shutterstock_123237829-Prevent-Diabetes-During-February-National-Heart-Month

Just a few short months ago, one of my youngest cousins was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Our family was devastated and shocked. She was only 13 – I didn’t realize a 13-year-old could even develop diabetes. After talking with her doctors however, we learned that diabetes is very common among today’s children. In fact, there are over 215,000 children have been diagnosed with Type 2, and that number is continuously growing.

Information from Syracuse’s St. Joseph’s Cardiac Hospital points to a direct relationship between untreated diabetes and heart disease, among other diseases. Being that February is National Heart Month, what better time is there than now to work together as a family to prevent these awful diseases from affecting your family too? Here are a few prevention tips to consider:

Nutrition Tips

1. Eat Five Servings of Fruits and Vegetables

Kids should eat five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. If you cannot get them to eat it directly, find a way to creatively get them to eat them!  One great way to do this is to make smoothies – the fruits will mask the veggie taste that kids may not like. Besides, most kids think they are eating dessert when they drink smoothies.

Try this POM smoothie recipe for kids:

– Blend 1 cup of pomegranate juice with 3/4 cup of soymilk, 2 ice cubes, 1 large banana, 2 tablespoons of almonds, 3 tablespoons of protein powder, and 1 teaspoon of honey or stevia in a blender for 30 seconds. Pour in a tall glass, and let the kids drink it through a

straw for fun.

2. Avoid Refined Sugars

Refined sugars tend to make blood glucose levels spike after meals. Natural sugars found in fruits are better for kids with diabetes, but should still be eaten in moderation.

3. Eat Lean Meats

Lean meats help to keep diabetes and heart disease in check. Instead of eating fatty cuts of red meats, eat grilled or baked chicken, turkey, or salmon.

4. Balance The Plate

It’s important to eat in moderation, and one thing that helps is to make sure our plate is balanced correctly. When making up a plate, make ½ fruits and non-starchy veggies, ¼ lean protein, and ¼ healthy carbs.

5. Get The Kids Involved

Kids are more likely to eat foods that they have a hand in picking and preparing. Let them help go grocery shopping, come up with ideas for meals, and even help with the chopping or mixing if they are old enough.

Exercise Tips
1. Exercise for 30 Minutes Per Day, 5 Days/Week

Exercise for 30 minutes per day to build up stamina, get your heart rate going, and help to regulate blood flow levels. This can be any type of activity, as long as your heart is racing and your body is moving!

2. Take Advantage of Winter Weather

If it’s cold outside…bundle up and get out there! Get the family together and go downhill or cross-country skiing, go snowshoeing, do some laps at the ice skating rink, or just simply have fun running around in a snowball fight. The snow will create resistance to each of these activities, which will make the body work even more without the kids even realizing they are exercising.

3. Bike at the Park

Go for family bike rides to and in the local park. You can even make it a whole-day event by packing a healthy picnic and playing at the park all day!

4. Get Kids Involved in Organized Sports

Kids don’t realize they are exercising when they are involved in organized sports. Enroll them in soccer, tennis, basketball, or cheerleading. If they don’t want to participate on organized teams, you can get a bunch of the neighborhood kids together and do this in the backyard instead!

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 fullonfit.blogspot.com

Photo credit: healthyhomefront.com

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