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School’s out for summer

As school holidays go, the six week summer holiday is probably number one in terms of treats on offer, with endless days out, going on holiday and, of course, copious amounts of ice cream.

But holiday overindulgence is harmful to adults’ and children’s health. Instead, consider ways to make it a healthier time and reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Planning is key

Create a timetable for the six weeks and pencil in activities for each day, including those which will encourage children to exercise. Days out don’t need to be expensive trips to theme parks, a simple visit to a playground with friends can end up far more exciting to a child.

Plan your week’s meals around the activities you’ve scheduled. Take advantage of days at home and batch-cook meals such as curry or Bolognese – freezing excess will ensure a quick and nutritious meal on a day when you’ve been out of the house.

Drinks and snacks

Fizzy drinks are the biggest source of sugar in a teenager’s diet, with one can of cola containing up to eight teaspoons of sugar. Water is the best way to stay hydrated, for any age. Freezing tap water in plastic bottles gives a longer lasting cold drink for when you’re out all day.

Make healthier alternatives to ice cream by mixing and freezing low-fat yoghurt and strawberries, or use diluted fruit juice to make low-sugar ice lollies. Keeping a well-stocked fruit bowl will encourage children to independently choose a healthy snack.

Eating out

Trips to restaurants often increase in the holidays, but choosing a side salad will contribute to your five-a-day, while suggesting children share a meal such as pizza can cut down on fat-intake and costs.

Holiday camps

Holiday clubs are a lifeline if you’re stuck for childcare. They’re also a good way for children to stay active and a nutritious packed lunch, with a mix of fruit and vegetables, is often a condition of the organiser. Some clubs can be costly, but contact your local authority to see if they offer free schemes as part of a government initiative. 

It is very important to understand your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Our simple online health check takes just a few minutes. The Healthier You programme is free to join and you can sign up without visiting your GP. The sessions are now available with a British Sign Language Interpreter if BSL is your first or preferred language.

Use our online checker to find out if you’re at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

It might be the most important thing you do today.

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I’m Helen, an educator on the National Diabetes Prevention Programme. I have been supporting people who are at risk to of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D) for the past four years.