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30 Gluten-Free Snack Ideas
At first, gluten-free snacks seem challenging, but really the list below looks very similar to what you might have eaten as a snack before you went gluten-free. Even though you might think these snack ideas are fairly obvious, generating even the most obvious ideas helps me keep a good supply of healthy and frugal snacks in the house.
1. Water- Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day to keep those hunger pains away. If you are dehydrated, you might think you are hungry when you are actually thirsty!
2. Sweet Potato Fries- Alexia makes a brand of frozen sweet potato fries that you can buy at SuperTarget or most well-stocked grocery stores. For a homemade version, try Gluten Free Cooking School’s Curried Sweet Potato Fries. You can serve sweet potato fries with Annie’s Organic Natural Ketchup or Muir Glen Ketchup- both are gluten-free and contain no corn syrup. You can find both at most grocery stores.
3. Frozen Grapes
4. Marinated Carrots- Buy sliced carrot coins and marinate them overnight with your favorite low-sugar vinaigrette.
5. Edamame- You can buy frozen edamame at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or Costco. When you get hungry, thaw a portion in hot water and squeeze lemon juice and sea salt over the top.
6. Natural Peanut Butter on Celery- you can also try a cream cheese version for calcium (Tofutti Cream Cheese for casein-free).
7. Toasted Pumpkin Seeds or Roasted Sunflower Seeds
8. Apple Butter on a Rice Cake- Since Apple Butter doesn’t actually contain butter, it is naturally gluten and casein free. Lundberg’s Rice Cakes are gluten-free, but Quaker Rice Cakes are NOT gluten-free because of cross-contamination issues.
9. Orange Slices-
10. KIND bars- You may want to save these for a special treat because they are a little pricey. You can buy KIND bars at Whole Foods or at Amazon.com.
11. Cold Cereal- Try Envirokidz Peanut Butter Panda Puffs (you can buy this cereal at Amazon.com, Whole Foods, or find it in some local grocery store chains) or Rice Chex at your local grocery store (make sure your cereal says gluten-free on the front of the box).
12. Chocolate Covered Dried Apricots/Bananas- Microwave 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate in 30 sec. intervals stirring until melted (or use double-boiler). When it is throughly melted, dip the apricots (halfway) or bananas (whole slice). Place the fruit on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper; sprinkle with crushed nuts. Put the cookie sheet in the refrigerator until the chocolate is set.
13. Dried Fruit with Nuts- Apples and Walnuts, Pineapple and Pistachios, or Apricots and Almonds.
14. Salsa/Pico de Gallo and Chips- You can use Lundberg’s Rice Chips (there are several varieties including Sea Salt flavor) or your favorite gluten-free corn tortilla chip.You can buy a premade salsa, like Muir Glen’s Cilantro Garlic Salsa available at Safeway. You can also make nachos with gluten free Barbecue sauce or salsa.
15. Hard-Boiled Egg- Nothing screams low-carb like a hard-boiled egg, but it can be a satisfying mid-morning snack.
16. Pesto with Almond/Pecan Nut-Thin Crackers- Pesto can be made casein-free very easily with almonds, walnuts, etc. For crackers, try Almond or Pecan Nut Thin Crackers or Mary’s Gone Crackers.
17. Popcorn- Some consider it a junk food, but homemade popcorn in moderation is not that bad! Try adding nutritional yeast, which adds valuable B vitamins. Dairy Free Cooking has a spicy looking recipe that includes nutritional yeast.
18. Apricot Sorbet- The fast, un-gourmet way: Buy 2 (15 oz cans of fruit). Drain one can of fruit. Put the drained fruit and the undrained fruit with syrup in a Ziplock freezer bag. Freeze for 6 hours. Process in food processor until smooth. Freeze for 1 hr. Let stand at room temperature and then serve. Serves 4.
19. Tomatoes with Salt- Kalyn’s Kitchen has a recipe for Rosemary salt.
20. Waffle Sticks with Natural Peanut/Almond/Cashew Butter – You can make frozen gluten-free waffles and top with peanut butter and raisins, sesame seeds, extra peanuts, or fruit. A better alternative is to make homemade whole grain gluten free waffle sticks and freeze them for a great snack.
21. Larabars- These are expensive like all health bars, but they are wonderful when you are in a pinch and very hungry! You can buy them at Whole foods or at Amazon.
22. Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans- Gluten Free Gobsmacked has a recipe for Fried Chickpeas. Chickpeas are packed with protein and they have a high fiber content, which prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after consuming this yummy snack.
23. Corn Tortilla with Pinto Beans/Guacamole- Corn Tortillas are a staple for celiacs and the gluten-intolerant, so they had to make the list! Karina’s Kitchen has a recipe for Joey’s Kicked up Rockin’ Guacamole.
24. Smoothies- Any way you like them!
25. Pepperoni- Hormel makes a gluten-free pepperoni. Not exactly fat-free, but a few pepperonis make little boys smile!
26. Lettuce Wrap- Bibb Lettuce with tuna (try Cindalou’s recipe); or wrap hummus in lettuce like Vegan Momma.
27. Cookies, Muffins, or Breads- Bake on the weekends and freeze baked goods to have on-hand during the week. Prepackaged gluten free convenience foods are inferior to homemade because gluten free baked goods can be made healthier and cheaper at home. Gluten free baked goods are hard to keep fresh on a store shelf because they have a shorter shelf life than their gluten counterparts. Check out Gluten Free Food Reviews for Karen’s opinion on some of the gluten-free snacks you can buy in the store or online.
28. Juice Popsicles- Elise at Simply Recipes has a how-to on making juice popsicles. These are great for kids in the summertime.
29. Brown Rice Tortilla Wraps- Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas do the trick as long as you microwave the tortilla until warm.
30. Soup- If you make homemade chicken stock every week, you can make soup in a snap. A good store-bought gluten free soup is Thai Kitchen’s Garlic Vegetable Instant Soup.
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Succeeding in School:
Stress Boosts Performance for Confident Students, but Holds Back Those With More Anxiety
ScienceDaily (Aug. 9, 2011)
Knowing the right way to handle stress in the classroom and on the sports field can make the difference between success and failure for the millions of students going back to school this fall, new University of Chicago research shows.
"We found that cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress, can either be tied to a student's poor performance on a math test or contribute to success, depending on the frame of mind of the student going into the test," said Sian Beilock, associate professor in psychology at UChicago and one of the nation's leading experts on poor performance by otherwise talented people.
She is the author of "Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting it Right When You Have To," released this month in paperback.
In a new paper published in the current issue of the journal "Emotion," Beilock and her colleagues explore the topic of performance failure in math and show, for the first time, that there is a critical connection between working memory, math anxiety and salivary cortisol.
Working memory is the mental reserve that people use to process information and figure out solutions during tests. Math anxiety is fear or apprehension when just thinking about taking a math test. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland and associated with stress-related changes in the body; it is often referred to as the "stress hormone."
Tracking math anxiety in students
Beilock and her team tested 73 undergraduate students to determine their working memory capacities and their level of math anxiety. They also measured cortisol levels (via a saliva sample) before and after a stressful math test. They published the results in a paper titled "Choke or Thrive? The Relation between Salivary Cortisol and Math Performance Depends on Individual Differences in Working Memory and Math Anxiety."
Among students with low working memories, there was little difference in performance related to either cortisol production or math anxiety, the study found. Students with lower working memory exert relatively less mental effort to begin with, researchers found, so taking a stressful test didn't drastically compromise their performance.
Among people with large working memories, those who were typically the most talented, rising cortisol either led to a performance boost or a performance flop -- depending on whether they were already anxious about math. For students without a fear of math, the more their cortisol increased during the test, the better they performed -- for these confident students, the body's response to stress actually pushed them to greater heights. In contrast, for students with more anxiety about math, surging cortisol was tied to poor performance.
"Under stress, we have a variety of bodily reactions; how we interpret these reactions predicts whether we will choke or thrive under pressure," Beilock said. "If a student interprets their physiological response as a sign they are about to fail, they will. And, when taking a math test, students anxious about math are likely to do this. But the same physiological response can also be linked to success if a student's outlook is positive," she further explained.
In other words, a student's perspective can determine success or failure. Students can change their outlooks by writing about their anxieties before a test and "off-loading" their fears, or simply thinking about a time in the past when they have succeeded, her research has shown.
Taking an exam brings on a different kind of pressure than when a student recites a memorized speech before classmates or an athlete plays before a packed stadium, other research by Beilock and her team demonstrates.
Why people choke under pressure
In another paper published this month in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Beilock and her colleagues identify, for the first time, different ways in which people can fumble under pressure. They also suggest remedies. The work, which was based on a series of experiments with several hundred undergraduate students in varying stressful situations, is reported in the paper "Choking Under Pressure: Multiple Routes to Skill Failure."
The experiments explored two theories of why people choke: One holds that people are distracted by worries, and as a result, fail to access their talents; another conversely proposes that stress causes people to pay too much attention to their performance and become self-conscious.
"What we showed in these experiments is that the situation determines what kind of choking develops. Knowing this can help people choose the right strategy to overcome the problem," Beilock said.
In the case of test-taking, good test preparation and a writing exercise can boost performance by reducing anxiety and freeing up working memory. The kind of choking prompted by performing before others calls for a different remedy.
"When you're worried about doing well in a game, or giving a memorized speech in front of others, the best thing to do is to distract yourself with a little tune before you start so you don't become focused on all the details of what you've done so many times before," she said. "On the playing field, thinking too much can be a bad thing," she further explained.
The work in the two papers, as well as research for the Choke, was supported with grants from the National Science Foundation. Co-authors for "Choking Under Pressure" were Marci DeCaro of Vanderbilt University, and Robin Thomas of Miami University and Neil Albert of UChicago. Joining Beilock in writing "Choke or Thrive?" were Andrew Mattarella-Micke, Jill Mateo and Katherine Foster of UChicago, and Megan Kozak of Pace University.
University of Chicago. "Succeeding in school: Stress boosts performance for confident students, but holds back those with more anxiety." ScienceDaily, 9 Aug. 2011. Web. 10 Aug. 2011.
The breathing patterns of patients who are anxious or stressed are often shallow and rapid. Upper chest and neck muscles tend to be used for breathing, instead of the abdominal muscles.
With respiratory biofeedback, belts with sensors are placed around the chest and the abdomen of the patient, whose breathing pattern is visualized on the computer screen.
The therapist teaches patients how to relax, breathe using the abdominal muscles, and to breathe slowly and deeply to alleviate the anxiety.
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TV Viewing, Video Game Play Contribute to Kids' Attention Problems, Study Finds
ScienceDaily (July 7, 2010)
Parents looking to get their kid's attention -- or keeping them focused at home and in the classroom -- should try to limit their television viewing and video game play. That's because a new study led by three Iowa State University psychologists has found that both viewing television and playing video games are associated with increased attention problems in youths.
The research, which included both elementary school-age and college-age participants, found that children who exceeded the two hours per day of screen time recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics were 1.5 to 2 times more likely to be above average in attention problems.
"There isn't an exact number of hours when screen time contributes to attention problems, but the AAP recommendation of no more than two hours a day provides a good reference point," said Edward Swing, an Iowa State psychology doctoral candidate and lead researcher in the study. "Most children are way above that. In our sample, children's total average time with television and video games is 4.26 hours per day, which is actually low compared to the national average."
Collaborating with Swing on the research were ISU's Douglas Gentile, an associate professor of psychology and Craig Anderson, a Distinguished Professor of psychology; and David Walsh, a Minneapolis psychologist. Their study will be published in the August print issue of Pediatrics -- the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics -- available online on Monday, July 5.
Studies on elementary, college-aged youths
The researchers assessed 1,323 children in third, fourth and fifth grades over 13 months, using reports from the parents and children about their video game and television habits, as well as teacher reports of attention problems. Another group of 210 college students provided self-reports of television habits, video game exposure and attention problems.
Previous research had associated television viewing with attention problems in children. The new study also found similar effects from the amount of time spent with video games.
"It is still not clear why screen media may increase attention problems, but many researchers speculate that it may be due to rapid-pacing, or the natural attention grabbing aspects that television and video games use," Swing said.
Gentile reports that the pace of television programming has been quickened by "the MTV effect."
"When MTV came on, it started showing music videos that had very quick edits -- cuts once every second or two," Gentile said. "Consequently, the pacing of other television and films sped up too, with much quicker edits."
He says that quicker pace may have some brain-changing effects when it comes to attention span.
"Brain science demonstrates that the brain becomes what the brain does," Gentile said. "If we train the brain to require constant stimulation and constant flickering lights, changes in sound and camera angle, or immediate feedback, such as video games can provide, then when the child lands in the classroom where the teacher doesn't have a million-dollar-per-episode budget, it may be
hard to get children to sustain their attention."
The study showed that the effect was similar in magnitude between video games and TV viewing.
TV, video games may contribute to ADHD
Based on the study's findings, Swing and Gentile conclude that TV and video game viewing may be one contributing factor for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.
"ADHD is a medical condition, but it's a brain condition," Gentile said. "We know that the brain adapts and changes based on the environmental stimuli to which it is exposed repeatedly. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to believe that environmental stimuli can increase the risk for a medical condition like ADHD in the same way that environmental stimuli, like cigarettes, can increase the risk for cancer."
"Although we did not specifically study the medical condition of ADHD in these studies, we did focus on the kinds of attention problems that are experienced by students with ADHD," added Swing. "We were surprised, for example, that attention problems in the classroom would increase in just one year for those children with the highest screen time."
Swing points out that the associations between attention problems and TV and video game exposure are significant, but small.
"It is important to note that television or video game time cannot solely explain the development of attention problems," he said. "Clearly other factors are involved."
The researchers plan to continue studying the effects of screen time on attention. They also hope future research can identify what aspects of television or video games may be most relevant to attention problems.
Iowa State University. "TV viewing, video game play contribute to kids' attention problems, study finds." ScienceDaily, 7 Jul. 2010. Web. 11 Aug. 2011.