From Verbena, Alabama, USA:
I have type 2 diabetes and as of yet, my 108 pound six year old does not have any diabetes, but I would like to place him on a "lifestyle change diet" similar to mine. I want to get him off of the very fat school lunches and start sending healthy lunches and snacks for him. I know he will get bored with the usual sandwiches, and that is not always a good choice either. I am looking for a variety and something I can choose from also. I have changed his snacks to low-fat yogurt at least.
It is great that you are so concerned about your child's health and well being, in light of your diabetes. More kids are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes as a result of less activity, exercise, and poor eating habits (resulting in more overweight kids). I would suggest you visit with a registered dietitian or speak with the dietitian on your diabetes health care team regarding healthy eating ideas for your six year old. More families should take the approach that everyone in the family, including the person with diabetes should eat healthy. You're making a great first step by substituting low fat yogurt for otherwise higher fat options.
Additional comments from Betty Brackenridge, diabetes dietitian:I want to reinforce that the nutritional step most likely to help your child reduce risk for future diabetes is to improve the nutritional offerings provided to the whole family. A defined "diet," restricting foods and portions, is not appropriate. Diets don't help kids learn to manage their own food choices and appetite. And diets are almost always short-lived. In addition, healthy food choices form only one part of the best approach. It is also extremely helpful to work with your child to become more physically active. TV watching is more highly correlated with weight gain in kids than are specific food choices. Again, the emphasis should be on a more active lifestyle for the family -- not singling out the child for what might be perceived as the "punishment" of riding a bike or jumping rope. We used to call it "going out to play," and it was what most kids did before the TV and computer became so prevalent in youngsters' lives.
Good luck. These are great positive choices you're talking about for the whole family and I'm sure they'll benefit more than just your child.
Additional comments from Lois Schmidt Finney, diabetes dietitian:The school lunch menus are not designed to be high in fat, but I think they have obtained a bad name. They need to provide a certain amount of nutrients for a child, in a form that kids will eat. We do include them in the meals of children trying to lose weight. Trying to get in as much activity as possible, especially for the family is fabulous, as is eating more healthy foods. Just be sure to not make any foods forbidden, since then they have a greater importance.
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