baby

Back To School Lunch Ideas

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Even though it is the end of summer break, beach days are few and far between and we are getting the kids ready to go back to school, I must say, it is nice to be getting back into a routine again!

When it comes to packing kids lunches it can be difficult to get creative and find healthy options, it is very easy to head for the “snack” isle of the grocery store and fill their lunch bags with these items. While you might have a something relatively healthy packed for their main meal, chances are they are going to gravitate to the “less healthy” items first if they are there as an option. In my experience, kids do not get much time for lunch and they want to have whatever is quick and easy so they can eat and then get on the go for the remainder of the break to play!

So here are a few easy and healthy options for school lunches for kids:

  1. Roast chicken and veggies (my favourite option!) I like to get a fresh organic chicken and do my own version a grocery store roast chicken. You can put the chicken in a slow cooker (4 hours high - 8 hours low) season with sea salt, pepper, turmeric and smoked paprika, extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil. Once the chicken is done, remove from the slow cooker and pull meat away from the bones and store in the fridge for quick lunches for the week. This is great served with veggies - cut up cucumber, carrots, peppers, etc.

  2. Low sugar granola (check out this recipe recently shared on the blog) and full fat yogurt. You can also add some fresh berries on top or on the side!

  3. Homemade soup (or chilli) Investing in a good thermos is a really good idea. Schools that have microwaves usually limit the heat up time and the line up can be long, this can deter your child from wanting to heat up their lunch and could end up not even eating much at all. And let’s be honest here, kids just want to get outside and play at lunch time! I like sending soup during the winter months since because you can make big batches and load it up with lots of immune boosting/protective ingredients. (Hot tip: save the bones and drippings from your roast chicken and throw in some celery, onion, garlic, apple cider vinegar and some herbs and keep the slow cooker going to make your own broth, freeze and store for soups later!)

  4. Veggies and dip This could be a lunch on its own, but also works well as a snack option. Pairing with sunflower seed butter (nut free!) or hummus adds some extra protein. I would try to avoid using any kind of dressing (unless homemade and sugar free) as most store bought versions contain sugar, not something you want to add too much (or any at all) of to your child’s lunch.

  5. If there is one piece of advice I can give you, it is totally worth it to invest in a metal bento box style lunchbox! You can fill up those little spots with so many different healthy foods! Variety is key with kids, and with so many options you are not limiting them to just one boring old sandwich day after day. Another reason I like these is because you can sneak in something new and encourage your child to try it, even if it is just one bite and if they don’t like it, they have other options as well! Fun fact: it takes 7 times of trying a new taste to get the palate used to the flavour! Something to keep in mind when introducing new items to kids!

A few other quick tips to keep in mind when packing school lunches….

  • Have fun with it and involve the kids in the process, take them grocery shopping with you and let them pick out their favourite produce and items from the health food section (avoid the inside isles of the grocery store!). Letting kids have a choice in what they have to eat will make them more likely to actually eat their lunch. If you are making big batches of soup or granola or even some homemade snacks, let them help in the kitchen so they can feel like they were part of the process too.

  • Keep in mind any restrictions in place for the school. As you know most (probably all) schools are nut free when it comes to food, but sometimes classmates can have certain allergies as well that could be harmful to them if they are in close proximity. (Usually the parents will be informed of anything serious, but just incase its better to be safe than your kid without a lunch!)

  • The less sugar the better! Most kids packed lunches contain two times more sugar than what is recommended, and to be quite honest the recommendation is on the high side. Making sure your kids lunch has very little to no refined sugar is key. Upping the protein, healthy fat and balancing whole grains and fruit and veggies is just as important for kids as it is for adults. You do not want your child to be crashing after lunch because of what they ate. This will also make them ravenous and go on a snack craze when they get home from school because they are just not satiated enough from their meals earlier in the day. Its also important to fuel the brain with these good foods to help with their concentration levels for later in the day (the first half of the day is covered with their healthy breakfast!)

  • A final tip is about hydration! Keep it simple with water! My kids like to use a steel water bottle because it keeps it cold all day long, and most teachers are ok with keeping it in the class or in their school bag if they want a quick drink, and its a much better option than the school fountains….

I hope these help with ideas for lunches for your kids this coming school year, if you have any healthy tips you like to do, let us know what they are!

Enjoy the long weekend!

Salmon Tales and Tubes

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If you follow us on social media, you may have seen our river tubing post. This was such a great experience I wanted to post some details and some suggestions for those who may be interested in booking one of the trips!

Salmon Tales and Tubes is a program run through Parks Canada - you can find the link here.

As opposed to the other tubing experience in Cape Breton, this tour allowed us to bring our two and four year old. They do provide all the necessary gear, however, we were advised to bring our own lifejackets as they don’t carry the itty bitty ones.

If you are bringing anyone under the age of 5, I would also advise you to bring your own helmet as again, the sizes were too big for those little heads (we put their hats underneath the hemet and it seemed to work). We were advised that the hemet is more for protection against stray golf balls, as part of the river passes nearby the golf course.

Also, we recommend wearing water shoes.

There is a short walk up the river (about 45-minutes) where our guide Kirsten would stop and talk about the Salmon breeding habits and some of the challenges they are facing (did you know that 2019 is the year of the Salmon?). Kirsten also spoke about some of the trees in the area (and the issues they are facing with invasive species) and some of the local animals.

Once we got to our destination and were geared up, we all jumped aboard our tubes and were on our way floating down the river. The kids had an absolute blast.

Due to low water levels, there were some parts of the tour that we had to get off the tube and portage. Since it was such a hot day, we certainly didn’t mind the chance to cool down. I will caution you, you will get wet.

We started the tour at 3pm and everything was wrapped up just before 5:30pm.

If you are looking for something a little different to do and you have little ones, I highly recommend this tour!

The tour runs every Saturday until August 31st, and reservations are highly recommended - you can book it by calling 902-285-2535.



Sweat 'N' Play

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Sweat ‘N’ Play

4-week session

9:15am Tuesdays

June 4,11,18,25 $40

or $15 per drop-in

Hey Mom,

We know that these days, “you time” is hard to come by and we know that you know that taking care of your physical health has maybe taken the back seat since becoming a mother. We’ve collaborated with The Play Palace for the ultimate in exercise classes. Come get your sweat on with Dr. Jen while your child gets to play! The exercise class will focus on strength, endurance and mobility and the play portion will focus on fun!

There will be Play Palace staff on hand to keep an eye on your kids while you are keeping an eye on your health! Registration includes a 1-hour class with Dr. Jen and entry for one child (extra children are $5 per class). Registration is $40 for 4-weeks or $15 per drop-in.

Mothers must be at least 6-weeks postpartum. Children aged 6-months or older will be supervised by The Play Palace staff . Young babies welcomed, but will not be supervised by Play Palace staff.

Space is very limited! Please call The Play Palace at 902-217-2688 to register!

Bring a yoga mat if you have one, moms are welcomed to wear their children during the class and then stay and play afterwards. Refreshments are available for purchase after class.

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New Year's Resolution Reset

Health Goals

Dr. Jen was featured on CBC’s Mainstreet with Wendy Bergfeldt a couple weeks ago and they spoke about keeping New Year’s Resolutions.

Where are you with your resolution? If it’s time for a tune up, have a listen to this segment.