Food for Thoughts

College o DuPage Nursing Student Rana Shubbak wrote for Healthy Lombard that a majority of the American population, including children and adults, have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic one way or another. Other than the financial crisis that many Americans have dealt with, mental health is an issue that has been overlooked and seldom discussed. Nearly all families have dealt with the struggle of remote learning and work commitments from home. Juggling school, work, caring for children, and managing finances are all factors that can take a toll on mental health. There are many things that can be done at home during the pandemic to help improve mental health.

A place to begin to improve health is diet. According to a recent article by Brookie and colleagues (2018), a diet comprised of a higher quantity of raw fruits and vegetables is rich in micronutrients and associated with improved mental health. Once vegetables are cooked or processed many of the important micronutrients are lost. Chai et al., (2019) recently found that only about 54% of families consume food from non-fast-food outlets each month. Processed foods and fast-food not only contribute to obesity but other long-term health issues. Consuming fresh raw fruits and vegetables is not only healthier but saves time and money as well. A time-saving strategy is to wash and cut up favorite fruits and vegetables, such as berries or cucumbers, then placing in a container the night before work or school or on an ongoing basis for a convenient snack. Since this healthy snack has already been prepared it is available and convenient. Nutritious snacks not only improve overall health and save time but also improve one’s mood (Brookie et al., 2018). It is best to consume vegetables raw since boiling or cooking results in reduced nutrient content. To add flavor to raw vegetables, use dips such as peanut butter, ranch dressing or hummus that come in a variety of flavors. Read more


Little boy looking at camera with smileTHE RISE AND SHINE NEWSLETTER shared the following information about medication poisonings in kids, poison control centers, and poison help resources available to you.

Why is this important to you as a parent or caregiver?

Medications are the leading cause of child poisoning today. Each year, half a million parents call poison control because their child got into a medication they shouldn’t have or took more of their medication than prescribed. And those are the kids we know about! More children get brought to the Emergency Department for medication poisonings than for car crashes.

What exactly are we talking about when we say “medicine”?

Medicine can be prescribed by a doctor or purchased over the counter (OTC). Examples can include adult medicines, vitamins and supplements, children’s cough and cold medicines, children’s gummy vitamins, eye drops, and diaper rash products. Don’t be fooled into thinking over-the-counter medicines are safer than prescriptions. Both can cause serious harm to kids. Most poisonings in kids come from medicines you can buy without a prescription, like pain medications and anti-allergy medications. Read more

Flu Shot for the Kids!

College of DuPage Nursing Student Niro Nazareno shared with Healthy Lombard that in a recent article entitled, 5 Reasons Kids Need Flu Shots Every Year, Falusi (2019) recommends children in the U.S. get a flu shot every year. Parents are often concerned, however, about the safety and side effects of the flu shot. The flu is a dangerous, contagious virus that may cause illness or death (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2020) and infect the nose, throat, and lungs, is clearly demonstrated.

The Flu Makes Kids Very Sick
Some ask why the flu vaccine is recommended. Flu season peaks from October to May (Falusi 2019). The flu is not just an ordinary cold, it is actually dangerous; it is very contagious, and a child may end up in bed with a high fever, painful cough and body aches for more than a week. Your child may be able to overcome the flu, however, since they are surrounded by others, they may spread the virus even when not experiencing symptoms. The flu virus changes frequently, so a child may still catch a strain of the virus if they do not have an updated vaccine. Overall, it is best to get a flu shot. Read more

Know the signs of childhood asthma

Uzma Muneer, D.O. with a specialty in Pediatrics wrote for Edward-Elmhurst Health that it’s upsetting to see your child coughing, wheezing or, even worse, struggling to breathe.Pediatric asthma is the most common serious chronic disease in infants and children, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

In children with asthma, the lungs and airways become inflamed when exposed to certain triggers. Asthma symptoms can interfere with school, sports, sleep, and daily life. Unmanaged asthma can lead to dangerous asthma attacks and damage to growing lungs.

Many children with asthma also have food allergies, skin allergies (e.g., eczema), or hay fever. Children with a family history of allergies and/or asthma and frequent respiratory infections are also at greater risk for pediatric asthma. Also, low birth weight and exposure to secondhand smoke before and/or after birth can increase risk.

While symptoms can begin at any age, most children with asthma have their first symptoms by age 5. Not all children wheeze; sometimes the only symptom is a chronic cough. Other children have symptoms only when exercising.

Read more

How to Get Your Kids Outside and Active this Summer

girl going for a wlkWriter Sierra Powell asks, “Have you ever wondered what to do with the kids after a long day in school?”   Some actives can either be fun, recreational, or educational to keep your children occupied. Some of these activities help your kids develop spatial, science, reading, Math, and writing skills every day. The advantage of some activities after school can be so much fun they won’t know they are learning.

DIY Creations

Since schools can be a whole day of sports and academia, students might come home tired and mentally exhausted. A little fun won’t be wrong to break the dullness. For you to make sure children stay proactive, it’s essential to keep them on a schedule of activities this Summer. It’s vital to find fun activities and chores to instill discipline through duties and activities.

It’s good you provide them with random recycled materials, scissors, glue and tell them to create a bridge or a different idea that you might have.

Chalk Drawing on the Sidewalk

After children have spent their day indoors in rigorous academic learning, there is nothing wrong with spending some time outdoors. A good game you can introduce to your children Is drawing objects on the sidewalk and let them guess.

After spending all day inside and focus, it is great to spend some time outside after school. We like to play one game to guess the picture with the sidewalk and let the others think about what the images stand for. Chalk Drawing boosts the children’s creativity to turn a word into a picture and be an “outside the box thinker.”

Chalk Drawing helps kids learn to think creatively to turn a word into a picture and think out of the box and think of ways to enable their team to attempt to know the word. If you happen to have enough kids, you can vary the game and play it in groups. You can even introduce spelling words and vocabulary in a fun way.

Make a Snack!

Children, in general, love treats. The evening hours can be a great time to instill kids with skills to create snack recipes and follow them keenly. You win as a caregiver if you label anything as a treat since it gets them exciting. Snack preparation serves as a double duty to teach your kids basic cooking skills and follow instructions and cook.

A good snack recipe I would suggest is peanut butter energy balls. Read more

Sleeping for two

Edward-Elmhurst Healthy shared in its Healthy Driven Bog that We’ve all heard of the saying “eating for two” when you’re pregnant. Now health professionals are highlighting the importance of “sleeping for two.”

For moms-to-be, the effects of poor sleep go beyond irritability, exhaustion, and poor concentration. Research suggests insufficient and low-quality sleep during pregnancy can disrupt normal immune function and lead to birth-related complications.

One study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that expectant moms who slept less than six hours a night had longer labors and were 4.5 times more likely to have a cesarean section compared with women who slept seven hours or more.

Another study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found a link between poor sleep during pregnancy and complications at birth, including low birth weight and preterm birth. The study also found that women with depression were more likely to suffer from disturbed sleep, and vice versa; and the combination of the two increased the risk for birth complications.

Even knowing the importance of sleeping well during pregnancy, it’s easier said than done. Hormonal changes, discomfort, frequent bathroom trips, indigestion, and anxiety can all disrupt the quality and quantity of sleep. Read more

Maintaining a Healthy Pregnancy

College of DuPage Nursing Student  Ana Dedescu wrote for Healthy Lombard that whether it’s a “surprise” or a planned pregnancy when the decision to have a baby becomes final, congratulations are in order! The first step is to schedule a prenatal visit with a healthcare provider. This is the longest visit so adequate time for it is necessary; it includes an interview, a physical examination, and laboratory tests. It is probably a good idea to write down questions or concerns to ask the doctor. Some questions that are relevant for a prenatal visit include:

  • What medicines can I take during pregnancy?
  • When should I start taking a prenatal vitamin? What kind is best?
  • What foods to avoid eating?
  • How much folic acid do I need to take each day?
  • How can I prevent or reduce swelling?
  • How much weight should I gain while pregnant?” (

After the first visit, the health care provider will set a regular schedule for visits to occur monthly before 28 weeks; every 2 weeks between weeks 28 and 36, and weekly from weeks 36 to delivery ( Read more


Xiaoyan Song, PhD, MBBS, MSc, is the Director of the Infection Control/Epidemiology at Children’s National Hospital and an Investigator in the Children’s National Research Institute.  She asked in the “Rise and Shine” Blog, “Grandma got her COVID vaccine, can we visit her without masks and give her hugs? If not, what precautions should we take?”

It is wonderful that grandma has received her coronavirus vaccine. The vaccination will boost grandma’s strength to fight against the viruses if she comes across them. With the vaccine, grandma is at a much lower risk of becoming sick with COVID-19 and having a serious infection. All of this is great news for the family.

What’s even better news is that grandma doesn’t have to wear a mask when you visit her, as long as everyone visiting is from the same household. If you can ensure that, then you can enjoy a visit to grandma’s house without a mask. Read more

Understanding the Bully

Sarah Mattie, the Content Production Editor at shared with Healthy Lombard that bullying is an idea that strikes anger in parents’ hearts and exasperation in the minds of teachers and others who work with kids.

If you’re a parent and your child tells you they’re being bullied, your immediate response is likely to defend your kid. Perhaps you even thought—or said—the bully is a “bad kid.” That’s a totally reasonable reaction. You don’t want your child to hurt.

If you work in a school, chances are you’ve sat through countless professional development sessions being told about the effects of bullying and learning about your school’s “zero-tolerance policy.”

But in both cases, it’s possible you still felt a bit helpless. If you work with kids, you may know zero-tolerance policies don’t work, posters saying “be a friend, not a bully!” do nothing, and punishments are often disproportionately used against students with special needs and who identify as BIPOC and LGBTQ+. If you’re a parent, you aren’t there to help at school, and you can’t hover over a smartphone 24/7.

Often, the talk about bullying focuses on “victims.” But what if some of the focus was shifted to the “bullies” themselves? When we talk about other dangerous situations, like criminality, we care about the victims’ welfare—but we know interventions are needed for the perpetrators. Only they can truly stop their own behaviors.

This article explores the nature of bullying, why kids engage in bullying behaviors, the long-term consequences if the underlying issues aren’t addressed, and steps you can take to help those who bully before it’s too late. Read more

Announcing the NEW (Pandemic EBT SNAP Benefits (P-EBT) Program for Kids

Did you know that P-EBT is a temporary food benefits program operating during the COVID-19 pandemic and that P-EBT provides benefits to all eligible children without needing to apply?  This is because, due to schools going remote/hybrid, the children didn’t receive their school meals.

The P-EBT Program will reimburse families who qualify for Free/reduced meals.

And Beginning in March 2021, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) in collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will issue P-EBT benefits to families with eligible children for the 2020-2021 school year. So, families receiving the regular SNAP and non-SNAP households can qualify for P-EBT benefits.

The P-EBT cards being issued to families will be initially loaded, for meals missed from the beginning of the 2020 school year (Aug /Sept) to December 2020, and reloaded periodically until after the school year ends in May/June 2021.  So once a family receives this card, they need to hang on to it and access the funds as they are deposited.

Along with the DuPage Federation, the Northern Illinois Food Bank put together an easy Flow chart for the families to see if they qualify and what their next step should be (available in English, Spanish, Arabic Polish, Urdu & Zho).  There is also a FAQ sheet that goes into details of the program—in an easily understandable way.  The FAQ is available in English & Spanish.   There is also a Flyer more Specific to SNAP (bilingual).

Please click on the links above to access these documents.

Read more