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Brain Boxes Help Reduce Stress During Finals Week

Laura martorano brain boxes feature

The Brain Box is a wellness initiative that Campus Dietitian Laura Martorano developed for finals week, giving students a stress free and fun way to snack. These themed snack boxes, “Boosting Your Brain Power, One Superfood at a Time,” include a variety of snack items with brain-boosting nutrients and superfoods that give students the support they need during finals. Superfoods are foods rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help maintain and improve your health.

Brain Boxes developed by Campus Dietitian Laura Martorano
Brain Boxes developed by Campus Dietitian Laura Martorano.

This year’s Brain Boxes include dark chocolate covered almonds or pretzels, 88 Acre protein pack, Hu Gems, Orchard Valley trail mix, flavored tea packs and two special surprise items not sold in the markets. The snack boxes also include a free stress ball and a digital brain-boosting recipe guide. The items in the box contain on-the-go super snacks that provide energy and nutrients to keep students functioning at their best during what can be a stressful time. Students can use their dining dollars or Wolfie Wallet funds to purchase the Brain Boxes at the Emporium at East Side and the Market at West Side.

These boxes are a fun way to highlight healthy snacks that provide superfoods, antioxidants, polyphenols (micronutrients that naturally occur in plants), dietary fiber, protein and whole grain carbohydrates.

“Superfoods are important because they combat the damage to our bodies that can come from stress and they can reduce the risk of heart disease, improve memory, lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, regulate metabolism and protect cells and organs from toxins,” stated Martorano.

The Faculty Student Association (FSA) and Campus Dining want to ensure healthy snacks are readily available to make it easier to avoid junk foods. The convenience stores are stocked with water, seltzer, green tea and other healthy beverages to keep students hydrated. Dine-in locations provide daily hydration stations with infused waters (cucumber and mint, citrus blend, strawberry and watermelon).

During finals week, East Side and West Side dine-in offer a Strengthen Against Stress tea station. “Herbal teas may help reduce stress, anxiety, and may even help provide better sleep and a calmer mood,“ explains Martorano. Teas contain many benefits such as reducing inflammation, antioxidants to help protect the body from stress, antiviral and antibacterial compounds plus teas may reduce the risk of blood clots and high blood pressure. 

The spring semester offered many exciting wellness pop ups with the campus dietitian so that students could meet with her and pick up a healthy snack. Martorano also hosts weekly Teaching Kitchen programs, an interactive platform for students to explore food, culinary and nutrition literacy in a collaborative and team-building environment to positively impact food choices and experiences. The dietitian works with chefs and food safety managers to create an enjoyable experience for all students while educating on planning, cooking and eating better meals at home.

There are a variety of reasons to visit the campus dietitian such as overall nutrition and general recommendations, weight management, sports and performance needs, allergies and digestive issues, fad diets and diet trends or mindful eating. Students can request an appointment online for free nutrition counseling at any time throughout the year.  

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