Taking A Healthy Look At Snacking

Most homes still have mounds of fun-size candy hanging around after Halloween – unless perhaps you overdid it on the leftover treats or while “inspecting” your child’s loot.

Newsrooms are notorious for having sweets and tempting snacks for employees to enjoy not only on Halloween, but year-round. It’s an occupational hazard because I have a serious sweet tooth. Naturally, so do my kids.


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Little Hana with her Halloween loot

But, this year, I denied myself the Twix and Snickers that had become a regular ritual. Other than the occasional dark chocolate, I’m breaking my addiction. Like many others today, I’m at risk of developing diabetes, and no candy bar is worth that to me.

My mom has diabetes. I had gestational diabetes for both of my pregnancies. Since it’s in my family, I may pass on that risk to my children, so I’m torn between letting them indulge and preventing them from developing a lifelong health condition.

When I look back at what I ate growing up, it’s amazing I don’t weigh 200 pounds. We’re talking Krispy Kreme donuts, Twinkies, Gummy Bears, fruit roll-ups, Ho Hos, Little Debbie’s cookies – daily.

While pregnant, I ate a healthy low-carb, low-sugar diet for my kids’ sakes, with guidance from the wonderful counselors at Kapiolani Medical Center’s Sweeter Choice program. But as soon as both babies were born, I couldn’t wait for a real Coke and other sweet treats.

Now, my children are motivating me again to eat better, for their sakes and mine. However, I don’t love playing “candy cop,” so I am working on the right balance. As most health news reports say, moderation is key.

Some of my favorite healthy options for my son and daughter include organic apples, pre-sliced and bagged for convenience, and Annie’s Organic Cheddar Bunnies – no sugar and gluten-free. I also love apple squeezers and gummy vitamins as a substitute for Gummy Bears.

I looked up popular healthy snack alternatives online and these choices top the list: chocolate-drizzled frozen bananas, Rice Krispies treats made with brown rice puffs and sweetened with brown rice syrup, and popcorn, Jell-O, chocolate-dipped fruit skewers, and carrot or pumpkin cupcakes – still yummy, but a sneaky snack substitute.

What’s your secret? Feel free to share what works for you, and I will spread the best recommendations. Food for thought!

One final request for the MidWeek ohana. Hawaii News Now is holding a friendly competition this month. The news reporter who gets the most Facebook “likes” will get a day off. If you wouldn’t mind helping my cause, you’ll find my fan page under Tannya Boyd Joaquin. I’m not above pandering for “likes” to win a day off with family!