Friday, 22 August 2014

Back to School - Lunches

It’s that time of year again!  The hustle and bustle of finding school supplies and shopping for new school clothes!  The days of sleeping in, late breakfasts are slowly coming to an end and days of chaos and scrambling to get the kids out the door are upon us.

With a little bit of preparation and planning we can start this school year on the right foot especially when it comes to the dreaded packing lunches.

School aged children (grade 1 to high school) may eat more than 2,400 lunches in their lifetime. 

That's a lot of lunches!

Start by getting your lunch routine started before the children go back to school!
o  Make sure you have a supply of sandwich bags, food containers, thermos’s, reusable water bottles, lunch kits all in a designated area in the kitchen
o  Ask your children to come up with ideas that they might want to have for lunches
o  Sit down as a family and have them come up with the meal plan for lunches for the week.  This will help you to be able to create a grocery list to streamline your next grocery trip

Recruit some help

o   Children and youth are more likely to try new foods and eats whats in the lunch if they help prepare it
o   Involving children as early as possible in the meal preparation and planning to promote long term healthy eating and lifestyle skills
o   Make it fun – use food as a teaching tool for colours, texture and shapes and even where it comes from, textures

Get Organized

On the weekends or in the evenings try to prep some lunch items for the whole week

o    Have vegetables washed, cut and divided into bags/containers
o    Have fruit washed, cut and divided and laid out in an area where you can see – clear containers in the fridge
o    Have milk and water frozen.  This way you can use them as a freezer pack to keep foods cool till lunch time!
o    Pack the lunches the night before to alleviate the stress in the morning rush
o    For tips on keeping your lunches safe please refer to: Food Safety
 o    Have a visible calendar with the lunches so everyone knows whats on the menu and anyone in the family can start putting them together
o    Refer to our blog post on meal planning.

Think outside the sandwich!!

o    Lunches often get repetitive after a couple weeks or so especially if there is no plan in place. 
Creativity and planning can take out the stress and decrease the amount of protests. 
o    Children and Youth should be getting at least 3 out of the 4 food groups per meal
o    Check out websites, child friendly cookbooks, social media outlet: Pinterest, Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Whole Grains
Fruits and Vegetables
Meat and Meat Alternatives
Milk and Milk Alternatives
Cut up vegetables
Cut up vegetables
Leftover chicken/pork/fish
Mini bagel
Cut up fruit slices
Hard boiled egg/cream cheese
Dinner roll
Black beans/egg
Peanut butter or nut free pea butter

Recipes and an app:

Be careful of impostors

o    Prepackaged lunch items (snack packs) are often low in fibre, low in fruits and vegetables, high salt, highly processed meats and expensive
o    Teaching your children how to pack a healthy lunch, involving them in the process and being a good role model are great ways to incorporate healthy eating as a whole family
o    Avoid sending “treats” –
·      Try making their day with a note, colourful napkins, stickers, food cut into special shapes
·      Treats do not fall within Canada’s food guide and therefore replaces other important food groups required for healthy development and energy growing children need

Don’t forget about hydration

o    Normal Physical Activity Guidelines for children and youth are 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day.  Water and white milk are adequate to maintain proper hydration.
§  Limit 100% unsweetened fruit juice to no more that ½ cup a day (avoid fruit beverages, punches, cocktails).
§  Sports drinks may be required if your children are engaged in competitive training over and beyond the 60 minutes physical activity guidelines.
§   For more information on why to limit juice and other age appropriate beverages please refer to Sugary Drink Sense

Following these tips and getting a jump on the school routine early, the 2,400 dreaded lunches will be one less thing to worry about and off your list!

Andrea Shackel is a Registered Dietitian at the Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network

Thursday, 14 August 2014

LBD PCN Newsletter

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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Mental illness and Depression - recognize the symptoms and get help

What is mental illness?

Mental illness is marked by a disruption of mood, thoughts and ability to function in your daily life.  The disruptions to mood and thought are often overwhelming and can leave a person feeling as though they are unable to cope with life’s demands.  Some mental illnesses, such as depression, can be temporary or episodic, while others, such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, are life-long.  It is not always easy to know if a person is suffering from mental illness, and if they are, sometimes it is unclear as to what illness that might be.  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders – IV (DSM-IV) is used by mental health providers to diagnose mental illness.  At present, the DSM-IV includes over 300 different mental illnesses. 

There is no one test that a person can take that will definitively diagnose a mental illness, though tests are given to provide some information.   A trained and experienced mental health provider can provide an accurate mental illness diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment options.  

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have depression or another mood related concern, talk to your doctor.      

Markers of depression include:
(Most of the days, in the past two weeks)

Inability to feel:

o Pleasure,  hope,  love, or attachment
o Emotionally “flat”


o Poor concentration due to difficulty pulling thoughts together,  slow thinking


o “I’m disgusting, worthless, inadequate.”
o “I’ve done something wrong; I’m at fault.”
o “Nothing will work out.”
o “Things will never get better”
o “I cannot do anything.  Nothing helps.”
o “Death would be a relief.”


o Loss of will, desire, interest
o Avoidance of people, work and activity


o Disrupted sleep: too much or too little
o Poor appetite or overeating
o Weight loss or gain
o Reduced or no ability to respond sexually
o Possible crying spells without knowing why

o Restless or slowed activity/speech
o Reduced talking, smiling, motion, energy

You can take an anonymous depression screening test at:

Additional Mental Health Resources:
Local Mental Health Services:
Leduc Mental Health Clinic  (780) 986-2660

Subsidized Counselling:
FCSS – Leduc (780) 980-7109 
FCSS – Beaumont (780) 929-1369 or (780) 929-3327
FCSS – Devon (780) 987-8325
FCSS – Leduc County  (780) 979-2385
Supportive Listening:
Leduc Regional Hub: Tues to Fri 2-6pm, Sat 11am-1pm      (780) 739-LHUB (5482)
Distress Line (780) 482-HELP (4357)

Local Private Counselling:
Connelly Counselling (780) 237-3510
Iasis Psychological Services – (780) 739-0707 
Karunia Counselling – (780) 628-3939

Sheila Gothjelpsen is a Registered Psychiatrist with the Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network.