May 2014


LOVE & SEX: This guy made a documentary to find out if size really does matter

One thing is clear, Patrick Moote doesn’t have a lot of embarrassment left. After proposing to his girlfriend on a jumbotron at a sporting event and being turned down, being the subject of a documentary about small penises wouldn’t seem all that mortifying. The trailer for the film, Unhung Hero, follows protagonist Moote as he speaks to women, experts, and medical professionals about penis size.

His girlfriend turned him down apparently because he was lacking in the pants. While this is an awful reason to break up with someone, it has gotten under his skin to the point where he and film maker Brian Spitz traveled the world to find out the answer to the age old question: does size really matter?



Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

A year later

Tomorrow is our anniversary and I can’t help my desire to scream, “We made it!” at the top of my lungs. This is my first anniversary since the Big Ex in 2009 and the differences between then and now are staggering: four years ago I was afraid to tell the Big Ex that I loved him, four years ago on our anniversary the Big Ex was on a date with another woman and four years ago I couldn’t have told you that I was happy even if I thought I might have been.

Tomorrow Boyfriend and I are going for dinner and a movie, we’ll exchange gifts and we’ll fall asleep in what I can only assume will be a sweaty tangled mess. But the biggest difference of all is that I’m not afraid; I’m not afraid that making a big deal out of an anniversary will scare him off, I’m not afraid to tell him how much I love him and I’m not afraid to enjoy myself on a day that is meant to be enjoyed.

We’ve been through a lot this year: my mum’s illness, my work issues, the loss of his grandfather and six months of trying to figure out why I can barely keep food down. At this point we’ve been through some of the worst parts of life together and we’ve managed to come out smiling. I have never known the kind of support that I get from Boyfriend. As an adult child of divorce I’ve barely seen this kind of support outside of movies and TV shows; to be honest I didn’t even know that this kind of love was real, I just assumed that writers and directors were just really talented at creating loving worlds on paper and screen.

But after a year of experiencing love first hand I’ve come to realize that it isn’t all a fantasy, it takes a lot of work, a lot of practice and a lot of honesty. You have to be ready to share yourself fully, your fears, hopes, dreams and even (especially) the things you hate about yourself. Relationships aren’t easy, that was the part the writers got wrong, a big gesture won’t fix everything, there is no quick fix when things go wrong and you’ve got to really love yourself before anyone can love you. Some days I think it would be easier to walk through the world alone, as it’s a lot easier to lie to myself when the days get tough than it is to lie to Boyfriend.

But in the end finding someone who loves and appreciates you because of, not in spite of, your weird little quirks is the best feeling in the world. So what if I never wear matching socks or if I set my alarm clock in intervals of three or if I insist on calling penguins “pengins”? It’s all part of who I am and he loves me.

I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life and I hope that this is just the first of many more anniversaries.

This idiot thinks being gay is “scientifically wrong” because of magnets

No… Really.

Warning, this article contains some profanity because the author just can’t deal with this level of stupidity.

Chibuihem Stanley Amalaha, a post-graduate student of chemical engineering at the University of Lagos, has proven with magnets that gay marriage is fundamentally and scientifically wrong.

Thank God! I was getting so tired of only religious fanatics telling me I’m going to hell, it feels so good to be condemned by science.

But really, this idiot is also a religious fanatic, so take what you will from his science. His photo does show him holding beakers and wearing a lab coat, so we can assume that at some point in his life he was actually allowed into a laboratory.

When we learn a little more about this brainiac it turns out that he was “able to prove that the mathematical symbol pi which people thought of as 22 over 7 is not actually 22 over , but  rather a transcendental number while 22 over 7 is a rational number.” Since that makes no sense to me I will assume that it is real science — but since this guy is a hate mongering asshole I would advise any real scientists to take that equation with a grain of salt since he may have come to this new conclusion because he thought 22 could not be over 7 because they are both men.

Let’s move on to the science of gay marriage, shall we? In an interview with Nigerian newspaper ThisDay Amalaha describes the bigoted hatred that led him to research the scientific evils of gay marriage:

“In recent time I found that gay marriage, which is homosexuality and lesbianism, is eating deep into the fabric of our human nature all over the world and this was why nations of Sodom and Gomora were destroyed by God because they were into gay practice. That is, a man marrying another man and a woman marrying another woman.”

This doesn’t sound like science at all, but hipsters can give him props for later accidentally using an American Apparel t-shirt slogan accidentally when he says that France recent “legalised gay.”

“In the area of physics, I used physics with experiments, I used chemistry with experiments, I used biology with experiments and I used mathematics to prove gay marriage wrong.”

Wait, it gets worse. With this firm base of homophobic hatred he procceded to dick around in a lab with some magnets.

“A bar magnet is a horizontal magnet that has the North Pole and the South Pole and when you bring two bar magnets and you bring the North Pole together you find that the two North Poles will not attract.”

Magnets are not human beings, and as a matter of fact, women and men are not polar opposites. We are halves of the same species, the opposite of a man or woman would be dirt, or nothing, or a giant reptile alien.

Why am I even bothering to use rational, critical thinking against this? He is so incorrect it would be funny if he weren’t considered to be an intelligent person in Nigeria — a nation where it is currently illegal to be gay and, in the northern states, you face a death sentence by stoning if you are convicted of homosexual activity. No wonder Amalaha is a celebrated scientist, Nigeria is an awful backwards place.

But wait — there’s more!

He goes on to use “chemistry” and “math” and “biology” to prop up his hate!

“… if you use your biro and rub it on your hair, after rubbing, try to  bring small pieces of paper they will attract because one is charged while the other one is not charged. “

I would hope this is not what Bill Nye had in mind when he shoed us that rubbing a balloon on our hair causes static electricity.

“But if you bring an acid and you pour it on top of an acid chemistry there will be no reaction.”

As one commenter put it, “I wonder what monumental conclusions this guy will reach if someone brings him baking soda and vinegar.”

“We have never seen where a cock is having sex with a cock and we have never seen where a hen is having sex with another. Even among lions when you go to the zoo you find out that lion does not mate with a lion instead a lion will mate with a lioness showing that a lion being a male will mate with lioness being a female. Now if animals that are of even lower creature understand so much, how come  human being made in the higher image of God that is even of higher creature will be thinking of  a man having sex with another and woman having sex with another woman?”

At this point I am calling into question the entirety of the university he studies at. How is it possible for someone so monumentally stunted with little to no grasp of actual science, let alone fake-gay-bashing-science, is a post-graduate student?

Chibuihem Stanley Amalaha, should you Google your name and come across this article, here’s an experiment you should try: go eat a dick. Based on your obsession with gay people, I figure you might actually enjoy it.

He also has ambitions beyond his humble research into inciting hate:

“My ambition is to go beyond the sky. I want to reach the level God has destined me to reach. I want to be the first African to win Nobel Prize in science because as I am talking to you now African has ever won Nobel Prize in science.”

Good luck, dipshit.



Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.


Check out:

8 disgustingly homophobic tweets about George Smitherman’s missing husband

My tears over Sochi and the IOC

Terrifying threat letters sent to Kingston lesbian couple

10 questions with drag queen Barbie Jo Bontemps

“I love you”

There are three words in the English language that when strung together can make everything better; when someone that you love says, “I love you.” It’s like seeing fireworks for the first time everything is suddenly awash in brilliant colours, explosions and magic. But there are different kinds of, “I love you.”

Sometimes I look at Boyfriend needing to hear the words like a verbal hug, so I say I love you, not because I need to say it in the moment but because I need to hear it. Sometimes after a long day all you want to do is fall into your partner’s arms and hear the words that make a bad day or a bad week OK. It’s a little selfish but it doesn’t make your love any less real. Sometimes when I get home I just fall into Boyfriend’s arms asking for a hug; this isn’t any different, really.

Then there are the times when Boyfriend does or says something that reminds me exactly how much I love him and I have to say the words; they spill out of my mouth and I don’t even need to hear him say it in reply. Sometimes it’s because he’s dancing like an idiot, sometimes it’s because he does something sweet, most often it’s because he says something ridiculous. It’s a powerful thing to be reminded how much you love someone but it’s even better to say it without needing to hear it in return because you know how your person feels about you and it’s no longer a game of parroting the other person to avoid hurt feelings.

My personal favourite version happens to come with an edge of sarcasm, “I love you TOO, dear.” Is something I hear on a regular basis and while it doesn’t carry the weight or the support of the, I love yous, that came before it’s a more honest depiction of our relationship and it makes me smile. There will be plenty of time for heartfelt, tearful or weighty proclamations of love in the future; but the thing that makes us work has always been our similar sense of humour. If I tease him and he winks and gives me a slightly sarcastic, “Well, I love you TOO. Dear.” It makes me laugh and it epitomizes what has always made us great, we don’t take our relationship too seriously.

Love is an easy thing to take too seriously; it’s the emotion that has inspired the world’s greatest poems, sonnets and pieces of music its pretty intense stuff. Spike Jonze called it, “a form of socially acceptable insanity,” in his latest film and I don’t disagree. People in love do the dumbest things; you can’t be smart and in love you just have to pick one and hope for the best. But love, like sex, is so much better when you aren’t afraid to make a fool of yourself; when dancing around the kitchen in your underwear seems like a good way to spend a Sunday morning, when dinner turns into a food fight or when tickling each other until you scream and maybe pee yourself a little is a perfectly acceptable alternative to being on time.

Say I love you often, say it in when you need to hear it back or when you’re reminded just how much you love the person you’re with but never forget to add a little levity to the already heady sentiment.

How to maintain fabulous skin at any age

Some may say I’m too young to talk about aging, wrinkles, or sun damage, but I’ve always believed in being proactive when it comes to taking care of my skin. As the old adage goes, prevention is always better than cure.

I’m slowly creeping up on my 30s and I’ve started to notice the first signs of aging: bags under my eyes that don’t disappear with a good night’s rest and fine lines on my forehead. I’ve always had a nightly routine of moisturizing my face, neck, hands, and feet – the places I’ve been told that show the signs of aging first – but I realize that I’m going to have to be more diligent when it comes to protecting my skin. I’ve never opted for the expensive skin-care products, but instead stick with more traditional creams, ointments, and homemade remedies.

Fight sun exposure

I’m usually extra careful when it comes to being exposed to the sun for too long, and with summer fast approaching, it’s vital to be as vigilant as possible. As much as you need a dose of vitamin D, overexposing yourself to get an enviable golden tan causes the skin’s natural elastin to break down, causing wrinkles, sun spots, and even cancer.

Finding the right sunscreen is important. The key is not necessarily finding the highest SPF, but it’s important to look for a sunscreen that has multi-spectrum protection, including UVA and UVB. Once you’ve found it, use it and use it often, even in the winter when the UV ray index can still be high.
It’s easy to feel inundated with the number of options available to slow down the appearance of aging and revitalize your skin. Finding the right products or procedures for you is based on very individual criteria. However, there are certain things that are applicable to everyone at any age, such as regular facials, which can be performed at home if you don’t have time for a trip to the spa.

Diminish fine lines and wrinkles

If you’d like to pursue more aggressive options to curb the appearance of aging, then injections can be a great choice, instead of going the more invasive route. The most popular injectable is still Botox Cosmetic, which is a purified protein comprised of botulinum toxin type A; it relaxes contractions in certain facial muscles to diminish wrinkles and fine lines. However, many women dislike the severe effects of this product, which leaves some faces looking unnaturally smooth, taut, and, ultimately, expressionless.

For this reason, other injectables have become increasingly popular. One such product is Restylane, a natural filler that restores hyaluronic acid in the skin, which is similar to our body’s own naturally occurring hyaluronic acid. It can be used to decrease the look of wrinkles, create fuller lips, or rejuvenate the skin to keep your face looking refreshed, but not frozen. While they’re not permanent, injectable results can last for up to one year.

The power of makeup

Finally, when it comes to makeup, less will usually give you a more youthful appearance. As you age, start using oil-based cosmetics, as the powered options can settle rather than gliding over your face, which emphasizes lines and wrinkles rather than disguising them.

It’s inevitable that my skin will change as I grow older. However, by taking steps to prevent further damage, using specialized products that curb visible signs of aging, and choosing the right cosmetics for my skin, I know that these changes won’t stop me from looking fabulous.

Follow Tashika on Twitter at @tashikagomes.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @womenspost.

Accessibility: When it matters it matters most


The word every mobility troubled person loves to see. That big blue badge of a wheelchair like a shinning beacon that they can now enter the previously un enterable. But is this a god send or are some places actually not as disabled friendly as they first appear. Many a time I have laughed at the plainly obvious not accessible in the apparently all welcome venues. High curbs along side blue badge spaces — meaning it’s either heaving up the wheelchair or juggling stepping up a often steep curb on crutches or clutching a friends arm onto pavement. The alternative, dodging cars whilst wheeling along a sometimes very busy road until you reach the sacred corner where a lowered curb is thankfully placed.

Getting toes crunched by on coming doors is another beloved past time. When push to open buttons are placed next to a door which insist on opening into your outstretched wheelchair. I have never understood why these offenders never open away from the direction in which the blue button is pressed. But this made dash from an encroaching door can often be better than the alternative. No push button at all. The most hilarious place I have witnessed this lack of a common sense is on hotel doors which lead to accessible rooms. The room itself may be wheel friendly, but unfortunalety only those of superhuman powers can acsess. Thresholds are another troublesome fellar. Often testing the balance and strength of those on wheels. Attempting to push over a tiny lip of concreate or metal requires more skill than first believed and can leave the in need of flat surfaces feeling discharged that this blue friendly door has an elephant standing on its threshold.

Manners teach us not to discuss toilet habits. Mabye this is why disabled toilets can more likely be a flight of stairs covered in spikes when it comes to wheelchair friendly. Most are to small to swing a cat in let alone squeeze an wheelchair in. Trapping the poor soul inside their chair, unable to reach their destination. Hand dryers placed on back walls behind the toilet,mirrors to high, coat hooks nailed into the very heights of doors and having to share with baby changing fercilites all add to the list. Those ladies and gents don’t seem to shabby after all ?

Every shop has shelfs of items to buy or racks of sewn material to rummaged through. The space between these stacks of needed or wanted daily treasures are set for the walking. Leaving space for a two person shuffle can often mean those left of wheels are embarrassingly  left to stare at these isle, unable to pass through to reach the treasures. Many a time have I gone to grab something from a shelf, only to find wheels don’t fit. Leaving angry customers behind my stuck wheelchair as I try to revers out of this tight squeeze, bashing and banging shelfs and produce and toes in my quest for freedom. Insisting  items placed lovingly in stacks of the floor turn an ordinary shop into a mud run like    A obstacle  course. Being greeted my angry stares of shop owners as I struggle to manoeuvre  their annoyingly placed stock. As you can guess tiny independent shops are the most troublesome. Often ending in me sitting out side the door to the unreachable whilst my company run inside to retrieve there find. But some supermarkets can be just as bad. Mini supermarkets, supermarket extras and petrol stations seem oblivious to the size of a wheelchair. Hosting accessible doors and ramps, but leaving the inside a maze of obstacle  and abandonment.

These are just some of the unthought of non accessible in the so said accessible  world. Problems which are missed by those who have never experienced disability. And often passed as accessible when tested by the non disabled. They proved light laughter as most are glaringly obvious but that doesn’t take away from the inconvenience.

Road tripping: Sometimes it takes being trapped in the car together to find out what’s been bugging you

Last weekend Boyfriend and I road tripped up to Viamede Resort on Stoney Creek and while our weekend was absolutely perfect nothing helps you settle issues like being stuck in a car together for two and a half hours. When all you have is the open road, a couple of stops at Tim Hortons and Songza talking about anything that has been bothering you is pretty much inevitable.

Fresh from a brand new hair cut (that once again Boyfriend didn’t notic) I was struck by the fact that he almost never notices anything about me; I could dye my hair blue and he’d ask me how my day was before even mentioning the fact that I was sporting a smurfette inspired cut. There’s an old quote that shows up on many a tween’s angsty tumblr that all this reminds me of there’s a line in this drivel about the right kind of guy that says, “[Find a guy] who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats.” Which basically means that we should find men to date who won’t judge us for wearing sweats or lulus to the grocery store, I agree with this in principle, but when I spend $200 on a hair cut or spend hours getting ready for a date I want him to notice.

It drives me crazy that Boyfriend doesn’t notice when I put in effort, he says that it doesn’t matter because he always thinks that I look beautiful. Great! I’m glad that he loves me always, that he thinks putting on fake eyelashes is silly and that he’d probably leave me if I got a facelift or a tummy tuck; but it would be nice to be noticed. The effort I put into looking good matters to me and it would be nice if he noticed the difference between lazy lulus and hours spent trying to look great.

It sounds insane to complain about Boyfriend thinking I’m always beautiful, I know, but sometimes I just want to be noticed, I want to know that he’s attracted to me, I want him to want to tear my clothes off. If the skimpy black dress and sky-high heels is the same as cropped Lulus and chucks then why even bother? I know he thinks I’m smart and funny and beautiful but every once and a while it would be nice if he thought I was a damn fox.

Sometimes I miss the excitement that comes from flirting with a stranger I miss the rush of totally ridiculous confidence that comes from knowing someone who has never me thinks I’m sexy.

I love Boyfriend but just once I’d wish he’d notice all the time that goes into the plucking, waxing, painting, cutting and running. I don’t just wake up looking cute although if anyone develops a pill for that I’ll be the first in line.

Bad neighbours: Doug Ford’s comments on autistic youth group home show the dark side of NIMBY politics

While there were no reports of pitchforks and torches at last week’s Ward 2 community meeting the conversation between residents and Councillor Doug Ford amounted to nothing more than an angry mob chanting for them to get out.

The evil, awful threat to the neighbourhood so dangerous that Ford went beyond calling them bad neighbours to declare they they’ve “ruined” and “destroyed” the community?

Three challenged youths with autism.

The exclusionary politics of Doug Ford and Ward 2 residents is only the latest in a disturbing trend of selfish populism — and there is an important lesson to be learned here.

In the past three and a half years of Ford mayoral rule we’ve become accustomed to the chants of ME! ME! ME! defining political discourse. A small registration tax on vehicles to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for programs and infrastructure for the entire city? I can’t see how that directly benefits ME so I want it scrapped. Bike lanes along Jarvis? I have a misguided impression that this negatively impacts ME so I want them removed. New transit projects that serve a large portion of the city’s transit bound, low income service class residents? I don’t see how it helps ME so I want it cancelled. New subway stops? ME! ME! ME! I want them here by ME!

The attitude that your opinion is the best one and the right one is common enough in politics — rare is the politician willing to change their mind — but this attitude is sick evolution. The belief that one’s opinion is not only the best but also the only one that matters and should be heard is creeping out of Etobicoke backyards and into general discourse from both the right and the left.

Toronto has been gripped by an inability to compromise coupled with segments of the population terrified of change that doesn’t fit their own personal paradigm. The so-called Kensington Market Walmart, a big box development that would have been built beyond the fringes of the hipster neighbourhood enclave, was a perfect example of the same behaviour on the left. The screams of residents amounted to no more than those who opposed existing bike lanes. Only MY opinion of what makes a neighbourhood pretty and functional matters! Screw anyone who could benefit from a big shop on the outskirts of my area! No discussion! I’m right, the end!

The same crowd resurfaced after winning that battle to wage a war against a proposed Loblaws location at College and Spadina for fear it would hurt small businesses in the hip area more than regular brushes with city health inspectors could. Consumers, this group believes, don’t deserve the right to cheaper alternatives or even a choice of their own mind about where to shop for groceries.

Kathleen Wynne even bowed to the me-first-me-only crowd while unveiling a part of her pre-election transit plan: “I had said all along that funding has to be fair, I am not going to ask the people in North Bay to pay for transit in the GTA. That has never been part of our plan.”

Apparently in some grand misunderstanding of how a large regional government works the civics classes of North Bay never taught these folks that taxes from cities like Toronto help to pay for many a provincial service up there as much as their taxes could and should work towards better transit for Ontario’s cities.

Wynne was wrong to reinforce such ignorance as much as Karen Stintz and Adam Giambrone were wrong to reinforce this same model of us-versus-them over the Scarborough subway expansion debate.

It’s nauseating to listen to and frustrating the deal with. God forbid you find yourself stuck between these two polar camps of ideological intolerance.

The fruit of this attitude stoked is the hideous selfishness that came into full form at last week’s Ward 2 meeting, and while Doug Ford’s very public, raw, and crude views on the proper place of those born with disabilities (indoors and out of sight, just to be clear) are what make him the head of this beast it shouldn’t be forgotten that the arms, legs, body, and soul of this destructive creature come from the unbridled shortsightedness and selfish views of the neighbours who were tripping over each other to deliver their own damning rebuke of a group of children who, by all reasonable logic, should be treated with compassion and kindness even when we aren’t capable of giving the same to one another.

But reasonable logic has no place among the nastiest of the ME! ME! ME! crowd.

Take, for example, these teeming slices of humanity recorded from the meeting by the Etobicoke Guardian.

“This is not a place for mental people. This is a residential area. Why don’t you build a house out on a farm?”

“What do I say to my three kids under the age of seven when one of these kids freaks out?”

“This is a community for people, not for that.”

One thing is certain, the community has indeed been ruined. Not by a house for the incapacitated, as Doug Ford believes, but this community has rotted from the inside out with the virus of selfishness stripping the caring and compassion from the bone leaving behind the mouthy and pushy husk of a neighbourhood present at that meeting.

The news gets worse, the virus has already infected the city and provincial levels and has national and global aspirations.

In striving for the perfect quiet yard at the expense of excluding those most needing and deserving of a community’s compassion these folks did a fine job of destroying their own community long before the Griffin Centre ever opened its doors.



Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Deferred profit sharing plans

By Andre Domise

A Deferred Profit Sharing Plan (DPSP) is a nifty, group savings program that’s often overlooked and misunderstood. The DPSP, if you’re lucky enough to participate in one, is one of the most flexible and beneficial savings plans out there. Unlike the Defined Contribution Pension Plans (DCPP), you don’t actually put money towards the DPSP. All contributions towards a DPSP come from the employer.

Usually, the employer will pitch in a minimum amount of contributions, either based on your salary, or on the company’s annual profits. If they’re generous, they’ll give you a base amount of contributions, and then match the contributions you make into your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) with their own deposits to the DPSP. For example, with a 50% match, if you make a bi-weekly contribution of $100 to your company RRSP, you’ll see an additional $50 deposited to your DPSP.

Unlike a group RRSP, you don’t actually “own” the money in the DPSP. With an RRSP, you would be able to withdraw your savings as cash (with a tax penalty), or transfer the money to another institution. DPSP money, on the other hand, is held in trust for you by the plan sponsor (the investment company that sets up your plan).

You would usually need to participate in the plan for 2 years before the money becomes vested. If you leave the company or leave the plan before the vesting period, your employer keeps the DPSP money. Even after the vesting period, you would not be able to withdraw or transfer DPSP funds while you’re an active employee with that company. They don’t become available to you until you’ve left the company, retired, or left the plan.

There is a nice upside, though.

Unlike DCPP, the money in a DPSP is not considered “locked-in.” When you retire, you can actually transfer the DPSP balance over to your RRSP, creating a hefty nest-egg. You can also transfer the balance of the DPSP to your personal RRSP as cash. So, if you’ve made some wise investment decisions with your personal accounts, the DPSP can provide a nice boost to your retirement savings. No need to worry about how much money you can unlock while you’re retired. If you ran into unexpected financial difficulty, you would be able to draw from those funds as a last resort.

One thing to look out for: DPSP contributions trigger a pension adjustment (PA).The pension adjustment is a correction made to your annual RRSP contribution room, based on how much money has been deposited to your group retirement and pension plans. Before cutting a large cheque to your financial advisor for last-minute RRSP contributions, you’ll need to make sure the money deposited to your DPSP won’t put you over the limit.

What’s in your child’s lunch?

With public school students across the country already back in class, the release of Good Food to Go could not have come at the better time. Co-authors Brenda Bradshaw and Dr. Cheryl Mutch, who also wrote The Good Food Book for Families, are here to show that packing a healthy lunch your child will enjoy does not have to be difficult. Together they’ve create the ultimate resource in lunch packing, including recipes, tips, and the latest in health research, and medical studies. From using lettuce as a barrier against soggy bread to a demystification of the Canada Food Guide this book includes all of the knowledge necessary to make any parent into a lunch packing expert. And Bradshaw insists this is something everyone can do, no matter how busy their schedule is. All it takes is some time spent on meal planning and a weekly trip to the grocery store.

Research has shown that children are more likely to eat food that they have helped prepare. Bradshaw suggests involving kids in every stage of the process, including meal planning. Talk to children about the different food groups and help them brainstorm a list of foods that they like from each category. Let them pick out a few of these foods at the grocery store each week and find ways of involving them in their preparation, whether it be washing veggies or mixing up sandwich spreads.

Packing an age-appropriate lunch increases the likelihood that it will get eaten. For young children Bradshaw suggests picnic-style lunches, which incorporate small pieces of different foods that their short attention spans are less likely to find overwhelming. For older children sandwiches, wraps, soups and salads offer endless possibilities for variety.

Although it can be tempting to opt for processed options to save time, Bradshaw insists that homemade is always better. A recent study shows that 89 percent of foods marketed towards children are poor in terms of their nutritional content. They are usually high in sugar, low in fibre and almost none of them live up to the nutritional claims designed to entice health-conscious parents. Instead Bradshaw encourages making foods from scratch whenever possible. However, she explains that there are healthy grocery store options for some foods, like hummus, but notes the importance of always reading the labels.

Not only are most processed foods unhealthy, they all generate a lot of waste.  With the average school-aged lunchbox producing 67 pounds of garbage, Bradshaw and Mutch promote packing litterless lunches. This means that the only thing leftover when your child is finished eating is compostable, meaning that it will breakdown over time rather than spending decades or centuries in a landfill. By buying a reusable lunchbox and filling it with packaging-free, homemade foods parents can create lunches that are healthy for their children and the environment.

Although it may seem overwhelming, Bradshaw and Mutch have put together a guide that makes packing a child’s lunch fun and you might even find some inspiration for your own lunchbox.

This article was previously published on September 12, 2011.