Eating healthy with Team Family
As a parent of a child with diabetes, you’re not only getting them to eat healthy when they’re sitting at the dinner table, you’re also teaching them how to make good choices when they’re on their own.
Parenting can be tough, especially when kids start testing their independence and developing physically and emotionally. Sure, you know the difference between a healthy snack and movie theatre popcorn, but do you ever feel like it’s not worth the argument?
Here are some ideas to encourage kids to make healthy choices—with or without your reminders.
- Create a family-team atmosphere. Our kids are always watching us—and to a certain extent, their eating habits are usually modeled after ours. Try encouraging healthy choices simply by eating what you want your child to eat. Another idea is to try new foods as a family—whether it’s a new entrée or a newly-introduced fruit or veggie.
- Stock up on healthy snacks. Try to keep a good supply of healthy snacks ready to go: fruit slices, grapes, berries, fresh-cut vegetable sticks or cucumber slices, low-fat cheese, popcorn and pretzels. These ready-to-eat snacks give your family options and independence with snack choices. Plus, giving children the opportunity to contribute to their own food choices can help them feel more empowered.
- Stick to a known schedule. Sometimes knowing the routine can help kids have more confidence regarding what to expect and may cut down on a few of the arguments. You already know this tactic works with things like bedtime and school—try keeping a regular schedule for meals. If life is too crazy right now for a set meal routine for the whole day, try prioritizing breakfast. After a night of fasting, your child’s sugar levels can be pretty low in the morning—and a good breakfast will help your child think, feel and work better.
- Encourage their self-esteem. Teenagers, are often intensely focused on body image, and this is the time when eating disorders can appear. Make sure your young person is taking any medications as prescribed by their doctor, and do what you can to promote a healthy, positive self-image.
- Be flexible. Everybody slips up now and then, even adults. Try to make it clear you don’t expect perfection from your child. When you run into problems, be honest and forgiving, and let them know you’ll work with them to get back on track. Remember, occasional sweets are okay, in moderation.
The bottom line is this—parenting can be incredibly challenging, but pulling together as a family can help create a healthy foundation that your children will follow into adulthood. For more tips for parents of children with diabetes, check out this blog post on Diabetes Daily.
The views expressed in the Accu-Chek blog are not necessarily those of Roche Diabetes Care Limited or our publishers. The content is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely – you must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content. Although we make reasonable efforts to ensure that the content is up to date, we make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content is accurate, complete or up-to-date.