With summer holidays underway, school routines like eating healthy snacks can go out the window.
During the school year, over 100,000 West Australian children have a daily break in the classroom as part of the Crunch&Sip program. The break is a set time for children to eat fruit and veg, and water bottles are accessible throughout the day.
This summer, Cancer Council WA's Schools Nutrition Coordinator Shannon Wright is encouraging parents to keep up Crunch&Sip breaks at home.
"The beauty of Crunch&Sip is that it requires very little or no preparation as it only involves eating fruit & veg," Ms Wright said.
"During the school year, kids don't want to miss out and teachers often tell us that students eagerly remind them that it's Crunch&Sip time. It's a great healthy habit for children to continue in the school holidays and stops them from snacking on less healthy options."
Jenny Atkins, a parent who supports the Crunch&Sip program, has made fruit and veg snacks a school holiday feature for her six year old daughter Mia, and believes it's important to develop good eating habits in childhood.
"Mia is used to having a Crunch&Sip break at school, so it makes sense to continue this healthy message during the holidays," Ms Atkins said.
"She has to snack on fruit or raw vegetables before she can have any other morning or afternoon tea. She knows that this is the rule and is used to it.
"It's especially easy over summer with all the fantastic fruit and vegetables available. Fruit is easy as she will pick up a whole one and eat it. Vegetables just need some cutting or offer cherry tomatoes where no cutting is required."
Crunch&Sip at home tips:
• While shopping, let children choose fruit and veg for their Crunch&Sip break.
• For younger children, pre-cut fruit and vegetables like apples or carrot sticks are easier to eat.
• For older children, have fruit and veg accessible, either in an easy to reach fruit bowl or in the fridge. Pre-cut melons on the top shelf of the fridge will catch the eye.
• Don't forget to sip water. Cold water or water with a small piece of fruit added can make it more palatable.
• Be a good role model. Kids are more likely to eat fruit and veg and drink water if adults are doing the same.
• Let younger children play with food. Make faces from cut up fruit and veg.
• Set kids a challenge, like how many different coloured fruit or veg can they eat every day.
• Encourage young children to prepare fruit and veg, such as washing, peeling, slicing.
For more information on Crunch&Sip, go to www.crunchandsip.com.au
Media contact: Hamish Beer, firstname.lastname@example.org or 9388 4384