Protect future generations from diabetes

“Diwali comes once a year” is probably how you justified feeding your children sweets and treats without being aware of its consequences. Unfortunately, these are eaten throughout the year. World Diabetes Day and Children’s Day fall on the same day. I want to mark the day by spreading awareness of diabetes prevention as it is terrifying to see how rampant children get diabetes in India.

I want to start by improving the food choices parents make, since nutrition from both forms the genetic code of the child. The nutritionally rich foods eaten by both of you will lay the foundation for good nutrition for your child to avoid silent killer diabetes.

Prevention is better than cure. After seeing elevated blood sugar levels in so many children, the following are my suggestions that can be easily incorporated:

Parental influence

Your children eat what you eat. Poor food choices by parents influence children to make poor choices themselves. Offering children fresh, raw, homemade meals is not enough. You should also follow a healthy lifestyle, as children imitate adults.

Eat on time

Eating at fixed times, within an established routine, is very essential. This prevents extreme highs and lows in blood sugar and also keeps insulin levels in check.

Fiber first

I cannot stress enough about the importance of fiber in any diet. The fiber in seasonal vegetables helps reduce the glycemic load of a meal, thus preventing a spike in sugar levels.

Food combinations

Before eliminating all carbohydrates, let me tell you that they are necessary. Children, like adults, require a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in any meal. Choose good quality carbohydrates such as whole grains, millet, unpolished rice and combine them with vegetables and a protein. Add good quality fat like beef ghee, coconut, seeds, and nuts. Translated in simple terms it is vegetables and roti or rice or dosa or whole wheat bread and daal or legumes or curd or seafood, egg or chicken.

Instant Sugar: The Taste That Kills – Between meals, you look for foods high in white sugar and processed flours. The most common are your fruit juices, flavored sugary drinks, candy, chocolates, sodas, sugary cookies, and processed snacks. Instead, incorporate whole or cut fruits, nuts, a glass of unsweetened milk, yogurt, sandwich, grilled, stir-fried, and steamed snacks like poha, idli, upma.

Exercise: Educate your child on the importance of moving their body. Let them run, jump, jump, dance, ride bikes, and play sports.

Getting enough sleep, reducing screen time along with the above will ensure good grades, a good mood, and an overall pressure-free lifestyle.

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