- Barbara in Caneyhead
Tips for Helping Your Family Avoid Diabetes
March is National Nutrition Month, a great time to spread awareness about the importance of healthy nutrition in all families. But with the rising epidemic of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes diagnoses in kids and adults these days, now is as important a time as ever to get on the right track.
My own little cousin was diagnosed with Type 2 not too long ago, and it completely changed our family’s outlook on health. With a healthy diet and regular exercise being the best prevention and management solution to Type 2 and obesity, we have changed our lifestyles to make sure no one else in the family develops the disease. With obesity and Type 2 being so widespread among today’s families, it’s time to make the changes that are necessary to get our families on track to living healthy lives. Here are some things to consider for your own family:
Regular exercise is absolutely essential to maintaining insulin sensitivity and avoiding diabetes. Some of the easiest ways to get regular exercise are to go walking around your neighborhood together after dinner, go to the park and run around with the family pet, or even go for a bike ride on some biking trails.
Swimming is another great way to stay fit. Easy on older joints and fun for kids, swimming is ideal for family fitness outings. Also, with so many different water games out there, it’s a great way to make a day full of exercise, fun, and lots of laughs and memories to be made!
Gardening is a fantastic spring and summer option that will keep your family in shape and give you fresh, healthy produce at the end of the season.
Finally, consider some fitness videos or classes as a family. There are so many different kinds of classes and fitness activities offered today. My younger cousins love to come to my house and do Zumba and Yoga with me. According to orthopedic doctors from Syracuse’s Orthopedic Center, yoga is great for increasing bone and joint health, flexibility, balance, and posture – all things that are great for all of us, no matter what age we are! My cousins even have all of their own Yoga Mats and they leave them at my house for when they visit each week!
A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is a cornerstone of any plan to avoid diabetes and obesity.
Be sure that your family gets enough fiber, which helps control blood sugar. The foods highest in fiber, such as fruits and veggies, can also be great replacements for high-carbohydrate menu items.
As much as you can, avoid processed carbohydrates, such as soda, candy, sugary cereal and white bread. Those items cause a major spike in blood sugar that can contribute to the development of diabetes over time. Instead, choose whole grains for long-lasting energy that is easy on insulin.
Balance your meals and snacks by combining protein, healthy fats and low-glycemic carbohydrates. Beef jerky, fresh fruit and nuts are all good choices.
Here's a simple, healthy recipe that kids love:
Fast Slow-Cooker Mexican Chicken Supreme
- Put a pack of chicken legs (or thighs) in the slow cooker
- Dump a can of salsa over it
- Add ½ teaspoon of cumin, 3 chopped cloves of garlic and ½ onion, quartered.
- Turn the slow cooker on high for 4-5 hours and serve with whole-grain corn tortillas, sour cream and fresh lettuce.
Following the tips above will reduce your family's chances of getting diabetes. By viewing health as a family activity, everybody in the household will be more likely to stick to a fitness plan in the future!
Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com/!