Honolulu Weekly Obesity Articles

Written by Kahoomiki on January 24th, 2013

Check out some wonderful articles this week in Honolulu Weekly profiling the need for obesity prevention in the islands. Also find out what is being done to combat this epidemic:

Fat Intervention

Defeating Obesity

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Incorporating Fiber Can Be Easy

Written by Kahoomiki on November 29th, 2009

By Lianne Metcalf

Consumption of fiber in the United States has been shown to be only about half of what is recommended by health professionals. The current recommendation for the intake of dietary fiber in adults is about 20-35 g/day. Fiber has been shown to have beneficial effects in reducing the risks for coronary heart disease, lowering serum cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure, and improving gastrointestinal function (Anderson, Smith, and Gustafson, 1994). In the elderly population, it is especially important to note the disorders that are more common to their age group. Elderly persons may suffer from diverticulosis, constipation, hemorrhoids, adult onset diabetes, varicose veins, and gall stones (Hermann, Hansen and Kopel, 1992). Thus, fiber has become increasingly important as part of a daily diet in persons of all ages.

Fiber comes from parts in plant foods that cannot be digested. It can be categorized into two parts; insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is comprised of cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignins from the structural part of the plant cell wall. They help to decrease intestinal transit time which helps reduce the risk of constipation, colon cancer and diverticulosis. These fibers can be found in wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains. Soluble fibers are comprised of pectins, gums, mucilages, and hemicelluloses. They are viscous upon digestion and may possibly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and the risk of diabetes. These fibers can be found in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruit and vegetables (Byrd-Bredbenner, Moe, Beshgetoor and Berning, 2009).

Typically, foods that are high in fiber are low in fat and therefore, are not a popular food of choice. But luckily, there are a number of great recipes out there that are high in fiber and taste great. Here is a recipe for raspberry corn muffins that is nutritious, that you can eat for breakfast, on the go, or take as a snack.

Raspberry Corn Muffins

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup corn meal
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup sugar


1. Blend the eggs, vanilla, milk, sugar and applesauce in a medium bowl.
2. Mix the flours and salt in a large bowl. Remove about 1 tablespoon of the flour mix and use it to flour the raspberries.
3. Make a well in the flour and pour in the egg mixture.
4. Mix until just moistened.
5. Fill each muffin cup about 1/3 full and add raspberries to each. Fill another 1/3.
6. Bake at 400 °F (200 °C) for about 17 – 18 minutes.



1. Anderson J, Smith B, Gustafson N. 1994. Health benefits and practical aspects of high-fiber diets. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 59: 1242-1247.
2. Hermann J, Hansen C, Kopel B. 1992. Fiber Intake of Older Adults: Relationship to Mineral Intakes. Journal of Nutrition for the Elderly. 11: 21-33.
3. Byrd-Bredbenner C, Moe G, Beshgetoor D, Berning J. 2009. Wardlaw’s Perspectives in Nutrition. New York. McGraw-Hill. 159 p.
4. Recipe: http://www.fatsecret.com/recipes/raspberry-corn-muffins/Default.aspx


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Easy and Delicious Whole Wheat Pasta

Written by Kahoomiki on October 8th, 2009

By Margaret Wilson

Pasta is an easy to make and cost-effective comfort food that appeals to ‘kids’ of all ages. Unfortunately many rich pasta dishes tend to be high in calories in calories and fat. Recently, the Honolulu Advertiser highlighted Chef Rocco DiSpirito’s upcoming recipe book which will include healthier versions of people’s favorite recipes. One of these recipes uses Greek Yogurt and whole wheat pasta to make a “Penne a la Vodka” which cuts down on the fat and calories and boosts the fiber. The recipe, adapted from DiSpirito’s, is made simple by using bottled marinara sauce but you can boost the vegetable content even more by adding a diced tomato and sliced onions!

Penne “a la Vodka”


  • 1 Onion, cut into thin slices
  • 2 Large Tomatoes, Diced
  • 12 ounces whole-wheat penne
  • 2 1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 7.1-ounce container 2 per cent fat Greek-style yogurt (I used fat free and it worked well)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil (Dried works well too, just reduce to 1 – 2 Tablespoons)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


Cook pasta according to package directions, about 8 – 10 minutes.

In a large saucepan over medium heat add olive oil and onions. Cook until onions become tender stirring frequently. Add marinara sauce, red pepper flakes and diced tomatoes. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, the sauce should thicken slightly.

Add half of the greek yogurt to the marinara mixture, stirring constantly until well mixed. Add the rest of the yogurt. Continue to stir until well mixed.

Drain pasta and add to saucepan, mix until pasta is well coated. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Add basil and top with parmesan cheese.

Bon Appetite!

Associated Press. (2009). Traditional penne dish loses fat, vodka. Retrieved September 18, 2009, from Honolulu Advertiser Web site: http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com

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Eating Fresh All Year Round!

Written by Kahoomiki on October 8th, 2009

By Margaret Wilson

In Hawaii we are incredibly lucky to have fresh, local,delicious, and unique fruits and vegetables available to us all year round! But even in Hawaii different fruits and vegetables have different growing seasons. Buying produce that’s “in season” can save money because it’s more available, plus they taste great.

So how can you find out what’s in season? HMSA has produced a calendar that makes it easy to find out what local fruits and vegetables are in season. Click HERE to see Calendar. You can also find farmer’s markets where you can buy directly from the grower, which is usually less expensive than purchasing from the grocery store. HAWAII FARMERS MARKETS

Mango Papaya Anytime Smoothie

Tools: Blender


  • ½ Cup Papaya, Diced
  • ½ Cup Mango, Diced
  • 5 Ice cubes (from Ice Cube Tray)
  • ½ Cup Low Fat Milk or Soy Milk
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Tbsp smooth peanut butter (optional)

**Try adding a handful of spinach. You can’t taste it (really!), but it adds dark leafy greens to your smoothie!


Put all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth, adding water if too thick (I like mine thick). Serve in 2 tall glasses. Yum!

In October, when many parts of the mainland will be frosting over, we’ll still be enjoying fresh produce, especially fruit. Bananas, limes, mangos, oranges, papayas, persimmons, and rambutan are all in peak season this month! I love smoothies for breakfast in the morning, they’re fast, easy, portable and you can get a couple of servings of fruits and vegetables without even thinking about it. Plus it’s cheaper than running through the drive-through. You can also add fresh sliced bananas and mangos to breakfast cereal or yogurt, and half of a papaya with a fresh lemon wedge makes a tasty snack.

Kids might find Rambutan fun to eat with its spiny shell that they can peel off. Just be sure to not feed to kids who are too young (there is a pit!) and wash the fruit before eating.
Here’s one of my favorite smoothie recipes! Serves 2.

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Oatmeal: the perfect base to create variety, moderation, and taste

Written by Kahoomiki on August 30th, 2009

By Jonathan Valdez

Oatmeal is a perfect meal at any time and occasion: morning, lunch, dinner, or snack. It can be a base for a plethora of other ingredients such as oils, fruits, and dairy. Here is an example of a recipe that you could work with:

* 1/4 cup quick cooking oats

* 1/2 cup skim milk

* 1 teaspoon flax seeds

* 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

* 3 tablespoons honey

* 1 banana, peeled


Combine the oats, milk, flax seeds, walnuts, honey, and banana in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook in microwave on High for 2 minutes. Mash the banana with a fork and stir into the mixture. Serve hot.

With these ingredients you may consume the following: calcium, fiber, carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acid, omega-6 fatty acid, and potassium.

By adding other fruits, oils, and nuts such as strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, almonds, peanuts, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, etc. you can add a variety of minerals and vitamins, moderation, and health to your diet.

Substitute skim milk with soymilk if you are lactose intolerant, or allergic to animal protein. Soymilk may also be more nutrient dense due to fortification.

Please be warned that all products differ in the amount of nutrients that are available. Reading food labels is crucial in order to see what you are consuming and how much you are consuming. Other then that please enjoy this easy to make and bake item.

USDA National Nutrient Database


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Whatcha Eatin’?

Written by Kahoomiki on August 9th, 2009

by Elizabeth Saunders, FSHN student at UH Manoa
In an effort to keep better track of our energy and nutrient intake, many of us are making a special point to read food labels and take note of what we are choosing to put into our bodies. In addition to looking at labels, some people even keep food diaries for days or weeks at a time to get an “over-all” viewpoint of their diets.

What happens when the food you’re eating doesn’t have a label? Maybe you’re making an apple crisp from scratch and don’t know how many calories are in the five apples you used; or how much protein is in the spam musubi you bought at the 7-11 around the corner from your house. Never fear, the internet has yet another tool to satisfy your hunger for information. Several websites offer nutrition information on foods that do and don’t have labels.

The USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory which can be accessed at http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/ is one online option you have. Simply enter the food you are seeking information on in the “Keyword(s)” box and then use the dropdown box in “Select Food Group” to choose the option that best suits the type of food you are looking for. For instance, if you wanted to know the nutrition information for the apples in that apple crisp recipe, you would enter “apples” into the keyword box, and then choose “Fruits and Fruit Juices” from the dropdown box.

Now, if you were looking for the information on that spam musubi, you’re not going to find it at the USDA website. You will, however, find that information is at the Hawai`i Foods website accessed at http://hawaiifoods.hawaii.edu/index.asp. Hawai`i Foods is a great source of nutrition information for “local fare” that may difficult to find elsewhere. You can even find local style recipes with the nutrition information already figured out for you.

Take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the foods that you eat. The information you seek is at your fingertips!

Image courtesy of www.ukumillion.com

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Thank you to the Nutrition Students

Written by Kahoomiki on July 17th, 2009

Kaho’omiki and Fun 5 would like to thank the Nutrition Students from the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human.Resources (CTAHR) of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The students have worked diligently to research, prepare, and implement a nutrition program that is efficacious and beneficial to the kids and parents of the Fun 5 family.

The Nutrition Students participated in the Fun 5 Mini-Trainings in the spring of 2009, gave an inspiring Power Point Presentation to HMSA, and authored the Healthy Recipe Articles displayed in the Monthly Fun 5 Newsletter. Kaho’omiki is proud to partner with the students from The Food Science Health and Nutrition (FSHN) group and we are looking forward to a bright future building a nutrition component for the kids and parents of the Hawaiian Community.


From the staff at Kaho’omiki and Fun 5, we appreciate your service to making our community better.

Steven Lorick
Executive Director


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Fabulous Fruits

Written by Kahoomiki on July 6th, 2009

Fruits provide vital nutrients like dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium and folate that are important for your health. I love to eat fruits, but after a while I tend to get bored of eating them the same plain old way all the time. If you’re like me, you need new fun and easy ways to consume your recommended 2 cups of fruit daily. Two ways to do this are by making fruit kabobs with a yogurt dip or by making a fruit sorbet.

Fruit Kabobs with Yogurt Dip

-Fruits of your choice (such as berries, apples, kiwi, pineapple, oranges, banana)
-1 6- or 8-ounce container of fruit yogurt
-1 to 2 tablespoons of lowfat whipped topping

-Wash hands thoroughly
-Wash fruits with cold running water
-Peel and/or cut fruits into wedges or small chunks
-Thread fruits on skewers and arrange on a platter
-Mix together the fruit yogurt and the whipped topping and pour into a small bowl

To serve as an appetizer for a party/gathering, thread fruits on toothpicks. To keep fruits that turn dark looking fresh, quickly dip them into something acidic like pineapple juice after cutting.


Refreshing Fruit Sorbet

-1 cup of your favorite (or any) frozen fruit
-2 to 3 tablespoons water (or fruit juice, or a liqueur)

-Add ingredients to a blender and blend
-Add more frozen fruit or water to reach your ideal consistency
-Blend until smooth

For a more fancy looking dessert or for parties, use a variety of frozen fruits and pour into cocktail glasses. This will add more flavors and a beautiful contrasting display of colors in the same glass.

Also check out http://www.mypyramid.gov/pyramid/fruits_why.html for more helpful information regarding the health benefits of fruits.


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Written by Kahoomiki on July 6th, 2009

By Amy Webb

Calcium is essential for the development of bone and teeth. Recommended Adequate Intake levels for calcium are set by age: 1 to 3 year olds need 500 mg/day; 4 to 8 year olds need 800 mg/day; 9 to 13 year olds need 1300 mg/day; 14 to 18 year olds need 1300 mg/day; 19 to 50 year olds need 1000 mg/day. The current food guide pyramid recommends every one over the age of 2 consume 2-3 servings of dairy products daily. It is easy to consume a serving of dairy with every meal. Here are a few suggestions:

Breakfast: Pour 1 cup of low-fat milk over cereal; cook oatmeal or cream of wheat with milk instead of water; have 8 oz. of yogurt; have 1 cup calcium fortified orange juice.

Lunch: Make a fruit smoothie with 1 cup of milk; eat a grilled cheese sandwich with 2 oz. of American cheese; put 1.5 oz cheese in a green salad.

Dinner: Enjoy 1 cup of milk; top baked potatoes with cheese; have ice cream for dessert.
Kale, broccoli, and spinach are also good sources of calcium.

For more information check out: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/Fpyr/pyramid.html

Image Source: http://images.teamsugar.com/files/users/1/12981/12_2007/calcium_foods.jpg


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Sports Nutrition- The Basics of What to Eat to Improve Performance and Optimize Recovery

Written by Kahoomiki on April 29th, 2009

By Neeva Lemmel-Duerr

Deciding what to eat and how much when you exercise is complicated. Nutrient needs vary from person to person, and have to do with size, metabolic rate, health concerns and other individual factors. However, there are some basic guidelines which can be applied across the board in order to optimize the health benefits of any sports activity.

Daily caloric intake depends on your caloric expenditure, which has to do with the type of exercise you do and the length of each session. In addition, deciding how many calories to consume daily depends on your goal and differs for someone trying to lose weight, gain weight, train for a sports event and so on. It is recommended that you eat a well balanced diet rich in all major nutrients and all the required vitamins regardless of your goal. As a general rule, it is not wise to deprive your body of carbohydrates, for example, or survive on very restricted calories. This is especially true when you add exercise to your routine, as your body will be depleting stored glycogen, fat and other nutrients which should be replenished through food consumption.

Eating a “clean” diet, low in processed foods and high in fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, grains and protein is the key. A good idea is to eat frequently- between 4 and 6 mini-meals a day, each consisting of complex carbohydrates and an equal portion of fats and proteins. Eating frequently will help you avoid feeling hungry and should rev up your metabolism. In order to build a daily menu, you should divide the number of calories you need to consume per day into the number of desired meals.

Before engaging in your sports activity, you should drink water. It is recommended that you drink a glass of water an hour before the activity, drink during the activity and then again at the end of your session. If you engage in an endurance event, like a marathon or a triathlon, you should probably consume an electrolyte containing sports beverage. Increasing your carbohydrate intake in the last meal before the event would allow your body to store extra glycogen, but this is not a necessary practice if you only engage in a short duration exercise session.

During your exercise session, it is important to keep hydrating your body. once again, a sports drink or nutrition bar are only necessary if you engage in extremely high intensity or long duration event. Otherwise, drinking water every 15 minutes will suffice.

At the end of your exercise session you should opt for drinking water and consuming a meal rich in carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates are required to replenish the glycogen stores from your muscles and liver that were used up. Protein is needed to repair muscle tissue that is damaged during exercise. Try to consume a meal consisting of three to four times the amount of carbohydrates to protein about one to two hours after your activity. Water should be replenished sooner- right after the end of your session.

Finally, you should always listen to your body while engaging in different sports activities. If you feel thirst or hunger, it is likely that you need to hydrate or eat. You should consult your physician if you suffer from a disease or disorder that may require special nutritional guidelines. Do not over exert yourself- remember that fitness is not achieved through periodical bouts of extreme activity, but rather built gradually.

If you use the above guidelines to enhance your individual exercise and nutrition routine, you will surely see an improvement in both your performance during exercise sessions and your recovery at their end.

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