As parents we believe that we can protect our children from just about anything. The truth is, there is only so much that we can do, but luckily providing a healthy lifestyle is one of these things. As parents we can take charge of our children’s nutrition from an early age and help them avoid all the diseases that come with the package known as obesity.

There are some things you need to keep in mind when deciding on your child’s eating plan and we suggest the following guidelines:

First of all, understand that type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. It is not caused by eating too much sugar, it is a hereditary disease that is activated by certain life events. There is some research that suggests that breastfeeding, avoiding early introduction of solid foods, and other factors might play a role in lowering the risk of developing the disease. Currently there is no test to accurately predict whether you have the gene but blood tests can pick up early signs of developing diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes on the other hand, can be prevented most of the time or the onset delayed considerably by managing your weight and diet, especially in teens. If you have a family history of diabetes, then it becomes even more important to keep a close eye on what your children consume because it places them at greater risk. Keep these 4 things in mind:

  1. Let your kids follow a healthy diet.

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Your kids should consume a low amount of carbohydrates which are nutrient rich (no processed carbs!) and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Stick to wholegrains and unprocessed foods such as fast food.

2. Limit sugary foods and beverages.

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Telling your children to stop drinking carbonated drinks and snacking on sweets or crisps is like telling ice not to melt. You can, however, let them consume small quantities at a time and make sure they understand the health related risks of being on these sugary snack foods. Even better – stock Lekker Sweets sugar free candy and opt for diabetic friendly desserts like our low carb chocolate cake and sauce! Teach them to drink water and don’t keep large quantities of sugary drinks available. Make sure that you have healthy snacking options available like low carb nutty rusks.

3. Encourage physical activity.

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This has never been more important as the younger generation becomes increasingly fixated on technology and video games. Try to spend some time with your kids outdoors, support their sporting activities and encourage them to take part in physical activities.

4. Say no.

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This is not always fun for a parent but it is the greatest gift you give to your child. You do not have to deprive them in any way, but if you can teach your child delayed gratification they will learn that a chocolate is a treat, not something you eat every day. Teaching them to practice healthy habits and self-discipline starts at home. You are their first role model and they will mimic nearly everything you do – if you are following healthy eating patterns, it will feel natural to them.

If you fear that your child is at risk of developing either type 1 or type 2 diabetes or if they are displaying the usual symptoms (frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme fatigue or blurry vision), talk to your doctor and visit a nutritionist to help you make healthy, informed choices. Health professionals can help you set realistic, healthy weight goals and will inform you of new trends and treatments.

Unfortunately there really is no evidence to suggest that type 2 diabetes can be reversed but it can definitely be controlled and delay the onset of insulin dependence. Chat to us in the comment section below if you want specific advice or need advice on child friendly health foods, we’d love to hear from you.

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