
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Tip #1
Provide healthy meals for your family.
Add more whole fruits and vegetables, as well as good quality lean protein and small amounts of good quality fat, to your family meals and to your kids’ lunches.
Instead of packing ‘Doritos’ in lunches, pack an apple with a little almond butter on the side. Or pack some celery, carrots and hummus.
Add a salad with lots of colorful vegetables to every dinner. You can even throw in some pumpkin seeds or some fruit, like pomegranate seeds or cut-up pear.
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Tip #2
Stop buying so much processed and packaged food.
Don’t buy so many cookies, crackers, chips, white bread and other baked goods that contain white-flour and sugar.
These processed carbohydrates turn into sugar when your child eats them. And most of them have little to no fiber, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes.
If you still want some sweet treats, try making some at home on the weekends so that way you can indulge just 1 or 2 times during the week. You can find a lot of great recipes that use raw, organic honey or stevia & xylitol, (which are some of my favorite natural sugar substitutes).
Also, use alternative flours like almond meal or use nuts and seeds. Just be careful of the amount of honey if you use that and be sure to stay away from chemical sweeteners like ‘Splenda’ or ‘Sweet ‘N Low’!!
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Tip # 3
Limit sweet beverages.
You probably already know that soda is full of sugar, but did you know that even orange juice has a lot of sugar?
If your child drinks juice, make sure it is 100% juice. And limit the amount to 1 or 2 times per week. It is better for them to eat an entire orange to get the fiber (and much less sugar) than is concentrated in a glass of orange juice.
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Tip #4
Sugar is hidden very well!
One of my clients found that her yogurt had 23 grams of sugar in it! I recommend eating no more than about 25 grams of sugar (TOTAL) per day for adults; and nearly half of that for children!
When reading labels, look for words like “cane”, “sugar”, “syrup”, “malt” and for words ending in “-ose” or beginning with “dext-“ (like dextrose or sucrose).
Healthy eating cannot be stressed enough as to being so important for everyone. Click here to read how to pick the best fruits and vegetables.
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Tip #5
Encourage your kids to be active.
It is way too easy these days for kids to spend hours watching TV or playing video games.
Try to get them outside! Take family walks. Encourage team or individual sports. Ask them to help with yard work or with cleaning the house.
Anything that gets them outside, the better.
While we cannot be with our children 100% of the time, we can control our own personal environments at home.
So please make sure you provide lots of healthy food choices. Encourage your kids to be active.
And most importantly, set the example yourself!
Not only will your kids be healthier, but you will be too!!
Do you have any health stories you’d like to share? Tell us below!
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