If you pack fresh fruit in your kids' lunches every day, you're already scoring an A+ in family nutrition! But a new study published in the medical journal BMJ shows that not all fruits are created equal, at least when it comes to reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. It also confirms what other studies have indicated: that drinking fruit juice (rather than eating whole fruits) actually increases the risk for diabetes.
(The long-term study followed U.S. adults, so I'm assuming the results would be similar for kids -- and this is a good reminder for you to eat your fruits and veggies, too, Mom!)
So, which fruit is tops in terms of slashing diabetes risk? Bring on the ... BLUEBERRIES! Eating one to three servings of this known "super fruit" per month decreased the study participant's risk for type 2 diabetes by about 11 percent, and having five servings of blueberries a week reduced it by 26 percent. Five servings a week, eh? That sounds like the perfect snack to pack in a school lunch!
Grapes, raisins, apples, bananas, and grapefruit were also "significantly associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes." Meanwhile, strawberries, oranges, peaches, plums, and apricots had no significant effect on diabetes risk, which isn't to say they don't have other health benefits. Consuming cantaloupe, however, is associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
Replacing fruit juice in your diet with almost any kind of whole fruit (except for cantaloupe and strawberries) is associated with a lower diabetes risk, the study found.
Doctors emphasize that fruit consumption is just one part of a healthy lifestyle that can reduce the risk for diabetes. Your overall diet and physical activity level are also crucial.
Looking for more healthy kid-friendly meals, school lunches, and snacks? Check out these: