American Diabetes Month Meatless Monday: 6 Healthy Habits to Reduce Your Risk

Diabetes is an urgent health issue in the Hispanic community–1 in 10 Latinos has diabetes and it is estimated that 1 out of 2 Hispanic children born in 2000 will develop diabetesThis disease causes blood sugar levels (glucose) to spike which over time can harm your heart, nerves, skin, mouth, kidneyseyes, and feet, even causing death. Excess weight and lack of activity are the most common causes of type 2 diabetes which accounts for 95% of all diabetes cases in the United States. Traditionally considered an adult condition, type 2 diabetes is increasingly prevalent in children as a result of increased rates of childhood obesity.

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Eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh vegetables can reduce your risk of diabetes. Courtesy: @NatalieGFierro

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking to ban trans fats in processed foods including frozen pizza due to associated health risks such as an increased risk of heart disease, you can prevent diet-related diseases by making changes to your eating habits. To lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes or manage it, choose not to smoke and make these healthy habits a regular part of your routine:

Natalie’s 6 Healthy Habits to Prevent or Manage Diabetes

  1. Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables: Avoid foods high in calories and fat, and fill at least ½ your plate with frutas and verduras as recommended by the USDA. Don’t know where to start? I’ve got you covered with dozens of my original and healthy vegetarian recipes you can click here to read.
  2. Choose fiber-rich foods: Foods high in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grainsnuts, and seeds promote blood sugar control and keep you feeling full, which helps control your weight.
  3. Snack smart: Pass on the chips and other empty calories and nibble instead on fresh fruit or veggies dipped in hummus. I always keep an apple or a handful of nuts in my bag so I have a nutritious option ready when hunger strikes. I share healthy snack ideas in Nutrition: 7 Ways to Snack Smart.
  4. Cut excess sugar: I find creative ways to satisfy my sweet tooth while staying committed to healthy eating such as choosing banana ice cream and homemade zucchini muffins with chocolate chips instead of brownies or cupcakes.
  5. Stay active: Physical activity can help you lose weight and lower your blood sugar.  No time or money for a gym membership? No problem. Fit activities you love into your routine! I burn calories by riding my bike to work every day and dancing salsa at least twice a week. Click here to read more of my easy and free, or low cost fitness suggestions.
  6. See your doctor for regular checkups: Have your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels checked regularly and share any changes in your health with your doctor.
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Homemade zucchini muffins with chocolate chips are a healthier alternative to frosted cupcakes. Small changes to your diet can make a big difference! Courtesy: @NatalieGFierro

You can prevent diabetes by making healthy lifestyle choices. November is American Diabetes Month. Adopt these diabetes-fighting habits this month and live healthy all year long.

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

Please share what you do each day to keep your body healthy?

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