- 31 January 2020
Getting your children ready to return to school for another year can be a busy time, but among the books, uniforms, bags and pencil cases it’s vital that you don’t forget healthy lunchboxes and of course sun protection.
Cancer Council has developed a list of tips to help mums and dads get ready for the new school year - remember Term 1 is also a peak UV period in the ACT.
1. Packaged snack foods are expensive and may be high in sugar, salt and fat – Instead, make your own snacks. Trail mix consisting of air popped popcorn is always a popular choice!
2. Plan ahead by preparing lunches the night before or while making dinner. This helps to avoid reaching for those unhealthy snacks when you’re in a rush to get out the door of a morning.
3. Freeze grapes, or cut fruit into unusual shapes to tempt fussy eaters. Encouraging children to make good choices from a young age inspires ongoing healthy eating habits.
4. Vegie sticks such as carrots, celery, capsicum and cucumber are long-lasting in the lunch box and can be paired with cream cheese or healthy dips like hummus or tzatziki for a delicious healthy snack.
5. Pack a full water bottle and make sure children drink plenty of it in the hot weather. A frozen water bottle or freezer block will help keep lunches cool.
6. Cook and freeze a batch of healthy muffins or savoury pikelets on the weekend and add one to your lunchbox each day.
7. Substitute white bread for wholemeal, grainy, rye bread or wraps or put some leftover dinner like pasta salad or home-made veggie rice in a container. Keep it cool with a ice cooler.
8. Ensure a hat that offers sun protection to their face, head, neck and ears, such as a bucket, broad-brimmed or legionnaires is part of your child’s school bag. Research shows that sun exposure during childhood contributes to a person’s risk of skin cancer later in life. It’s vital that kids a protected from the sun as they are at school during peak UV times.
9. Apply sunscreen to your child before they head off to school everyday and make sure that they have access to some at break times ie before lunch. Under the ACT Education Directorate's UV Protection Policy for Students Canberra public schools should have sunscreen in most, if not all, classrooms.
10. Remind your child/ren to seek out a shady spot at school while they eat lunch and play outdoors. Shade is their friend!
11. Clothing offers excellent protection against harmful UV radiation- consider light weight collared shirts with longer sleeves - longer the better.
12. Remember to share and educate children about the UV index (ie via the SunSmart App- or perhaps your school has a SunSmart Widget on its website). It doesn’t matter if it’s a cool or hot day, it’s UV that does the damage – not the heat. Children need to know that sun protection is required (and normal) when UV levels reach 3 and above.