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Healthy Eating for Keiki

Community Contributed

By Jon Mikami, RPh, and Kelly Go, RPh, Molokai Drugs, Inc.

Every week, you see another headline in the local and national news about the obesity epidemic in our keiki. One of the latest studies shows that obese children face not only long-term risks, but also more immediate ones. They’re more likely to have problems such as asthma, learning disabilities and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD).

Yet keiki — and adults – are surrounded by advertising messages telling them to eat sugary, high-fat, often empty-calorie foods. It can feel like a chore to get kids to make healthier choices. As their `ohana, you can have a huge impact on your keiki.

Here are a few important reminders:

1. Control the flow. What are you bringing into the house (and what kinds of habits are you modeling)? Remember, you have some control over this until your kid is old enough to shop on his or her own. For now, you have the power to say no. If you keep the junk out of your house, it can’t go in.

2. Look at labels. Of course, stocking up on healthy foods means you also need to check labels. You might be surprised at what you find. That tub of nonfat flavored yogurt you think is so healthy might be full of sugar.

3. Go for staying power. Go for whole-grain breads, tortillas, crackers, or cereals. Mix peanut butter and celery, apples or bananas. Try something new once in a while to broaden your kids’ tastes. Maybe crackers and cheese will be a hit. Or, sweet green peppers or carrot sticks dipped in hummus. You will never know unless you give it a try.

4. Make it easy. Keep a bowl of fruit on the counter or string cheese or small bags of low-sugar, whole-grain cereal within reach. Just don’t make eating too easy. In other words, restrict it to the kitchen or dining area. That can go a long way toward limiting mindless snacking in front of the TV or computer screen.

5. Watch the sugar. Maybe even your sweet tooth gets its way more often than not. But sugar may do more than add extra pounds or cause tooth decay. New evidence links large amounts of sugar—separate from other factors—to the diabetes epidemic.

If you do nothing else, say no to the sweetened drinks. That includes sodas and fruit juice, energy and sports drinks. Children who drink them not only consume more calories, they are also more likely to eat unhealthy foods. Keep milk and water on hand, instead of fruit juice and sweetened drinks or flavored milk or drinkable yogurt.

Along with these five healthy habits, don’t forget an insurance policy for your kids’ health and wellness: vitamins. When you come into Molokai Drugs, both of us can advise you about the vitamins available through your insurance company or over-the-counter selections.

As always, please call us at 553-5790 at Molokai Drugs with any questions. Mahalo in advance for your support.

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