If you haven’t caught on yet, we are super passionate about promoting and living a well balanced, wholesome lifestyle. We think it’s important to incorporate nutrient rich whole foods into our diet, avoiding additives and highly processed foods where possible to help us maintain a healthy, enjoyable life. There are so many processed food options available nowadays. I’m talking the foods thats have been chemically processed, not mechanically. If it is a single (or minimal) ingredient food with no additives, then regardless of the mechanical process (for example, ground and put into a jar) it is still a whole food. Chemically processed foods on the other hand are usually high in sugars, fats, refined carbs and salt, as well as packed with artificial ingredients, which in turn gives you a food that offers you no nutritional benefits. A diet containing high amounts of processed foods can have a number of effects on an individual's health and wellbeing, which brings me onto my next topic...
Diabetes, the epidemic of the 21st century and the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia; increasing at a faster rate than other chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. It is the biggest challenge Australia’s health system is facing today, with 280 Australians developing diabetes EVERY DAY - that’s one person every 5 minutes! It is no longer more commonly found to affect those who are middle-aged or older adults, but is now vast becoming more and more prevalent in children and teenagers.
The most common form of diabetes, type 2, makes up for 85% of those with Diabetes within Australia (over 1 million people)! It is characterised based on insulin resistance, where the body’s insulin (hormone needed to control blood glucose levels) is unable to perform properly in order to get glucose from the bloodstream into the muscles and cells. Those who are overweight are at higher risk as carrying extra weight interferes with the body’s production of, and resistance to, insulin. The body is then forced to produce more and more insulin in the hopes of overcoming the resistance and keep blood glucose levels normal. Over a period of time, the body may no longer be able to continuously make enough insulin to do so and as a result, blood glucose levels rise and diabetes develop.
Lifestyle factors (including diet and lack of physical activity) and genetics both play a role in a child’s risk of developing T2 diabetes. Other health problems such as heart, kidney, eye and nerve issues become a greater health concern for those with diabetes, with the risk of these increasing the longer someone has the condition. Therefore, being diagnosed at a younger age increases the risk of developing further health complications earlier in life, which is super concerning for those who develop it earlier!
However, amongst all of this, there is a silver lining! Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable and as lifestyles factors play a part in the development of type 2 diabetes, there are a number of personal behaviour changes that have been proven to reverse the damage, in particular through diet change!
Developing healthy lifestyle habits as a family is vital in helping reduce your child’s chances of type 2 diabetes and is where parents become the most important role models. Providing and encouraging healthy food choices is the first step. Ensuring the recommended daily serves of fruit and vegetables are being met is an integral part of this. Second to diet changes, encouraging physical activity and reducing screen time have a major impact on lowering the risk of diabetes. These changes will not only reduce the risk, but will help manage it for those who are affected.
What is the best type of diet? Eating natural whole foods is key. Cutting out those refined sugars and anything that causes extreme elevation in blood glucose. Replace sweetness with foods such as cinnamon or cacao to help satisfy the sweet tooth without spiking blood sugar levels. For breakfast, start your day off with a meal packed with protein, fibre and an abundance of veg and healthy fats! These will keep you fuller for longer and will help maintain blood sugar control!
Tips on healthy, happy kids.
Active kiddies need the correct fuel for their brain and growing bodies. A drop in blood-sugar levels can result in poor concentration and the ability to focus and settle.The food a child eats not only has short term and long term effects on their health and wellbeing but also an effect on their food behaviours and choices as adults. Food has an impact on a person's mindset, energy levels and sleep and this is no different for children. A diet rich in refined carbs will produce those sugar highs and lows that result in mood swings which is a parents worst nightmare! Unfortunately, many of the handy pre-packaged snack foods available are just that - packed with refined carbs and only offer momentary satisfaction before the hunger pains kick in again. Little snacks that are natural, unprocessed and rich in healthy fats and protein will keep the kids full for longer. We want to encourage children to eat the colours of the rainbow and try something new each day. All of these decisions now will help them learn to enjoy food and shape their food choices when older.
For fun and healthy recipes, don't forget to check out our tip of week posts, with a new one every week! Keep your eyes peeled on our blog page for healthy recipe ideas for children, coming soon!
As an active lifestyle also plays a role in an individual's overall wellbeing as well as risk of developing diabetes, it is important children take a step back from all the crazy electronic appliances there are out there and get their bodies moving. Similarly to diet, lack of movement also impacts sleeping patterns, mood and behaviours. Whether it be playing outside with their friends, learning a musical instrument or participating in their favourite sport, when a child finds something they enjoy, it will enrich their lives and help them develop healthy relationships with being active and living a healthy lifestyle.
For those who are looking to change up their diet and take the next step in their nutrition journey, why not give our Wholesome Box a go. It is nutrient dense with fewer refined carbs, naturally gluten-friendly and high in fibre.