Healthy Back to School Snacks

by Jessica Tong, RD

September is just around the corner, which means that it is time for parents to come up with fresh ideas for back-to-school healthy snacks. This year, be a back-to-school champion with snacks that will inspire ooh’s and ahh’s!

The key to preparing back-to-school snacks is to include both protein and fibre while avoiding excess salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats. Protein and fibre are digested slowly so they provide steady energy and a lasting feeling of fullness. Choosing nutrient-dense ingredients will keep your kids feeling energized and satisfied all day. Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit is a great snack component as it is rich in fibre and vitamin C. It is naturally low in sugar but has a juicy, irresistible taste. By brightening up your kids’ lunchboxes with SunGold kiwis, they will start enjoying fruit from a young age, and onwards!

Chocolate-covered kiwi pops are a perfect hot day treat that will make your kids’ eyes light up. The steps are simple: peel and slice SunGold kiwis into thick rounds, make a small slit on the side of each kiwi round, gently insert a pop stick, and freeze the kiwi pops on a baking sheet until they are solid. Over a double boiler, melt 8 oz of dark chocolate and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Dip each frozen kiwi pop into the chocolate mixture until the kiwi is completely coated, sprinkle chia or hemp seeds on top, and freeze them again until the coating hardens. These kiwi pops are low in refined sugar while high on the yummy scale!

For something nutritious and easily-portable, try a homemade trail mix. The options are endless but try to select ingredients that are low in added salt and sugar. I recommend combining dried apricots, dried SunGold kiwis, coconut flakes, organic popcorn, and raw almonds. This crunchy, chewy trail mix is low in sugar and packed with fibre – qualities that are rare in most school snacks. If your child’s school is a nut-free zone, try dry-roasted chickpeas or edamame beans instead.

To perk up the kids’ back-to-school lunch boxes with something that is both nostalgic and creative, this is for you: homemade fruit roll-ups. The best part is that it is so simple to make! Puree chunks of fresh fruit of your choice until they become very smooth (this is a great way to use up over-ripe fruit), spread the mixture on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper, and bake it at 200 degrees F for 4 hours, or until the centre is set. Once the fruit puree is dried, you can cut it into 2-inch strips and roll them in parchment paper. The kids will love having this as part of their school lunch box – that’s if the parents don’t get to them first!

When the kids are home from school, have them cozy up on the couch with a book in one hand and a cone in the other. Mix plain yogurt, chopped SunGold kiwis, berries, and high-fibre granola and fill mini ice cream cones with the mixture. This makes a fun snack that provides them with fuel to tackle any activity before dinnertime.

The most important part of planning snacks is to get your kids involved. Have them participate in the preparation as they are more likely to eat it if they helped make it!

Man Up! play by the Boys Club Network

The Westcoast Boys Club Network Foundation (aka Boys Club Network or BCN) is pleased to present their acclaimed reality stage play Man Up! in Abbotsford from November 25 through 27, playing to a targeted audience of high school students, educators, youth workers, families and other stakeholders at the W. J. Mouat Secondary School Theatre.

Man Up! is the gritty, heart-wrenching, emotional and life-changing story of two determined eastside Vancouver educators, a group of at- risk boys on the sharp knife-edge of life, a handful or generous and visionary Lower Mainland businessmen from all walks of life, and the compelling four-year journey they took together – from the edge of frustration, hopelessness and despair, to the pinnacle of hopefulness and success. Man Up! Shares authentic, deeply personal stories of individual struggle, overcoming demons and realizing dreams.

BCN is a registered Canadian charity with a mandate to establish connectedness, trust and accountability to at-risk young men and help grow then into good men. The Network uses drama – more specifically the reality stage play – as a creative platform to spread their message of H.O.P.E. (Hope, Opportunity, Positive mentorship, Education) to communities throughout the lower mainland, to ignite discussion, and to inspire stakeholders to set-up new BCN chapters.

BCN independently operates seven chapters in Vancouver, North Vancouver and West Vancouver secondary schools with the cooperation and assistance of school districts and stakeholders in youth work and law enforcement. Close to 100 mentors, representing all facets of Canadian life, from break-even to billionaire, mentor a membership of more than 200 boys. The Network is grateful to Mr. Gino Bondi, a long-time BCN mentor and new Assistant Superintendent, Abbotsford School District, for introducing Man Up! to the city of Abbotsford, with its diverse population and eight secondary schools.


Man Up! messaging is entirely relevant to today’s students and educators, and parallels Curriculum Learning Outcomes in BC Secondary courses Planning 10, Health & Career 9, Drama Curricula, and lessons in Focus on Harassment and Intimidation. The supplied Companion Study Guide for Educators and Reflections on Learning student worksheets address topical issues like anti- bullying, personal accountability, gratitude, philanthropy and empathy. Buy tickets here!

Adult Night at Fort Langley!

What is more chilling than tales of love, mysterious burials, and hair-raising amputations during Fort Langley National Historic Site’s annual Grave Tales Historic Walking Tours? Try sleeping over inside the fort after the tour!

New for 2016, adults over the age of 19 can choose to rent an oTENTik tent for the ultimate Grave Tales night out. Tickets for the overnight packages go on sale today at 8 am. The oTENTiks each sleep up to six, so choose the date and number of persons in your party from 1 to 6 when purchasing tickets on Regular Grave Tales tickets, without the overnight portion, will go on sale September 1st.

Grave Tales is a historic walking tour through the village of Fort Langley, ending inside the historic Big House inside the fort. Heritage Interpreters tell tales of misfortune in Fort Langley’s cemeteries, streets, and inside the Hudson’s Bay Company fort.

Tours cover stories of Hudson’s Bay Company workers’ long dead, but still lingering spirits, including Louisa and William Emptage. Many claim to have seen Louisa in early mornings  searching for William at the Fort Langley cemetery. If you don’t manage to glimpse these two, the tour ends back at Fort Langley National Historic Site in the site’s most haunted building, which some claim is home to a young boy’s ghost who still wants to play.


Adult tours (19+ only please):

Facebook event

Fort Langley National Historic Site is part of Parks Canada’s system of national parks and national historic sites, which provide visitors with exceptional heritage experiences. This outdoor event will connect Canadians with nature as they explore the local area on foot.

Share Your S’more Recipe to Win!

The Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) is encouraging Canadians to commit to camp this summer with s’more great ideas for connecting to nature through the Great Canadian Campout initiative. CWF’s goal is to encourage Canadians across the country to appreciate nature first-hand by enjoying an “in tents” camping experience.”Whether you pitch a tent in your own backyard or spend a few days in a provincial or national park, don’t miss out on this opportunity to join the Great Canadian Campout. Sleeping under the stars is one of the ultimate Canadian experiences,” said Rick Bates, CEO of the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

As part of the Great Canadian Campout, CWF is challenging campers to share their “ultimate s’mores recipe” through the hashtag #GreatCanadianCampout. Whether you choose sweet or savory, healthy or decadent, s’mores can be prepared on campfires or cook stoves. Most amazing of all, CWF will publish the winning recipe in Canadian Wildlife magazine.

Visit for more information on how you can register your commitment to camp and enter the s’mores contest as well as the ultimate Canadian camper contest. You can also receive a guide to Canada’s greatest hikes from Canadian Wildlife magazine, review environmental tips and download a multilingual learn to camp guide.

The Canadian Wildlife Federation is dedicated to fostering awareness and appreciation of our natural world. By spreading knowledge of human impacts on the environment, carrying out research, developing and delivering education programs, promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, recommending changes to policy and co-operating with like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can live in harmony with nature.

Sunscreen Myths and Facts

Summertime is heating up and that means another confusing trip to the sunscreen aisle. But not all sunscreens meet the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) criteria. A recent study found that 40 percent of top consumer rated sunscreens sold on Amazon did not adhere to AAD guidelines, including not being water and sweat resistant. Many others are also facing legal challenges alleging they are not performing up to their marketing claims. Board Certified New York Dermatologist Dr. Kally Papantoniou gives you what you need to know before you lather or spray.

MYTH: Your daily facial moisturizer needs to have SPF.
FACT: “Only one of the products you use each morning needs to have SPF of 30 or higher,” says Dr. Papantoniou. “SPF is SPF, regardless of whether it’s in your foundation or moisturizer.”

MYTH:  Using multiple products with SPF gives you greater protection.
FACT: “SPF isn’t an equation,” says Dr. Papantoniou. “You can’t use an SPF 15 primer and an SPF 20 foundation and get SPF 30 coverage. Your sun protection is only as strong as your highest SPF, which in this case would be 20.” Of course, if you’re dabbing foundation or moisturizer on only small areas of your face, it’s wise to double up on products that contain SPF to ensure total coverage.

MYTH“If you’re wearing foundation, you don’t need sunscreen. A layer of makeup will protect your skin from the sun.”
FACT: Makeup will not act as a barrier for UV rays, even if it has an added SPF. “Testing has shown that the SPF protection from a makeup product alone is insufficient. That small amount of SPF is always a nice addition, but not enough to protect your skin,” says Dr. Papantoniou. Always apply sunscreen (or a moisturizer with broad-spectrum sun protection) under your makeup. If you’re worried about your skin looking greasy, there are plenty of great mattifying options for the face.

Here’s a reminder of how to properly protect yourself:

1. Always wear a hat and sun protective clothing if you’re going to be out for long periods of time.
2. Avoid the mid-day sun.
3. Don’t be tempted to use that tube of sunblock you didn’t quite finish last year.  New summer, new sunblock.
4. Slather on generous quantities of sunblock at least 30 minutes before you head outdoors: To achieve the SPF level on the label, you need a teaspoon on your face, and a shot glass-worth for your body. Don’t forget your ears, your lips, your hairline, and your scalp or part lines.
5. Reapply every couple of hours, especially if you’ve been swimming or exercising.

Dr. Kally Papantoniou is a Cosmetic Dermatologist, Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology. She specializes in Injectables, Lasers, Body Contouring, Surgical and Medical Dermatology. Dr. Papantoniou is also a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Health Center in New York City. She applies expert techniques and the newest technologies to treat her patients. Dr. Papantoniou focuses on providing her patients with the highest level of care, with special interests in natural and healthy alternatives to treatments and disease prevention. Connect with Dr. Papantoniou  via twitter @DrPderm or her website

Tell Your Neighbourhood Story

Surrey residents can enter to win great prizes this summer by sharing photos of their neighbourhood social activities! Share your ‘hood love from Aug 1 – Sept 17 while the City of Surrey is sponsoring a photo contest in celebration of its inaugural Neighbour Day.
To enter the contest, residents must organize a neighbourhood activity and share a photo of it on the City’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts. Add #SurreyNeighbourDay to the photo and be automatically entered to win a weekly $20 coffee card prize, and at the same time, be entered to win the $500 Grand Prize Home Depot gift certificate. Who couldn’t use a little home improvement?

Weekly $20 coffee cards will be drawn Fridays, Aug 5 – Sept 16, from the week’s valid entries. One grand prize winner will be drawn on Monday September 19, 2016 from all valid entries. So plan some friendly fun and get snapping!

Plan a tea or a block party, a sports day, tree planting, or street clean up. As long as it is with neighbours, it qualifies. For ideas, supplies, or to apply for a ‘Celebration & Activity Grant’, visit

Neighbour Day is a celebration of community, bringing together the people next door, across the street or down the road. Its purpose is to build better relationships with the people who live around us because ultimately a connected community is a happy community. Surrey’s first annual Neighbour Day will be officially celebrated on September 17, 2016.
Visit to learn more!

Fort Langley Fun

Since 1979, people have flocked to Fort Langley on BC Day weekend to bring to life a tradition that goes back to the early 1800s: the arrival of the fur brigades. Every modern outdoorsman or adventure fan or Vancouverite who wants to get in touch with BC’s roots must come out this weekend to see this: dozens of men, women and children dressed in 19th century clothing will be “roughing it” in their canvas tents, cooking over the fire, and sharing their old-fashioned skills with visitors.

Have you seen laundry done by hand, with a washboard and ringer? Then be sure to visit our Washer Women. Like folk music? Check out the stories and songs three times a day. Are you into fashion? Be sure to see the fashion show July 31st at 1:30 pm. All weekend, you can mingle with the re-enactors who will be at their tents, showing off their old-fashioned wares, weaving, sewing and cooking.

Cretons, Wild rice, duck and bulrush shoots, bear sausage, stew cooked with hot rocks, bannock: sound good? No? That’s OK, you don’t have to eat it, but come and watch re-enactors facing off with their traditional dishes on Sunday July 31st at 4 pm. Come early to see them cooking over their fires and watch the re-enactors of all ages cook up their 1800s recipes, and see which dish the judges choose as the winner.

On BC Day, August 1st, bagpipe processions and an exciting canoe re-enactment on the Fraser River will take place between 12:30 and 2 pm. Then from 6-8 pm, don’t miss the FREE BC DAY concert in the fort. Live music with Celtic singer, Pat Chessell! Bring your blanket and a picnic or some take-out and enjoy a relaxing evening.

So grab your friends and come on out for a different kind of weekend. And while you’re going to time travel, you’ll need your smart phones: you’re going to want to share some awesome photos with #exploreBCday #langleyfresh and #fortlangleynhs for our photo contest.
P.S. There are even Pokemons, a gym and monuments on site! 

Summer Fun at Rocky Mountain Flatbread

Keeping little ones busy during the summer can be a challenge, and there’s always a million extra chores for parents and caregivers. There’s also the need to prepare regular lunches and meals to ensure kids are fed and energized for all that summer fun!

Thankfully, Rocky Mountain Flatbread heeds the call of parents who need to keep the littles busy while also eating some tasty food! Every Wednesday from 11am – 12pm, moms, dads and caregivers can register to take their little one to the restaurant for parent-child workshops! Each week will feature a different activity, be it storytelling, yoga and dance, creating healthy snacks, faceprinting, crafts and tea party dress up events! Parents will have fun with their children participating in an unique activity, while kids will have a blast.

Best of all, stay behind afterwards to have a delicious pizza, full of healthy, local and organic ingredients that keep everyone fuelled and full!

Registration is required and class size is limited so be sure to register at to take part in these classes at the Main Street location!


Love a Little Opera

A new Lower Mainland opera company is celebrating their grand opening with a double-bill of shows designed to help young singers achieve their dreams. The West Coast Opera Studio, or WCOS, is a brand new opera company dedicated to showcasing local performers by creating opportunities for them to sing full roles. Entirely funded by arts lovers and the community, the project strives to help underfunded young singers as they prepare for full careers.At 7:30 pm on Friday, July 29, the West Coast Opera Studio will present two beloved short operas: Pergolesi’s La serva padrona and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, featuring casts of talented students and graduates of those smaller, underfunded opera schools that couldn’t give them the same opportunity.

Founder Robin Eder-Warren says that West Coast Opera’s decision to stage an opera starring performers who hadn’t had the chance to sing many full roles came when she saw other small companies in Vancouver begin to disappear. “To pursue future careers in the art form, singers need to have resumes full of experience in a wide array of operas,” she says, “and with the closure of several small companies in the past few years, and the lack of funding from many schools, for many the only opportunities to perform come from what we call ‘pay-to-sing’ companies – and some singers, though they’re really fantastic vocalists, simply can’t afford that. That’s where West Coast Opera comes in.”

For this production, WCOS is teaming up with Opera Mariposa, the acclaimed local opera company that has been showcasing emerging young artists since 2011. “Mariposa was created by young artists, for young artists, and we’re thrilled to help give these singers the opportunities they desperately need for their future careers,” explains Artistic Director Jacqueline Ko, who is lending her voice to the tragic Dido and Aeneas as the Sorceress. “Without experience like this, pursuing professional opera can be next to impossible, even for singers as amazing as those we get to work with this summer. Everyone needs the chance to shine, no matter where they come from.”

The co-production is being funded by a campaign on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo, with a fundraising goal of $2500. Eder-Warren hopes that the city will come together to support the arts. “Any contribution, big or small, makes a difference to this project,” she says.

So get out and enjoy a night of culture with the whole family!

La serva padrona and Dido and Aeneas (by G. B. Pergolesi and H. Purcell)
7:30 pm on Friday, July 29  and Saturday, July 30, 2016
Metro Theatre, 1370 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC
Tickets $20 ($18 students and seniors), available at and at the door or at (604) 266-7191

Top 5 Tips to Maximize Your Museum Trip

Are your kids’ brains turning to mush over the summer break? Need something to stimulate and engage them? Look no farther than your provincial museum, just a hop away on Vancouver Island! The Royal BC Museum offers tons of fun for kids and lots of interactive exhibits, but making the trip can also be daunting. Here are the Royal BC Museum’s top tips for making the most of your museum experience!

  1. Pre-plan with your kids

Get your kids buy-in by inviting them to help decide what you’ll see when you visit the museum. Let their curiosity curate your experience. Get a head start by checking your local museum’s website for exhibitions. The Royal BC Museum also has a terrific online resource in the form of the Learning Portal.

  1. Arrive early for exclusive access

Avoid the crowds and get the museum to yourself by arriving right when the museum opens. Most museums, including the Royal BC Museum, open at 10am and are quiet for the first hour or two. You can even bypass the box office altogether by buying your tickets online!

  1. Enjoy kid/family programs

Check out the special activities and events designed for your family. The Royal BC Museum features phenomenal summer camps for kids, Wonder Sundays for families, and more great activities, all found in the program guide. See if the feature exhibitions are kid friendly like the Royal BC Museum’s Mammoths: Giants of the Ice Age.

  1. Draw

Bring a pencil and paper so that you and your kids can sketch what you see. Drawing things encourages close looking allowing kids to notice details they may have missed. It helps everyone slow down and enjoy what they are seeing. Plus you get to look back at your creation and remember your museum visit.

  1. Take snack/food breaks

Most museums have great cafes. The Royal BC Museum is no exception, and also plays host to a kid-friendly Food Truck Festival in the enclosed back courtyard. Keep the hangriness at bay with lots of snack breaks.