Wellness for the Family: Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, so this week we’re focusing on kids and food.

Michelle Dunaway and Grace Derocha, a registered dietitian with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, join us with some helpful tips to motivate your child to choose a healthy diet.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese


  • 1 medium butternut squash (3-4 cups uncooked cubed)
  • 2 cups shell pasta or pasta of choice
  • 7oz low-fat milk or milk substitute
  • 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthways. Scoop out the seeds and place the two halves of squash flesh side up on a baking tray. You can also use pre-cut cubed butternut squash. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the squash is soft and has fully cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
  4. Once the squash has cooked, spoon out the flesh straight into a blender or food processor. Add the milk, cheese and butter and process until all the ingredients have combined to a sauce consistency. If it seems too thick then add a little extra milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Drain the pasta and mix it with the butternut squash sauce. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Option: Add cheeseburger mixture to make it a Butternut Squash Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese.

Cheeseburger Optional Stir-In


  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef (95% lean)
  • ¾ cup onion, diced
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. dill pickles, finely chopped (optional)


  1. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat; add beef, onion and black pepper. Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until meat is crumbled and no longer pink, stirring occasionally; drain.
  2. Sprinkle flour over cooked beef; stir to combine. Add undrained tomatoes, ketchup, pickles and mustard to skillet; mix until blended.
  3. If desired, some of this can be added into the butternut mac and cheese in desired amount and ratio, according to preferences. It also can be served alone or on a bun. Enjoy!

For more health and wellness tips, click here.

Categories: Wellness for the Family