A Keiki Snack Mom Will Love

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - September 08, 2010
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In a time when the arts in general are struggling, Hawaii Youth Symphony is beginning its 46th season.

As executive director, Selena Ching is the first to admit it takes the dedication of HYS’s extended ohana, students, parents, educators, administrators, a venerable and dynamic maestro, as well as help from caring individuals and businesses to keep community music education alive.

Serving as administrative lead and “conductor” behind the scenes since 2004, Ching brings together the working elements of a busy nonprofit and started work on her own type of composition: orchestrating new partnerships to ensure more kids have the opportunity to learn and to develop their talents under the banner of “PlayOut.”

With this initiative, HYS is in pursuit of partnerships that advance its work and result in cost savings.

“Music in the clubhouse” is one inspiring partnership between HYS and the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii that provides free general music classes for kids ages 5-10. During the academic year, HYS operates three full-symphonic orchestras and four string orchestras, instructing students from absolute beginners to the most accomplished young musicians - several of whom have earned scholarships to learn from and play with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.

As a busy nonprofit executive working with kids and families of all ages, and as a mother whose son Cary was diagnosed with youth diabetes at 18 months, Ching knows the value of advocating and practicing healthy eating for kids.

I would like to dedicate today’s column to this inspiring woman!

Try this snack as an alternative to high fat and calorie choices, courtesy of Ching. For more protein, add chicken or ham.

Tomatoes are low in sodium and have no cholesterol. They are a good source of vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamins A, C and K, potassium and manganese. Studies have shown that eating tomatoes and tomato products lowers the risk of cancer. This may be due to a chemical called lycopene, whose effect is increased by cooking tomatoes.


* 1/2 whole wheat English muffin
* 2 tablespoons no-sodium-added tomato sauce
* 2 tablespoons part-skim mozzarella cheese
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
* 2 teaspoons diced tomato

Preheat broiler. Place English muffin on a small baking sheet. Spread tomato sauce over top of muffin. Top with cheese. Sprinkle fresh basil and tomato on top. Broil until cheese is brown and sauce is bubbly.

Serve immediately. Makes one serving.

Serving size: 1/2 muffin (1 snack size pizza)

Nutritional analysis (per serving):

154 calories
6 grams fat
16 milligrams cholesterol
239 milligrams sodium
Diabetic exchanges: 1 carbohydrate exchange

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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