Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Guest post - Spring into Action to Prevent Diabetes

Diabetes is no joke.  It's touched so many people and their families.  While we may not be able to prevent Type 1, Type 2 can be effectively managed with nutrition and exercise.  Carolyn Fallon wrote this excellent post on making the needed changes easy and fun.  Carolyn blogs at Full on Fit -- give this a read and follow her blog.  

My 13-year-old cousin was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.  Since then, the importance of health and nutrition has become a central theme in my family. We now work together to stop this disease from
invading again. Diabetes prevention isn't just theory; studies have shown that if you control your weight, eat healthy and stay active, you can prevent or dramatically delay the onset of the disease.

Since March (was) National Nutrition Month, it’s a perfect time to make positive changes. Unfortunately, the excitement of spring can make us forget our New Year’s resolutions. Little slip-ups can quickly turn
into obesity and sedentary living, and those conditions lead to Type 2 Diabetes. Therefore, it’s critical to make our health a priority all year.

Here are some great tips we’ve discovered:

Anti-Diabetes Nutrition Tips

Healthy Snacks
Instead of serving potato chips and cookies, keep healthy snacks like fresh fruits or vegetables readily available. These natural foods are packed with cell-building nutrition and fiber instead of sugar and poor-
quality carbohydrates that can trigger overeating and lead to obesity and diabetes.

Whole Grains are Best
Choose whole grains whenever possible. Fiber-rich whole grains digest slowly; they don’t cause sudden blood sugar spikes that lead to large releases of insulin.

No Sugar!
Lower the amount of sugar your family consumes by switching to water or low-calorie, natural beverages like unsweetened brewed iced tea instead of sodas. This will help keep blood glucose stable and keep from
adding on extra weight.

Kiss Fast-Food Goodbye
Say good-bye to greasy, deep-fried foods that don’t offer any nutritional value. Stir-fry, bake, grill or broil foods, and use non-stick sprays instead of heavy fats and butter.

A yummy recipe for the whole family to enjoy: Sour Cream Fruit Dip

1 cup low-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Amaretto
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together and serve with fresh or lightly grilled fruit.

Spring in Your Step

Flower Walk
Plan a family or neighborhood flower walk. Gather a list of local spots that boast lovely blooms and map out a walking path to visit them. This is a low-impact activity that is appropriate for almost any age or fitness
level.

Take Advantage of Yard Work
Plant a garden and mow the grass. Yard work burns plenty of calories, and spring is the perfect time to take advantage of it. Expect some soreness from the bending and stooping. When you finish your own
yard, volunteer to help your neighbors with theirs.

Play Like a Kid Again
Plan activities with the whole family. Instead of indoor games, take competitions outdoors and incorporate physical activities into the game’s rewards or participation requirements. Games such as tag, kickball, capture-the-flag, etc. are all fun for all!

Get Fit
Go to a fitness class, or rent some fitness videos and exercise together as a family right from home! My cousins love coming to my house to do Zumba and Yoga. What’s even better is the great benefits of such fun
activities – according to orthopedic doctors from Syracuse’s Orthopedic Center, yoga is great for people of all ages because it increase balance, posture, flexibility, and bone and joint health. Plus, it increases our
bonding time in an activity that everyone can do at their own level and pace!

You can find many creative ways to encourage activity and healthy eating. Above all, make good habits fun, and enjoy a happy, healthy spring.

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/!

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