Healthy Snacks on the Go!

For most families, summer is a really busy time of year. We are running from work to summer camps to the pool and everything in between. If your kids are anything like mine, things fall apart quickly when we forget about snack time! Nobody wants a hangry child to deal with! In addition to warding off cranky moods, snacks play an important part in our diets. Children should be eating every 2-3 hours. They have smaller stomachs and can’t eat as much at one sitting. Snacks are also a great opportunity to sneak in an extra serving of fruits and veggies or low fat dairy. When making snacks, try to always include food from at least two different food groups. It is also a good idea to include protein in your snack – it will keep you feeling full longer. So before your next outing, grab one of these snacks to eat on the go!  

Photo by Kristen Kaethler 
  • Whole pieces of fruit: apples, bananas, peaches, pears  
  • Unsalted nuts 
  • Dried fruit 
  • Whole grain crackers 
  • Peanut butter  
  • Plain popcorn  
  • Low-fat mozzarella sticks (if you eat them right away or have a cooler) 
  • Fruit pouches  
  • Cut up veggies: carrot sticks, celery, whole cherry tomatoes  
  • Whole grain pita chips 
  • Low fat yogurt pouches (if you eat them right away or have a cooler) 
  • Whole grain muffins  
Photo by Christian Wiediger

*Of note, some of the above are not age appropriate for young eaters. Toddlers should not be eating nuts, popcorn, hard uncooked veggies or round foods like whole grapes and whole cherry tomatoes because these are choking hazards. You can cut tomatoes and grapes in half or in fourths to make them safer to chew.  

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Move your body as a family!

Physical activity is important for everyone of all ages. If you make a habit of exercising every day at a young age, you are more likely to continue that habit throughout your life. Just like adults, it is recommended for children to get 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. This can be done all at once, or broken into small sessions throughout the day. Physical activity helps build strong muscles and bones, maintain a healthy weight, and helps with coordination and concentration.  

As most parents know, children learn by example. If you lead an active lifestyle and find ways to be active in your daily life, your children will want to join in. There are so many fun activities for the family when the weather is nice! Your kids won’t even realize they are exercising! Always remember to stay hydrated, especially when the weather is hot and you spend long periods of time outside. So grab a bottle of water and try one of these activities today!  

  • Swimming  
  • Bike riding  
  • Outdoor walk or hike  
  • Roller skating 
  • Sports: soccer, basketball, football, volleyball, anything that gets you moving! 
  • Play a game of tag  
  • Go to a playground or splash park  
  • Work together in a garden or do yard work as a family  
  • Have a dance party 
  • Walk the dog  
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Do you really have to go?!

To say that we will miss Carlin Barber is a ridiculous understatement.  She began volunteering with the PB&J Fund in 2014 through Madison House, the student volunteer center at the University of Virginia.  In my role coordinating volunteers, I was fortunate to inherit a volunteer like Carlin when I joined PB&J in 2016. After graduation, Carlin joined us as an intern.  Later, we were thrilled to have her return to the team after an international adventure teaching in the Dominican Republic.

Carlin will be starting graduate school at Vanderbilt University this fall.  As a former high school teacher, and now as a supervisor of volunteers, I have been asked to write a fair number of letters of recommendation over the years. Writing one for someone like Carlin is a piece of cake.  I can recall writing “I’d clone her if I could. She’s that volunteer.” 

Most recently, I was contacted by phone about a job Carlin applied for in Nashville.  It was easy to speak to specific skills and qualities. She’s smart and professional, funny and kind, a real dream colleague, and we will miss her so much this fall.  At the end, the employer asked if I had anything else to add. I said, “I think it’s pretty clear that you’d be a fool not to hire her” and laughed. The interviewer chuckled and said, “That’s what I was thinking.  All my calls are not this easy.”  

We will be sad to see Carlin go at the end of the summer, but we are proud of her for following her heart into teaching.  Having watched her with our students over the years, we like to think that PB&J played a small part. 😊  Please join us in expressing our utmost gratitude and best wishes to Carlin Barber as she starts her next adventure!

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We <3 Bellair Farm!

This week’s cukes and carrots from Bellair!

Summer is our favorite produce season at the PB&J Fund. We love to see the bright colors of fresh fruits and vegetables. We always try to buy local produce for our summer classes and highlight one new vegetable or fruit each week. This year we purchased some produce from Bellair Farm which runs a CSA in Charlottesville. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. While some families may choose to buy a “share” of 22 weeks of vegetables, you’ll also find Bellair at both the Meade Market and Charlottesville City Market where any one can buy vegetables! 

This summer we will buy kale, summer squash, zucchini, basil, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes and bell peppers from Bellair. During our first week of programs we were able to take our Boys and Girls Club classes out to the farm so they could see where our food is grown. The students learned about the types of vegetables grown at Bellair and a bit about organic farming. We walked through some of the fields to see peppers and tomatoes that will soon be ripe. They even had a chance to try fresh green beans from the field. The best part of the field trips was a chance to hold and pet two week old bunnies! Thank you to Miss Chelsea, Miss Emily, and Miss Meg for the great tours!  

Even if your family does not buy food from a CSA, like Bellair, there are lots of ways to buy locally grown vegetables in Charlottesville. Most grocery stores place signs on items that are locally grown or made. Our friends at the Local Food Hub are also trying to make locally grown produce more available to all families through programs like Fresh Farmacy or their partnership with the Emergency Food Network. We hope you love summer fruits and vegetables just as much as we do! 

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