There are three ways to use the new PKR:

  1. Browse and click on color-coded boxes that appear as if by magic as you scroll down.
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  3. Go to the Site Map (link) for an:
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Or mix and match! Have fun as you get the information you need!

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Carbs and Caffeine

Most soft drinks have an overload of two ingredients that your child does NOT need: carbohydrates and caffeine.

The carbs, whether high-fructose corn syrup or sugar especially ingested in large quantities by thirsty kids, are a leading culprit in the epidemic of overweight and obese children.

Caffeine is a powerful drug. Children do not need a stimulant although I understand that the exhausted parent of an active toddler might need one.

Parents, you would not feed your children poison because a poison is a substance that causes harm. Soft drinks are potentially so harmful to children that you should ban them from your home and shopping list. Nobody needs this particular “nutrient.”

Substitutes for thirsty children: water, diluted fruit juice mixed with water or club soda, plain club soda. Substitutes for hungry children: healthy snacks like fruit, veggies, small cheese cubes and crackers.

Be a good no-caffeine-low-sugar role model. Need your coffee? I know I did when I was both a busy parent and a pediatrician. Merely say, “This is a drink for grown-ups.” I used this method and it worked. One of my children never developed a taste for coffee, the other became a coffee drinker like her mom.

This system of no soft drinks in the house works pretty well but beware of the “danger zones” outside of the house. A vast marketing and promotion industry makes sure there are soft drinks just about everywhere. Restaurants can be a problem when your bright-eyed child sees other children drinking cola. Stand your ground. Good parents do not feed their kids poison. Simply say, “We don’t drink those kind of drinks.”

What happens when your child is at other people’s houses? Hopefully, your child will politely say, “I would like water please.” But if not, a drink or two is a low dose of this poison.

When children have money in their pocket and are out in the world let’s hope they continue to make wise choices. Many schools have removed soft drink dispensers. There is a movement to tax soft drinks which could be helpful to the health of the nation.

My philosophy is that parents should say and do the right thing on behalf of their child’s health. But don’t become a fanatic. A soft drink once in a while can be viewed as a special treat.

Parents must start out with absolutes so young children learn what is best for them. But it’s OK to morph into a parent who says OK once in a while.

Children must learn to deal with ubiquitous things like cola or TV. When you are not around it becomes a matter of choice. One way to teach children to make good choices is to practice. So we say, “No cola at home but you can have one once in a while.” And we permit that once-in-a-while choice at a restaurant or ball game.

Parents worry that this ambiguity is confusing. Actually I think replacing the previous absolutes helps your child realize the world is a complex place and we all have to learn to make wise choices.