Fighting Cancer & Boosting Brain Power through Food
Across Ohio, students face standardized testing during the month of March!
Whether it is the Third Grade Guarantee, Ohio Achievement Test, OGT’s or the new PARCC exams, test anxiety has been on the rise since practice testing began in October.
Keys to help students achieve success include getting a good night’s sleep and making sure the student has a nourishing breakfast. Easier said than done, right? Especially when a family is managing the cancer journey! This month’s theme for KidShop & TeenShop is aimed at helping students take responsibility for the important pieces they can be in control of.
KidShop & TeenShop participants learn about mindfulness. By better understanding what we can be in charge of, allows us to “let go” of unnecessary worries. Discussions focusing on the research behind getting a good night’s sleep & having a good breakfast helps students learn how this may help in more areas than testing.
Many children & teens who have a loved one battling cancer struggle with big emotions and especially big worries. We’ve taken time to learn & practice distressing techniques that kids of all ages (including adults!) can use before beginning their tests, difficult chats with parents or teachers, job interviews and college entrance exams. Participant’s comments include: I need to practice this breathing exercise every day – this makes me feel good! and can the breathing help me fall asleep? Children & teens are encouraged to teach other family members so they can all practice together.
Making their own trail mix, participants learned about Omega 3’s, antioxidants, fiber, protein & more. Omega-3 fatty acids help protect your heart. Studies show they help maintain brain function. It’s important to get these nutrients from food and not supplements.
When making their snack size bags of trail mix, children & teens practiced mindfulness by only using one teaspoon of each ingredient they wanted to include. We also talked about how to make trail mix from items they might find in their home (see photo below). Many tasted dates for the 1st time and most thought these were “s w e e t!” Soynuts and sunflower seeds were reviewed and tasted…and liked! Ingredients don’t have to cost a lot & can be found at your local Marc’s, Big Lots, Trader Jo’s and your local grocery stores that sell bulk items.
Trail Mix Recipe
Dates (diced), Raisins, Craisins, Any dried fruits, Banana Chips, Soynuts, Roasted Pepita seeds, Sunflower seeds, Any whole grained cereal, Granola, Dark chocolate chips, Pretzels, Popcorn, M & M’s for fun – but only a teaspoon!
Put a teaspoon of each or the items you like in a ziploc bag or plastic container and enjoy.