Your Healthy Backyard BBQ Menu

grilling .jpg

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. 


green beans.jpg



Summer Self Care Essentials

I didn't include an awesome sun hat on my originally list, but I am starting to regret that...

I didn't include an awesome sun hat on my originally list, but I am starting to regret that...


I already adore this season: my kids are home, schedules are more relaxed, days are longer, fresh fruit and veggies are everywhere... what's not to love?

Besides all of the regularly-scheduled awesomeness, I always like to set some professional and personal goals as a new season begins. (If we have been acquainted for a while, you probably already know that about me.) 

For this summer, one of my personal goals is to recommit to self care. In fact, I would say I have made a pretty serious commitment to self care this summer. 

It is safe to say that self care is an important part of my life already, but like any busy mom some things get put off, postponed, shortened, replaced, or any other 1,000's of ways we can be going along and suddenly realize, oops, something is missing. 


This recently happened to me in a conversation.


So there I was, just minding my own business moving through the day-to-day of my busy life. A mom friend of mine was discussing crazy schedules, stress, and all the fun that comes with motherhood. When we finally began discussing stress management and self care, she innocently said to me, "You dry brush everyday, right?" 

Well, wait. 
I didn't this morning.
I didn't yesterday either. 
You know what?
I guess I haven't actually used my precious dry brush in a few weeks. 
Omg, a few WEEKS!?! How did THAT happen?


See, there was this HUGE block of my life when I did, indeed, dry brush every single day. 


And it was lovely.


Then there was those few days when one of the kids were sick, then I was sick, then our schedules changed, then they changed again, then we went away for the weekend,... 

...and now here we are. WEEKS since I last used my dry brush. 


I know I am not alone.

Life just runs us round and round sometimes and when we stop and check in, we realize a few things have gotten neglected. 

No big deal, it is totally normal. And the only way to deal with it is to embrace where you are, release the guilt, and start anew. 

For me it is with self care. If you are like every single other mom I know, you have got a little extra room for self care, too. 


What kind of things do you need to make summertime self care awesome? Let me show you a few simple things! 


So naturally this is where we are going to start. You can join me in a serious re-commitment to dry brushing on a daily basis. You can rest assured that there are even more positive benefits to this healthy habit that go beyond what you can see and feel. 

Check out more info on dry brushing in this quick read.  



Ready to add some self love and positivity to your life? Then you oughta grab these sassy affirmations. Starting your day with an affirmation is something that sets the tone for the rest of the day. I see the difference in my day when I make time for this each morning. These cards are so darn cute you can even incorporate this into a family activity this summer. 



Mamas, no summer would be complete without letting go of all stress and responsibilities while sitting on the beach. In the summer, this is the ultimate in self care. Grab your beach chair, fill up your water bottle, grab the sun screen and dig those toes in the sand. 



Whether you create a summer habit of gratitude journaling or daily reflections, grab a journal like this one and head outside. Spiral bound journals are perfect if you are writing in the yard, on the front porch during the sunrise, or even at the beach. 


Nothing oozes self care like a luxurious bath at the end of the day. I love these homemade bath bombs because they are made with some of my favorite things, like shea butter and essential oils. Believe me, if you don't make time for this it will never just go for it! 

A summer of self care can absolutely happen outside of these fun extras that you might include. Creating a morning ritual of setting intentions, quiet mediation, and a healthy breakfast is just one simple way you can make it happen. 


Only you know where you want to begin. 


After you spend some time thinking about your own personal summer of self care, be sure to share with me and other health-conscious moms in our online community, the Real Moms Collaborative. It is the perfect spot if you need any more inspiration, some motivation, or accountability! 



The Healthy Mom's Guide to Being Summer Ready


Summer is one of my favorite times of the year. 

  • More time with the kids.
  • Longer days
  • Being outdoors like ALL the time.
  • BBQs
  • Summer fruits
  • Beach time
  • Hiking
  • Gardening

Where does it end? There is just so much to love about summer. 

Like the beginning of all of the seasons, this is a natural time for me to rethink and refocus, sort of making a plan in my head of how to approach the next few months. Often I set new goals and intentions. I rethink meal prep since I rely less on my crockpot and more on tossing things on the grill. And there is more. 

No doubt you are thinking about some of the same things. 

Because I am all about making HEALTHY so much EASIER for the busy mom, I thought putting a few ideas and strategies in one place would be useful for us all.

So, here are somethings you might be thinking about as summer approaches and some ideas and strategies for making them work for you. (With a healthy twist, of course!) 



One thing I adore about summer is how EASY it is to eat healthy! In the colder months I rely heavily on my crockpot and do a lot of meal prep on Sundays. In the summer I still do my planning and meal prep on Sundays but it consists of a lot more make-ahead salads that we can eat all week after we toss something on the grill as well as the planning of what is going on the grill and when. (So much simpler.) 

I love these ideas for salads you can make on Sunday but eat all week. 

These idea pair so nicely with a piece of fish that you can broil up quickly or some chicken tossed on the grill. It all keeps healthy meals SIMPLE.

Another healthy and easy salad idea is having "Salad Bar Sundays" (or Saturdays.... or Mondays. It really doesn't matter!) where you can just lay out all of the ingredients and, if your kiddos are old enough, everyone can make their own salads for lunch or dinner. We usually have a few rules like "You must have one of every color + a spoonful of whatever protein", but basically everyone is in control of their own plate. And you can make up whatever rules work for you. 

Oh! Here is one more idea I have to share! With the warmer weather I love having breakfast picnics are a fun idea as well. It is an easy way to give your kids lots of healthy choices and enjoy the fresh air early! Take a look at how we put together a simple outdoor breakfast picnic, this is just my favorites. 

If you are looking for even more ideas on healthy summer food ideas, consider joining us in our free online mom community, The Real Moms Collaborative. It is a one-stop spot for healthy ideas, recipes and motivation that will supply lots of healthy inspiration all summer long. 



Here is another part of my life I think just gets easier in the summer. The warmer weather means the family and I are outside so much more. And there are TONS of ways to stay fit and active. We take walks and hikes, play catch or tag, ride our bikes to the playground and more!

The ideas are endless.

In fact, here are 15 more ways you and the family can stay active this summer. 

And truthfully, with many of us on a more relaxed schedule throughout the summer, this is a great time to find yourself an accountability partner. Your girlfriend/neighbor/bff is more likely to say YES to an evening run, Saturday morning tennis, or weeknight laps at the high school track. All you have to do it ASK! 



Setting intentions around our children is usually something that happens right about now as well, Whether those intentions are about maintaining academic accomplishments from the last school year or maintaining some healthy habits throughout the next few months, there is usually something we are thinking about moving forward. 

For academics, there are a few things on my personal plate, one of which is maintaining my children's reading stamina. So they will all get reading logs and reading first thing in the morning will remain a part of our morning routines. 

Mom, if you need some inspiration for your own summer reading list, here it is. 

There are also so many inspiring summer bucket lists for kids that I love. This is just one that I that I wanted to share with you. A quick google search might reveal more that suit your family even better. 



As you are gearing up for an amazing summer, I hope this guide helps you get ready. There will be so many more updates so make sure that you stay connected by joining our email community. (Of course there is a free gift if you do!) 

Talk soon!