Your Healthy Backyard BBQ Menu

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Summer is in full swing.  


If you are like me there is a good chance you are having a few backyard BBQ’s.

Luckily you don’t have to chose between staying healthy and having a fun cookout. I have collected some amazing healthy BBQ recipes that you can pick and chose from in order to put together the perfect cookout menu. 

The perfect healthy BBQ menu should have a limited amount of sections to keep things manageable:

  1. Apps/finger foods that are out when guests arrive
  2. Make-ahead salads
  3. Food for the grill
  4. Simple desserts

My BBQ style usually includes asking for volunteers to bring an appetizers or dessert. There are no rules that say you have to do everything yourself. Asking for folks to bring a dish not only makes things easier to manage but helps keep your BBQ within a reasonable budget. Hopefully.

But it is all up to you. Whether you are providing all of the food or just some, there are enough recipe ideas here to get you started and keep you HEALTHY. 

Let's get started!


Appetizers and finger foods:

  • Chips and salsa. This is always a classic and in the summer months you can usually get your hands on some pretty delicious tomatoes to make the salsa yourself. This salsa recipe has simple, healthy ingredients and is always popular. 
  • Veggies and dip. If your mission is to keep your BBQ a bit healthier avoid chips, pretzels, and other unhealthy noshes and stick with veggies. A veggie tray with a dip or two are not only a nutritious alternative but also looks stunning. A delicious greek yogurt dill dip is a great choice (I would use full-fat yogurt though.) Or maybe, one of my favorites, a delicious hummus! If you want to really WOW the crowd, try this roasted beet hummus for some fun color and delicious flavor! 
  • Guacamole. Again, you can't go wrong here. Guacamole is a healthy and easy dish you can make in minutes. It is always popular and you can pretty much guarantee you won't have leftovers. Here is a basic recipe for this yummy BBQ starter dish. 

You might notice that my choices for BBQ starter dishes are all cold ones. They are things I can grab out of the fridge, add some finishing touches and lay they out for guests. One thing I do not want when hosting is lots of extra time stuck in the kitchen. So why not keep the menu simple and easy to manage? 


Now for the main course which we have divided into the next two sections.


Make-ahead salads:

  • Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad. Maybe it is because I live in the garden state and have fresh corn to my left and right all summer long, but I love fresh corn salads at a BBQ. This recipe is simple and loaded with healthy ingredients. The fresh cilantro is clutch! 
  • Quinoa Salad. This salad is packed with protein and tons of other nutrients. Not only is it seriously healthy, it is pretty, too. This recipe is pretty simple, too. Any vegetarians at your cookout will appreciate this one. 
  • Cabbage Salad. I make this salad, or one just like it, pretty often. Although it is has a short ingredient list and is probably the easiest salad I make, my kids LOVE this! It is the salad my mom always asks me to bring to her backyard cookouts, too. A crunchy cabbage salad like this one is a great addition to your BBQ. 
  • Beet Salad. Beets are so healthy. They promote good heart health and are full of antioxidants, among other amazing benefits. I would cook the beets for this recipe ahead of time and mix together this salad right before putting it on the table. 


For the grill:

  • Grilled Swordfish. This is my new favorite fish and I absolutely love it on the grill. This recipe is a suggestion with simple seasoning but you can keep it even simpler and just do a little olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper. Tastes great every time. 
  • Chicken Thighs. Chicken thighs are a great backyard BBQ menu item. They are easy to grill and easy on the budget. This simple recipe is an easy way to wow your guests. 
  • Shish Kabobs. Not only is this a fun BBQ dish to include on your menu but this recipe is the best! It walks you through everything and makes shish kabobs a no-brainer. 
  • Turkey Burgers. No backyard cookout is complete without burgers. If you want to stick with a bit of a healthier plan you could go with some turkey burgers to switch it up. This recipe is pretty tasty and not difficult at all. You can even make these ahead of time, freeze them, and defrost them before the big day! 


Simple desserts are last but not least:

  • Minted Watermelon Pops. Holy moley, this recipe is magic. This will work for both kids and adults. And I will confess. I am not just using this recipe when I have company. This is too good to wait for a special occasion! 
  • Fruit Salad. I mean, no recipe necessary but if you insist, try this one! 
  • Healthy Strawberry Kiwi Pops. Another simple recipe that you can make well ahead of your actual event. You have to love it when you can make your healthy life even easier! This is a recipe we make throughout the summer. It is cool, delicious, and made with some pretty healthy ingredients. 




Hopefully you have a gathered some great ideas for your next healthy backyard BBQ. If you would like to share your own ideas or tell us how your outdoor event comes together, join us in the Real Mom's Collaborative, an online community for moms on a healthy mission. We would love to see you there. 


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Simple Salad Dressings That Take Your Salads To a New Level


At some point in adulthood we realize Mom was always right, we really DO need to eat our veggies. 

Everything we read, watch and absorb leads us to the conclusion that we can't achieve our healthiest self without focusing on veggies. 

One of the easiest ways to make sure that you are getting a big, healthy serving of veggies each day is by eating a fat and colorful salad almost daily.

If you want to be sure that you actually eat your salad, be sure to fill your salad bowl with all of the veggies you love to eat.

Something else you can do to keep your salads interesting and something you look forward to eating is by mixing up the salad dressings you are using. There are more and more healthier dressings on the market these days that use minimal ingredients and are still full of flavor.  We want to be careful about the dressings we choose however. It really is a shame to chop up a nutritious salad full of the healthiest raw veggies only to drown them in artificial flavors, preservatives, and trans fats. 

To avoid this you have 2 choices: read your labels carefully OR make your own simple but delicious dressings right from home. 

Today I am sharing 5 simple and oh-so-delicious salad dressing recipes that are perfect for your next salad or the bottom of your mason jar salads:


Olive Oil & Lemon dressing

This dressing is so simple but the garlic and lemon add all the right flavors to any salad. I love this dressing and make it often! 


Green Goddess dressing

Personally I prefer my green goddess dressing without mayonnaise. This healthier version is a preference for me. 


Mustard Salad dressing

Like mustard? Add a little spice to your salad with this easy to whip up dressing. I bet you have all of the ingredients at home now! 


Creamy Cilantro-Avocado dressing

I love avocado and anything with avocado calls my attention. This is an easy and fun dressing with tons of flavor. The cilantro is another bonus! 


Ginger Sesame Vinaigrette

I love venturing away from my standard olive oil for salads. This dressing uses one of my favorites, sesame oil, as well as some other amazing ingredients to create a delicious dressing.


There you have it! 5 simple dressings that use pretty wholesome ingredients and enhance your salad. A good dressing will keep you looking forward to your next nutritious salad! 





5 Quick & Healthy Dinners for Your Busy Week

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Just like any other busy mom, my weekdays and nights are jam packed.

Work, physical therapy, PTA, household chores, after-school activities, gym, errands.... and don't even get me started if a child (or two or three) should fall ill.

But still, busy or not, I try like hell to prioritize having a healthy dinner on the table for the family and myself. 

I know this is a priority for you too. 

I also know that when our schedules are a little extra crazy we start thinking that the only way to survive is by ordering takeout or some similar option that temporarily bumps us off of our healthy track. 

It has happened to me too.

It doesn't have to be that way and that is why I am sharing 5 quick & healthy dinner recipes for when the schedules are overflowing and time is short. 

Each of these recipes is easy, healthy, and can be prepared in 10-, 20-, or 30-minutes. 

You'll pat yourself on the back after one of these dinners, I promise. 


Fish in Parchment Paper

Fish and veggies. You can't get much healthier than that. So simple and delicious, this is an easy way to stay on track during a busy week. This is really easy to put together and absolutely delicious.

10-Minute Sausage and Veggie Skillet

The really nice thing about this recipe is that there isn't even much chopping or prep work. I can have everything ready and into the skillet in just a few minutes. All in all, everyone is well fed in under a half hour. 

10-Minute Asian Zucchini Noodles

So here is the thing with this recipe, if you are really pressed for time, you can BUY pre-spiralized zucchini in almost every supermarket these days. You can shave off some extra time that way if you need to. Have some leftover chicken or other meat? Add it in! This is almost too easy to believe! 

Chicken "Rice" Bowl

Again, if you are pressed for time, many supermarkets have pre-riced cauliflower in the produce aisle which will make this recipe even faster and easier for you. This recipe is overloaded with veggies making it extra nutritious. Plus it has tons of flavor so everyone is happy! 

No-Cook Avocado Tuna Wraps

No cooking? How much easier can life get? Skip the bread and the store-bought mayo for this healthy meal that is easy to take on the go. Make this once and I bet it will become a staple in your house. 


Being prepared with healthy recipes during a busy week gives you the upper hand. You can stay on track. You can reach those health goals. Be sure to join our community to get a little extra inspiration and motivation!