Live Healthy, Be Happy

Over the past five years, the number of Massachusetts public school students who are overweight or obese has dropped significantly, according to recent data released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

From 2009 to 2013, the population of overweight or obese students has dropped by 3.7 points, down to 30.6 percent said the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Although this data hints at the decline of the childhood obesity epidemic, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts states that nearly 1 in 3 children nationwide are overweight or obese.
How can you keep your child both happy and healthy? Mass in Motion (MIM), a Massachusetts statewide movement that promotes healthy eating and active living for adults and children, suggests five steps to put you and your kids on a path to a healthier living style.

The following information was gathered from the Mass in Motion (MIM) website:

  1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Instead of eating sugary, salty, fried foods and fast foods, try to include healthier options. Work fruits and vegetables into every meal, including snacks.
  2. Drink more water and less sugary drinks. Too many sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks, and fruit drinks, can put your child at risk for unhealthy weight gain and type II diabetes. Water quenches a thirst and can be mixed with a bit of 100% juice.
  3. Be more physically active. Children need 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Doing this can lead to your child to do better in school, get a better night’s sleep, and grow strong muscles and bones.
  4. Watch less screen time. An average child, age 8 to 18 spends, 7.5 hours of their day in front of a screen. Limit your child’s time watching TV and playing with computers, smartphones and video games to only two hours a day.
  5. Get more and better quality sleep. Children ages 2 to 5 should be getting at least 11 hours of sleep a night and children ages 6 to 12 should be getting at least 10 hours of sleep.

It may be Halloween, but that doesn’t mean you and your kids have to eat unnecessary sweets from trick or treating. Try indulging in a healthier treat this autumn with this delicious Crunchy Pumpkin Pie recipe:

Crunchy Pumpkin Pie:

  • Makes one 9” pie, and 8 servings
  • Preheat oven to 425°, bake for 10 minutes, turn down heat to 350° and bake for 45 minutes more.

Crust— Filling

  • 1 cup quick cooking oats ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup ground almonds ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp salt 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp water 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup evaporated skim milk

Preparation—

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. For the crust, mix oats, flour, almonds, brown sugar, and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Blend oil and water into a measuring cup and whisk with a fork until combined.
  4. Add oil mixture to dry ingredients and mix well. If needed, add a small amount of water to hold mixture together.
  5. Press into a 9” pie pan, and bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. Next to prepare the filling, mix brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl.
  7. Add egg and vanilla and blend. Then add pumpkin and milk and stir to combine.
  8. Pour filling into the crust, turn oven down to 350° and bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Nutrient Analysis— per serving

  • 190 Calories
  • 6 g. Protein
  • 1 g. Saturated fat
  • 8 g.Total fat
  • 235 mg. Sodium
  • 3.5 g. Dietary fiber
  • 25 g. Carbs

For more information on healthy living and eating visit, http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/community-health/mass-in-motion/.

*This article is written for informational purposes only and should not be construed as providing legal advice.