A pint of ale, a capacity to create, and delicious spoons!

Posted on Friday, March 23rd, 2018

March is a month full of celebrations, new beginnings, and welcoming the coming of spring.

As children get excited for the month of March, parents may be wondering what new and exciting activities they can do with their little ones. March also marks the coming of St. Patrick’s Day! Here at the HPC, we want to help you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without any headaches. Make sure you read all the way until the end for one heck of an ingenious way to spice up your next dinner party.

Celebration of St. Patrick’s Day: A drink without the headache

It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old – everyone loves to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! It’s a day filled with festivals and parades, a day where the colour green fills the streets, and a day made for those who love the ale. A sip of wine at dinner or an occasional drink with friends may not do you much harm – some studies suggest drinking in moderation could, in fact, be beneficial. However, drinking in excess can lead to some life-threatening consequences beyond just a bad headache, so make sure to read up on some ways to keep yourself safe. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t drink at all, because after all, it can be part of the celebration! Here at the HPC, we simply want to make sure you’re informed and do so responsibly. Here are some things you can do to lose the headache without losing the fun.

Tip 1:  Don’t drink on an empty stomach.

Drinking on an empty stomach can increase the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into your blood stream. Having a bite to eat can help slow this process down, which could help to prevent those dreaded stomach aches and nausea.

Tip 2: Mix your drinks without that extra sugar.

Your body works hard at processing the alcohol to begin with, so try not to overload it with things like high fructose corn syrup (typically found in pop) as well. Try adding carbonated water instead.

Tip 3: Avoid Impulse Drinking.

It can be hard to say “no” sometimes, but you’re ultimately the one that knows what you can and can’t handle. Don’t feel like you have to drink one more just because your friends are going for another round—some people are better equipped to handle alcohol. Sometimes it’s best to take a break and think about if you’ve had enough.

Tip 4: Try making your drinks last longer.

It’s not always fun when you’re first to finish your drink and have to wait for your friends, so try taking smaller sips to help your drinks last longer. Talking with friends and munching on finger foods such as fruits or nuts can also help slow you down without having to think about it.


Tip 5: Make an effort to nourish your body the next day.

You’ll want to eat as healthy as you can the next day to provide your body with the right fuel to fight a hangover. Go for fruits and vegetables. Be sure to not skip breakfast, and continue to snack on healthy items throughout the day.

*Information and tips adapted from http://sharonrichter.com/2012/06/drinking-dos-and-donts/ and http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/workbook/you-and-substance-use-harm-reduction-strategies.

There’s a Prodigy in the Kitchen!

Everyone loves food, but does everyone love cooking? There comes a time in every child’s life where they’ll explore all the fascinating items in the kitchen. They’ll want to emulate mom and dad—they’ll grab a spoon, a couple of eggs, and a bowl in hopes of making a delicious cake! That cake could turn out to be a work of art, but more likely, it’ll turn into a hot mess. “When should I introduce my son/daughter to cooking?” is likely a question many parents have. No matter the age, the younger you introduce them to the fine art of baking, stir-frying and grilling, the less likely you are to end up with a big mess to clean up. Now, different ages come with different skills, but even the youngest of the bunch can do a great deal if you give them a chance!

Kitchen Safety Basics

Before you enter the kitchen, here are some ground rules to go over with your little ones:

  • Tie back long hair
  • Wash and dry hands thoroughly, repeat as needed

·       Keep a clean work environment: counter tops and working surfaces

·       Cook to appropriate temperatures

·       Don't lick fingers, especially when working with raw foods such as cookie dough, raw meat, or poultry

·       Never point knives or any sharp instruments at yourself or another person in the kitchen.

Age is only a number:

3-5 year olds: Younger kids are energetic and eager to explore, but they’ll require full adult supervision since their motor skills are still developing. Teach them the first rule of cooking: washing and cleaning up, because preparing to succeed is half the battle!

Appropriate Tasks:

·       Rinse fruits and veggies in the sink with cool tap water

·       Wipe up tabletops

·       Mix ingredients like easy-to-mix batters

·       Brush (or "paint") oil with a clean pastry brush on bread, asparagus or other foods

·       Cut cookies with fun shaped cookie cutters (but don't eat the raw dough!)

6-9 year olds: After 6 years old, your little ones are now far more capable and are ready to handle more responsibilities! There is a wide range of skills to develop and activities they are able to participate in, so make sure to tailor the tasks as they continue to develop.

Appropriate Tasks:

·       Use a peeler to peel raw fruits and veggies

·       Break eggs into a bowl

·       Scoop out avocados

·       De-seed tomatoes and roasted peppers with a spoon

·       Snap green beans

·       Load the dishwasher

·       Shuck corn and rinse before cooking

·       Open cans with a can opener

·       Pound chicken on a cutting board

·       Beat eggs with a fork or whisk

·       Check the temperature of meat with a food thermometer

10-12 year olds: Reaching the age of 10 can be a milestone for some. If they've been practicing for a few years already, they’ll likely need minimal supervision. They will be able to follow basic kitchen rules such as tucking pan handles, unplugging electrical appliances, using knives, and safely using the oven or microwave.

Appropriate Tasks (with adult supervision):

·       Boil pasta

·       Microwave foods

·       Follow a recipe, including reading each step in order and         measuring ingredients accurately

·       Bake foods in the oven

·       Simmer ingredients on the stove

·       Slice or chop vegetables

*Information adapted from http://www.kraftcanada.com/tips-and-ideas/kids-centre/kitchen-safety-rules-for-kids.

Spoons made for eating?

Looking to bring a unique touch to your next dinner party? Want to help entice your taste buds while creating your next dessert? Looking for a fun new way to eat more fruit? If you answered yes to all three questions, then you're going to love edible chocolate spoons! Yes, I said it, EDIBLE CHOCOLATE SPOONS! They’re durable, delicious and easy to make – just follow the recipe.


  • 200g dark chocolate
  • Silicone spoon mould


  1. Break chocolate up into little pieces and place in a microwaveable bowl.
  2. Heat to melt, stirring frequently.
  3. Let cool for 1 minute, then place in a piping bag attached with a small round nozzle (or use a disposable bag and snip a little hole at the tip).
  1. Pipe chocolate into mould, thick enough not to break easily.
  2. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  3. Unmould them onto a presentation plate. Try serving spoons with fresh fruit – they’ll add that extra punch at your next dinner party!

    *Recipe adapted from http://toriejayne.com/recipe/how-make-chocolate-spoons.

Have you tried the dieting thing more times than you can count?  If you’re exhausted from pinging back and forth between food guilt and deprivation with constant body worry, Alida is here to help you get clarity and confidence in healthy eating - without dieting or food rules. Alida Finnie is one of our lead Dietitians and a Certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor.  Her passion is helping you find an eating plan that keeps your body and mind happy at the same time using Intuitive Eating strategies. Are you ready to experience true satisfaction and body trust? 

Get started by emailing Alida to book your complementary nutrition clarity call.  You'll learn more about the Intuitive Eating process and get clear on the next step that suits your needs, within your means. 

Let's chat! finniea@uoguelph.ca

Written by Bowen Ma
Edited by Thibeca Kengatharan, Brooklyn Seal, Sandra Clark, and Alida Finnie, MSc RD