Category Archives: Kids

7 Tips and 2 Recipes for Back to School Lunches

Keep these 7 tips in mind to help you pack a school lunch with a healthy and creative punch.

1. FruitColour is the spice of life. Colour means nutrition, so keep your kid’s lunchbox colourful with all colours of the rainbow. Orange carrot slices, red tomatoes or pepper slices, green avocado on their sandwiches, blueberries on their yogurt or a skewer of pink strawberries. After all, we also eat with our eyes and kids are no exception! (no artificial colours please)!

2. Involve your Kids in the Preparation. Kids are more likely to eat their food if they were involved in the process. Let them help prepare the sandwiches or have them choose from two bowls of veggies and fruit options which ones they want to pack each day.

3. Don’t forget Your Veggies. Kids love eating hand held veggies, especially if there is a dip involved. Add some pureed sweet potato to a store-bought dip or stir in chopped herbs or even pureed fruit. Ants on a log with nut free sunflower seed butter or cream cheese with raisons, currants or cranberries are always a hit with kids.

4. Spice up your sandwiches. Try different breads, flatbreads, pitas, wraps, bagels or English muffins to keep it fresh, and mix and match the fillings with Veg n Dipdifferent cheeses, egg, leftover meat, veggies, chutneys, dried fruit and veggie fillings. Or why not keep the sandwich fillings separate and let them do the building at school?

5. Keep Cool. Skip the sugar laden fruit juice and pack a partially frozen water bottle inside their lunch box to keep their items cool until lunch. If they don’t love water add some berries or a touch of honey to their water to sweeten it. Use partially frozen bread for the sandwiches to keep their lunches cool and their sandwiches fresh and crunchy.

6. Leftovers are your friend. It’s a long year of making lunches and dinners every day so why not you make it easier on yourself and cook large portions for dinners to always have leftovers on hand? Homemade chicken or fish fingers make a great lunch with a honey mustard dipping sauce, or cut up meatballs to put in a salad; try a thermos of warm soup or chili or sliced cold leftover chicken or beef with cheese slices.

7. Packaging is everything. Kids love opening packages and small containers in their lunch boxes are no exception. Purchase some single serving containers for chopped tropical fruit, plain organic full fat yogurt sweetened with honey or blueberries, homemade dips, trail mix of pumpkin seeds, dried fruit and coconut, leftover meat, cheese slices or a healthy mini cookie or two.

Home-made Fruit Leathers

Skip the expensive store bought versions and make your own natural version your kids will gobble up!

5 large apples, peaches or pears
1.5 cups strawberries, blueberries, bananas and/or citrus fruit
1 cup water


  • Peel and core the apples, peaches or pears slicing thinly.
  • Chop bananas, berries or citrus.
  • Place all fruit in a pot with the water and place a lid on.
  • Cook until soft and then puree with a hand held blender.
  • Line a tray with baking paper and pour the fruit mix onto the baking tray.
  • Spread evenly and thinly.
  • Place in the oven and turn on, setting the temperature to 120°C.
  • Prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon.
  • This dehydrating process can take anywhere from 2 hours to 10 hours depending on the type of fruit and the level of moisture left in the mixture.
  • Have your kids help slice and cut using animal shaped cookie cutters.

Sweet Potato Cookies

Nutrient packed cookies with a natural sweetness you can feel good about giving to yourself and your kids.

½ cup rolled oats
½ cup flour of choice
½ cup ground sunflower seeds
2 tbsp. coconut oil or butter, melted
¼ cup apple butter
¾ cup cooked and mashed sweet potato
2 tbsp. cane sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon powder


  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl, shape cookies and lay them on a greased baking sheet or with parchment paper
  • Bake at 300°F for 20-30 min

Guest Post – 6 weeksPost Op

Six weeks! Six weeks! The magical day when I leap tallbuildings, run a marathon and swim across the lake!! Well, that is what Ithought prior to surgery. Today was still an excellent day. I just now knowthat this was MAJOR surgery and building back up to a strong, athleticindividual is going to take some time….despite what the surgeon says. He says Iam all set to ‘go back to doing what I usually do’. Hmmm, we’ll leave thesurgery to him and the physical recovery to my physiotherapist expert, Julia.So, no, I won’t start training for a summer Ironman.

I had my first post-op appointment with Julia today. It wasvery positive. I think I was a bit worried that she would look at me and gasp “Ack!What did he do?” Or that she would start feeling around my abdominal musclesand declare the surgery a failure. Of course, things are weak and mobility isnot the best, (I haven’t done anything much for 6 weeks!), but I was able todemonstrate some solid core breaths. My rib cage is strangely prominent and theskin around the incision is sticking in place and it felt weird when Juliarubbed my new navel….I can deal with those things. My take home exercises arenot going to have me sweating and gasping for breath but working on my posture,clam shells and core breaths are a first step.

I am anxious to start running and cycling outdoors, but whyspend thousands on surgery and then neglect the proper steps to recovery?!Julia did say as I walking out the door that I could ride on a stationary bike.Yipee! Something else to satisfy my cardio craving rather than just walking andwalking and walking some more. (Why is running so much more enjoyable?)

I saw the surgeon after my physiotherapy appointment tocheck in on the icky part of my incision. He said it is doing what he wouldexpect it to at this point and it should heal over within a week. Continue withthe washing, gauze and polysporin. My next appointment is in 6 months!

Guest Post – 5 weeks Post Op

I am standing straight and tall and walking 2 hours withease. I was feeling very positive … then I tried to pick up thepace across the street as the light was changing. Nope! Impossible! There is abig void in the middle of my body. Nothing. No muscles to support my body in arunning form. Building up strength for athletic pursuits is going to take sometime.

Guest Post – 4 weeks Post Op

Antibiotics! Infection! Definitely not what I wanted to hearat this point in my recovery, but I knew it was coming. About a week ago a verysmall spot on my incision starting leaving spots of blood on my undershirt.Then the blood started coming through the undershirt to my binder. I emailedthe nurse a few times and she said that this happens when sutures have troubledissolving. She suggested washing the area twice a day and continuing with thePolysporin. I did, but the red area grew. Now it is about 2 inches long andpuffy. The doctor prescribed an antibiotic, continued washing, Polysporin,gauze covering and a check-in with him in 2 weeks.

Otherwise, everything is healing as it should and he said Ican ‘resume doing what I usually do’. If I just ate, sat, walked a bit andslept this would be true. Running? Cycling? Lifting weights? Carrying children?I don’t think so.

Guest Post – 3 weeks Post Op

Finally I think I have turned the corner in my recovery! Itis about time! At 2 weeks I was feeling rather low. The literature from thesurgeon said I could walk and do light stretching at 2 weeks. I was envisioninghour long strolls to clear my head. Nope, couldn’t stand up straight or walkmore than 5 minutes.

Today I went for a 40 minute walk! It was a far cry from theexhilaration of a hard hour long run, but boy did I feel better. I am stillstooped over but finally getting straighter so the back pain is less.

My husband picked up a different binder from the surgeon’soffice today. Much more comfortable! It is 9” instead of 12”, more flexible andsofter. The original binder caused too much interference with my underwear andpant waist and wraps around me over one and a half times.

Guest Post – Day 9 Post Op

Oh my goodness! A little crumb when down my throat the wrongway and coughing ensued. Ow Oww Owwweee! I felt like that nicely sewn-togetherfascia ripped apart. Avoid coughing! Also avoid blowing your nose and laughing,even that polite little conversational laugh. My kids are very amusing. I mustleave the room and think sad thoughts when they get going.


Guest Post – Day 8 Post Op

Robaxacet! Brilliant!! The commercials with the puppets withback pain…. Acetaminophen combined with methocarbomal (a muscle relaxant). Itook a pill this afternoon and felt almost immediate relief to the lower backpain that has been plaguing me since surgery. I looked up methocarbomal and itlooks like its’ abuse potential is similar to, but weaker then, lorazepam. Ithink it is the answer for now.

Heather Tennant, the physiotherapist I mentioned who had thesurgery 4 months ago, suggested Robaxacet when I said I was wary of thenarcotics. Check out her blog at some sound advice and a link to a great article on “diastasis rectus”.

I felt better again today. I relaxed this morning while myfather-in-law’s partner played with the kids for a few hours outside. Theafternoon was busy with eye doctor appointments for the kids, a trip to thelibrary, the drug store (for the aforementioned miracle pill) and a visit to 2parks. The kids ran around in the glorious sunshine and I sat mostlycomfortably on a park bench. Tired tonight!

Guest Post – One week Post Op

I woke with a very sore spot on the top of my right foot. It appears to be a bit of swelling in a vein. The bedcovers were hurting it. I immediately think blood clot.  Can you see a blood clot? I checked the post-op literature and it says to call if my legs suddenly swell or hurt.

Hubby said to call the doctor’s office as he left for an out of town ill-timed 2 day business trip. Just me and the kids and March break. A play-date I had arranged pre-surgery turned out to be just the thing to fill the morning. I drove the kids over to the little girl’s house. They played eagerly with her extensive toy collection and I assumed a supported and reclined position on the sofa. The nanny even brought me tea – how sweet.

The spot on the foot appeared to dissipate by mid-day. Hopefully it isn’t on its way to my heart.

An email from Julia, my physio who worked with me on closing my diastasis recti, advised no running for 12 weeks. Yikes!! I had 6 weeks marked on the calendar going into the surgery based on the surgeon’s guidelines. Julia argues that I should build up my pelvic floor and core before pounding the pavement. It is a good plan, but makes me think I am going to go crazy over the next 3 months without my daily endorphin fix. I wonder about cycling? That would be ok, right? Please say, yes!

Another physio I have connected with who had the surgery 4 months ago says I am crazy to not be taking pain meds and should take some Advil for the back pain. I know she’s right, but meds mess up the bowel movements more.

My kids’ speech therapist came by later this afternoon. “Are you ok? You look like you are in pain”. Hmmm, that says it all about how great I am NOT looking.

Today was better, I could stand longer before the need to recline on the sofa hit and I even walked to the end of the street with my son. (The doctor’s literature says start walking at 2 weeks). The stoop and shuffle I did today was not walking.

I fed my kids their first frozen dinners and skipped their baths. Makes them stronger, right? This was the first bedtime I did since surgery. My dear daughter who will be 4 years old in 3 weeks politely asked if I could give her milk. Argh, I thought this might force the weaning. I maneuvered myself into position and she nursed herself to sleep. Maneuvering out of the bed without waking her was trickier. I did it and don’t think I ripped anything apart.

My legs have been really jumpy all day. The way they would feel after a really big training day. Why now? Is it the lack of inactivity?

Guest Post – Day 6 Post Op

Stool softener worked. Thank goodness. I feel the urge every day, but only am successful every other day. That is, after taking the senokot every other night. The nurse said it is safe to take as long as needed. With more food and more activity things should return to normal. Sadly, pooping is main post-op problem.

Two neighbourhood girls babysat my kids for my appointment yesterday and they came back today. They played with my kids for 2 hours. Money well spent. I lay down and my kids got to run around and have fun.

The rest of the day was not as great. “Mom can you play soccer? Can we go for a bike ride? How about football?” Unfortunately, the answer was “No”. I can’t stand in my hunched over position for more than 10 minutes before the back pain makes me recline on the sofa. The weather is so beautiful. I knew I should have had the surgery in November.

No meds of any sort at bedtime, not even Tylenol. Smart or stupid?

Guest Post – Day 5 Post Op

Yipee! Both drains removed! The nurse said that 30 cc per day is the deciding point. I was only over that amount the first day post-op. The sensation was really strange when she pulled them out. Not painful, just icky.

BUT, when the nurse unwrapped the binder and peeled back the bandage on my navel, she exclaimed, ‘Oh, that belly button is too shallow, he’ll have to cut it deeper’.

What, more cutting?! I guess he’ll take a look at my one month appointment and then book another appointment to do it later in the office with some local freezing. That will delay the time to getting back in the pool for family swims.

She also commented how big the binder was for me and suggested getting a Spanx-type garment. She showed me a better option in a medical catalogue. I looked briefly online and called a few stores. Those things are pricey and don’t come in my size. Perhaps the doctor’s office will cover the cost of the one she showed me. The appropriate post-surgical garment was included in the price…

My hubby drove me to my appointment. I had originally thought I would take the subway – silly me. The walk from the parking garage to the office almost did me in. Who knew that walking used so many stomach muscles?!

My shower this evening was a definite highlight of the day, but exhausting. Funny enough, it felt really good to get the darn binder back on for support after the shower. Clean hair, skin and sheets and the nurse said I can sleep on my side. Ahhh. Just some Tylenol to help with sleeping tonight…and stool softener.