Childhood Obesity: Fighting Back & Having Fun Doing It

A healthy lifestyle is one full of nutritious foods, movement (structured exercise and recreational activities), and positive life experiences from which we grow. We not only are committed, but also love to help people of all ages live their best, healthiest lives possible by providing convenient, guilt-free foods and wellness information.

As a way of highlighting one of the most critical health crises of today, September has been named National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. The CDC reports that childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years and that in 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

What Is Childhood Obesity?

Childhood obesity, as defined by the Mayo Clinic, “is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. It occurs when a child is well above the normal weight for his or her age and height.”

Childhood obesity can lead to many health complications and chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma and other respiratory problems, sleep disorders, and social and emotional problems such as behavior and learning problems, low self-esteem, and depression.

The most prevalent causes of childhood obesity are lifestyle factors, including:

  • Too little physical activity
  • Too many calories from high-fat, high-sugar foods
  • Too few calories from natural, nutrient-dense foods

Other non-lifestyle factors include:

  • Family history, including the role of genetics and hormones
  • Psychological factors – overeating to cope with stressful situations or emotions
  • Socio-economic factors – processed and fast-foods are often less expensive to buy than fresh produce and lean meats

The two most important strategies to reduce childhood obesity are to improve diet and exercise habits and to teach children how to maintain positive lifestyle changes throughout their lifetime. This will help them assert a certain level of control over their current and future health.

While increasing healthy eating and exercise habits among children in order to prevent and combat childhood obesity is not ground-breaking news, we hope that the following tips will provide you with some fresh strategies or a helpful reminder.

Healthy Eating

  • Encourage kids to learn about healthy eating as a way to empower them in making better food choices.
  • Have your kids pick some kid-friendly recipes they want to try and get them involved in the cooking process.
  • Trying new and exciting foods, like healthier substitutions for carb-heavy starchy foods like pasta and white rice, is a fun and creative way to make their favorite dishes lighter and better for them.
  • Reducing the amount of sweets your kids eat is always a good idea, but try to avoid restricting them from their diet altogether. Instead, try using applesauce, honey, and other natural sweeteners in place of refined sugars in recipes. A good rule of thumb is to reserve high-sugar treats for special occasions. They are, after all, supposed to be a treat, not an everyday indulgence.
  • Encourage kids to drink more water and less soda and other sweetened drinks like fruit juices. Fruit-infused water is a great way to make this transition easier. Adding fresh fruits, cucumbers, and mint will not only take their water from bland to bursting with flavor, but they’ll have fun creating different flavor combinations.


  • Limit screen time to less than 2 hours a day. The more time kids spend away from screens, the more time they’ll likely spend playing outside or doing something active.
  • Sports are great for a variety of reasons; playing sports provides kids with regular scheduled exercise and can also help improve social and emotional factors.
  • Try to squeeze in as much physical activity as possible and try to make it fun. For example, make a game out of doing daily or weekly chores by timing how long it takes them to finish. The faster and more vigorously daily household tasks are done, the harder we work and the more calories we burn. But make sure to remind them that the quality of the completed chore still counts! Reward a job well-done with a special outing or something that your child is passionate about.
  • Kids love technology and, more than ever, there are some great fitness apps/trackers available on the market. A fitness app can be a great motivational tool and the ability to share miles completed and calories burned with friends can encourage kids to work harder and push themselves.
  • Be a good role model. Remember kids will follow your example, but not always your advice. So show them what it looks like to eat healthy, exercise, and live a life in balance. It’s good for you and good for them. Win-win!

For more information and tips on how to combat and prevent childhood obesity, visit

Baked Skinny Mac & Cheese with Shirataki Noodles

Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer and depending on where you live you may be starting to feel the chillier temperatures already. While most of us are sad to say goodbye to long days filled with steamy temps and an abundance of sunshine, the upside is that we can start welcoming back some of our favorite cold weather dishes like soups, stews, and macaroni and cheese.

For this month’s featured recipe we chose our Baked Skinny Mac & Cheese because it satisfies a hankering for one of America’s favorite foods while still keeping it light enough for anyone who is counting their calories or watching their weight. Using shirataki noodles instead of traditional, carb-heavy pasta and low fat milk instead of whole fat milk or cream, our healthy macaroni and cheese recipe is just as tasty as any full-fat version but has only a fraction of the calories, fat, and carbohydrates.

Incredibly easy, our baked macaroni and cheese recipe takes just minutes to make and is perfect as an entrée or side dish!

Baked Skinny Mac & Cheese
  • 2 – 8 oz. packages Skinny Noodles Macaroni
  • 1 c low fat milk
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. breadcrumbs (optional)
  • Dash of paprika (optional)

Rinse Skinny Noodles Macaroni and drain well. Blot with paper towels. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat macaroni on high for 2 minutes. Drain additional liquid and set aside. In a medium sauce pan, heat milk and flour on low heat, stirring until mixture becomes thick. Add cheeses and continue to stir until melted and blended. Add salt and pepper to cheese mixture. Add macaroni to sauce pan and coat with cheese sauce. Transfer mixture to a casserole dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and a dash of paprika if desired. Bake in a pre-heated 400° oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve hot.
Makes 4 servings (or 8 side servings)

Per Serving (without optional ingredients): 218 calories, 12g fat, 15g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 12g protein, 40mg cholesterol
Weight Watcher Points+: 6

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