Twenty-eight million people in the U.S. have diabetes – a permanent condition affecting insulin production and utilization, causing blood sugar levels to rise higher than normal. Being overweight increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Because obesity – especially amongst children – continues to skyrocket, it’s now more important than ever to take action.

The good news is type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with two simple rules: eat healthy and move more. To make these goals easy to accomplish, the Meijer dietitian team has put together a list of type 2 diabetes prevention tips for the whole family.

Tips for Healthy Eating

  1. Portion is key. Fad diets can help you lose weight in the short-term, but they may lead to nutritional deficiencies, relapses and unknown side effects. The more sustainable solution is to eat nutritious foods in smaller portions. Rather than having three large meals a day, plan six or seven mini-meals that include fresh fruit, veggies, whole grains and lean protein. Also make sure to eat from individual bowls so you can keep tabs on the munching.
  2. Fiber up. Fueling up with fiber can keep you away from tempting treats and feeling fuller, longer. Try fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts to give you long-lasting energy and improved blood sugar control.
  3. DIY cooking. Going out to eat is an enjoyable experience but shouldn’t be a daily habit. Even “healthy” meals at restaurants are infused with hidden sodium and calories. Instead, treat yourself to a wellness cookbook, select favorite recipes and get the family involved. At-home cooking doesn’t need to consume a ton of time if you plan accordingly. Put on some music or a podcast, and let your creativity shine.

Move More: A Three-Step Plan

  1. Think movement. The word “exercise” can be intimidating, but it doesn’t need to involve drill sergeants and ten mile runs. Moving more can be as easy as taking a long stroll, electing to take the stairs or parking at the far end of the lot. Challenge yourself to see how many ways you can fit physical activity into your daily routine for one week.
  2. Never underestimate the power of community. After one week of increased movement, join a community that encourages physical activity, such as your local YMCA. Signing up for a mix of cardio and strength-training classes will give you a well-rounded routine, while providing the mental and emotional support critical for success.
  3. Plan YOUR 30/5. Make it your mission to maintain 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days per week. If you have a crazy schedule, try waking up earlier or skipping out on the evening Netflix session. Experiment by exercising at different points in the day and observe what works best for your energy levels. Then, make a regular checklist and stick to it.

Mastering a healthy eating and exercise pattern doesn’t just happen overnight, so be patient with yourself. If you don’t know where to start, consult your physician for tips on what works best for your body.

If you’re concerned you already have diabetes, ask your doctor for a glucose screening, as warning signs can be subtle. You may be at risk if you’re overweight and are experiencing increased hunger, thirst, urination, foot pain and/or blurred vision.

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