We have more of your family meal related questions answered here!

Q. My family has a history of diabetes, how do I help to protect my kids?

A. The best way to help your family reduce the risk of diabetes is to have a healthy and active lifestyle. This includes having and maintaining a healthy body weight, participating in physical activity, and making nutritious food choices. Make physical activity part of the family routine. Add walking, biking or playing active games whenever possible. Focus on family meals being nutritious and well rounded. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains and lean proteins. A good rule of thumb is to make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Limit the amount of desserts, treats and sugary drinks your children consume to special occasions. Emphasizing having a healthy lifestyle will decrease risk for chronic disease.

Q. My spouse need to restrict sodium, what foods should we watch out for?

A. When it comes to limiting food high in sodium you want to watch out for processed foods. Other foods include canned vegetables and sauces, salad dressings, chips and snacks, and added table salt. Here are a list of tips to help decrease sodium in your diet.

  • Think fresh

Eat highly processed foods less often and in smaller portions—especially cheesy foods, such as pizza; cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and deli/luncheon meats; and ready-to-eat foods, like canned chili, ravioli, and soups.

  • Enjoy home-prepared foods

Preparing your own foods allows you to limit the amount of salt in them.

  • Fill up on veggies and fruits

Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits — fresh or frozen. Eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal.

  • Choose dairy and protein foods that are lower in sodium

Choose more fat-free or low-fat milk and yogurt in place of cheese, which is higher in sodium. Choose fresh beef, pork, poultry, and seafood, rather than those with salt added.

  • Adjust your taste buds

Cut back on salt little by little — and pay attention to the natural tastes of various foods. Your taste for salt will lessen over time.

  • Skip the salt

Skip adding salt when cooking. Keep salt off the kitchen counter and the dinner table. Use spices, herbs, garlic, vinegar, or lemon juice to season foods or use no-salt seasoning mixes. Try black or red pepper, basil, curry, ginger, or rosemary.

  • Read the label

Read the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredients statement to find packaged and canned foods lower in sodium. Look for foods labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.” Sodium content should be <2300 mg per day, <900 mg per meal, and <480 mg per dish.

  • Pay attention to condiments

Foods like soy sauce, ketchup, pickles, olives, salad dressings, and seasoning packets are high in sodium.

  • Eating out

When eating out, ask for low sodium options or nutrition facts about the menu. Many restaurants have their nutrition facts posted on a website which you can view before you go to dinner.

– See more at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-salt-and-sodium#sthash.BMOHufPs.dpuf