Wellness Week provides trail mix to encourage healthy finals snacking

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By Evan Silvera
For the Mitzpeh
@esilvera23

As part of Maryland Hillel’s Wellness Week, students and organizers hosted “Trail Mix Tuesday,” an event that allowed students to make bags of trail mix in an effort to relieve stress from finals.

About 15 students came to enjoy trail mix composed of M&M’s, granola, dried cranberries and peanuts at the event, which took place Tuesday on McKeldin Mall from 1-2 p.m.

“Hillel wanted to emphasize the fact that it’s there as a support system not just religiously, but also with respect to concerns about taking mental breaks, and as a safe space,” said Lauren Kershenbaum, a sophomore studio art major.

Kershenbaum said she drew inspiration for the idea of Trail Mix Tuesday from a sorority’s event she attended at Pratt Institute, the school she attended before transferring to this university.

“It was really cute and I had a really good time, so I thought it would be a good idea to bring to Hillel – just making trail mix,” Kershenbaum said.

Sophomore Jewish studies major Aliza Silverman said she came to the event because she wanted “to chill with people and get a little break from finals.”

Students enjoy trail mix as they unwind from the stress of finals week. Evan Silvera/Mitzpeh.
Students enjoy trail mix as they unwind from the stress of finals week. Evan Silvera/Mitzpeh.

Jane Jakubczak, who works for this university’s Health Center in nutritional services, said traditional trail mix is a “nutritious and beneficial” snack because it contains essential fatty acids.

“A lot of our brain is actually formed by fat,” Jakubczak said, “So, we need essential fatty acids for our brain to work correctly.”

But Jakubczak cautioned students from eating too much trail mix as a stress management technique.

“Like anything, it could be really healthy or not so healthy,” Jakubczak said. “ If one is eating a lot of trail mix kind of mindlessly, without paying attention to how much they’re eating, their calorie intake could really soar.”

Jakubczak said eating can be an ineffective way to reduce stress because students often overeat, which leads to weight gain. Instead, Jakubczak emphasized the importance of snacking in a healthy manner.

“Making sure you’re giving yourself fuel about every two or three hours is really important,” Jakubczak said. “But what I recommend is to take a snack break, so kind of step away from your studies, have a snack, and go back to them.”

Kershenbaum said this practice aligns with Hillel’s objective in the Wellness Week activities, as the goal is “to make people think they can take a few minutes out of their day and they don’t have to constantly be studying, because that’s not such a healthy way to go about finals.”

Hillel Springboard Innovation Fellow Jessa Cameron said the timing of finals week made sense for Hillel to kick off Wellness Week, as it sets out to teach students how to destress.

“This came out of an idea to bring more mindfulness and self-care to our programming,” Cameron said.
The remaining Wellness Week events include Workout Wednesday, which Hillel will hold on McKeldin Mall tomorrow at 7 p.m., and Tea and Relax Thursday, which will take place in the Rosenbloom Hillel Center Conference Room at 5 p.m.

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