Healthy recipes for your next Summer barbecue

Recipes for a truly healthy Summer Barbecue!

With Graduation season here, Mothers’ day in a few weeks and Summer right around the corner, its about time to fire up the grill! If you are trying to eat healthier but don’t want to miss out on barbecue parties in the backyard here are some health conscious recipes to help you out…


Summer Pasta Salad

1 pound dry pasta

1 small yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and diced

1 small red bell pepper, seeds removed and diced

1 small orange bell pepper, seeds removed and diced

1 large seedless cucumber, chopped

1 (12 oz) jar artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup store bought balsamic dressing (use your favorite brand)

½ cup sliced almonds

1/3 cup finely chopped basil

Salt and black pepper, to taste



·        Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain, then rinse with cold water to cool.

·        In a large bowl, combine pasta, peppers, cucumber, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes. Pour the balsamic dressing over the pasta salad and gently stir to combine. Add the almonds and basil and stir again. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Chill until ready to serve.



Black bean burgers

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup diced red onion

1/2 cup diced bell pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 jalapeño, minced

2 cups black beans

1/2 cup corn

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/2 tsp. cumin

2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup flour


·        In a saucepan over medium heat, in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, sauté the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeño for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

·        In a mixing bowl, mash the black beans, then add the sautéed vegetables, corn, and bread crumbs and mix well. Season with cumin, cilantro, and salt and mix again.

·        Shape into 6 patties, then coat each in flour.

·        Place a pan over medium-high heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Cook each patty for about 5 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.


Grilled corn

1 cup coconut oil or Earth Balance brand margarine

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 Tbsp. minced parsley

1 Tbsp. minced basil

1 Tbsp. minced chives

Cayenne pepper (optional)

4 garlic cloves, crushed

6 ears corn, husked


·        In a small container, combine the margarine, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, chives, and garlic. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

·        Spread the herbed margarine over the corn, covering completely. Wrap in aluminum foil and grill for 15 to 20 minutes, turning often, until cooked thoroughly. Great on its own or add to salsa or salad!


Avocado Lime Popsicles

2 ripe avocados, diced

1 cup warm water

½ cup agave syrup

3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Pinch of salt


·        Dissolve agave nectar in warm water; pour into blender pitcher. Add avocados, lime juice, and salt to blender; blend until smooth. Pour avocado mixture into ice pop molds to about 1/3 inch from the top.

·        Freeze until completely solid, about 6 hours.



Mineral Deficiency

     Often when we think about a balanced diet we focus primarily on macros, calories, and portion size. Mineral intake is not necessarily something that everyone considers. Minerals play an essential role in all of our bodily functions, so its worth keeping in mind! Mineral deficiencies can lead to a variety of health concerns such as nerve damage, skin problems, lowered immunity, high blood pressure, headaches, fatigue, and more. While mineral deficiencies are not a huge concern for most people, it is something to be aware of if you have any of these symptoms. Often people will seek medical treatment because they think it is a more serious health issue, instead of analyzing their diet and making proper adjustments there first. Many health-related issues can be resolved easily with simple dietary and lifestyle changes. There are a few main minerals that we are often lacking in, so to help, here are some tips to make sure you get enough of each.


Zinc can be found in many beans, legumes, and whole grains. But it is important to note that phytic acid found in these plants can hinder zinc absorption. By soaking or sprouting grains and beans before cooking, the phytic acid is reduced.


You can find iron in leafy green vegetables, pumpkin seeds, whole grains, lentils, peas, and dried fruits. Adding foods rich in vitamin C will also help iron absorption.


Iodine is primarily found in the ocean, so sea vegetables are an excellent source of this mineral. Most table salt has iodine added to it, but if you are watching your sodium intake you may be at risk of a deficiency.


Dark green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, bok choy, broccoli, as well as fortified plant milks are great sources of calcium.


Dietary sources of magnesium include; whole grains, nuts, dark chocolate, and spinach.

     Please note that anyone can be deficient in any vitamin or mineral, these are just the most common. The easiest way to prevent a nutrient deficiency is to eat a variety of fresh, whole foods. Most of us can get more than enough minerals from a balanced diet, but if you are struggling with keeping track of it all then taking a supplement is a good option. There are a multitude of supplement options on the market, but I prefer the Vega brand simply because they are a widely respected brand that uses quality plant-based ingredients and values environmental sustainability. All of their products are certified vegan and they have a huge variety to fit each persons needs. I would warn against supplementing for iron and calcium however as it is best to get these minerals from dietary sources.

More about mineral deficiency here:

Vega brand vitamins and supplements:

Feeding Our Children Right

     Everyone wants their kids to be healthy. With childhood diabetes and obesity on the rise, the consequences of bad dietary choices can be devastating. Obviously, it is best to start making health a priority at a young age, but how?

     First of all, no one is too young to be eating healthy. Balanced nutrition is just as important to a breastfed baby than a teenager. Studies show that breastfeeding moms who eat fast food 5 times a week or more had much higher saturated fat content in their breastmilk than moms who didn’t eat fast food. Make nutrition a family priority and everyone will benefit.

     When the time comes to put your child on solid foods there are numerous opinions on the "best way". Ultimately it is up to you and your baby on what works best for you. But don’t buy into the hype that you have to buy all of the packaged "snacks" like cheese puffs and crackers. It is just as easy to steam a carrot and mash it up as it is to go to the supermarket and buy a puree that likely has added sugar or preservatives. Often the babies fed these food products from infancy become picky eaters because they were not exposed to a variety of textures and flavors early. If you are super constrained on time a good option is the website You can also find great baby food recipes here.

     The number one tip for helping your kids make better food choices is to avoid "kid foods". Have you noticed that these "kid foods" are the most processed, colorful, sugary, and preserved foods in the grocery store? Why are fruit rollups and lunchables targeted at children who are likely not going to be able to pronounce most of the ingredients? The food companies rely on the parents to give in to their childs pleading and buy them these "foods" that have little nutritional value and lots of scary additives. A good rule is to only buy items if the child can identify all the ingredients.

     How about if you already have a picky eater? We all have foods we don’t really like, and that’s ok, but if your childs list of foods they wont eat is longer than the list of foods they will then you might have a problem. The number one thing to do is KEEP TRYING. Every few years our tastebuds change, maybe the child needs to try the food in a new setting or prepared differently.

     Another suggestion is to get your child involved with the growing, buying, and preparing of foods. Fruits and veggies always taste better when you grow it yourself. Especially if it is a food that looks a little funny (like broccoli), it might help for the child to see the growing process and how the plant grows to look like what we find in the grocery store. There are a ton of community classes and activities at community centers where kids can become "junior chefs" like the top chefs they see on TV. A subscription service I recommend is KIDSTIR which sends meal kits to your home that helps teach your child about culinary arts and makes cooking a fun family activity.

What is a "diet"? And why does it matter?

You really ARE what you eat!


We have all heard this old saying before- “you are what you eat”, but how true is it? When one talks about their “diet” they are usually referring to a temporarily restricted eating pattern. There are more fad diets out there to count and there always seems to be a new trendy diet that all the celebrities swear is the secret to losing those last few pounds. The truth is there is no miracle diet. Furthermore, your “diet” is not something you are temporarily practicing, but rather the food patterns you practice over time.

By definition, a diet is “the kinds of food a person habitually eats”, and the original Greek translation literally means “a way of life”. If you look at it this way your “diet” is not just what you eat, but encompasses your entire lifestyle. This includes everything you consume, not just food. It is the TV shows you watch, the conversations and company you keep, what you read, the things you buy, the music you listen to, and so much more!

In this sense you are not just what you eat, you are also what you buy, watch, work with, discuss, listen to, and encourage. As consumers and global citizens we tend to identify ourselves as individuals by our social engagements and belongings. We become aligned with the values of the things we support and become a reflection of everything we consume and surround ourselves with.

If you look at your “diet” in this way you can see that you are really doing yourself a disservice by adopting trendy fad diets or being overly restrictive or indulgent in certain aspects of life. It is all of our personal responsibilities as global citizens to be aware of our influence and strive to reach our full potential. The things you fill your body, mind, soul, home, and time with is what is what you will have to give back to the world. Be mindful of how you feed yourself- body, mind, and spirit.



Practicing Mindfulness Meditation


To mindfully meditate is to be in the present moment. You’re not thinking about your past or worrying about your future, but you are living in the present moment. During meditation, thoughts will pass and this is okay. The key to this is to only acknowledge these thoughts, but do not label them good or bad. Try not to label them as anything as you are trying to focus on the here and now.

To practice mindfulness meditation, you need to find a quiet and comfortable place where you will not become distracted. While you are sitting there notice how your upper body feels. How does your lower body feel? Notice the tension spots without labeling them good or bad, just notice them. What is your breathing like? Is it shallow and fast, or heavy and slow? These are all the physical signs to acknowledge, but not label, while you’re meditating. Once you have noticed how your body is responding go ahead and drop your gaze. Focus on something that is right in front of you, or you can close your eyes if you would like. The main goal is just to be in this moment. If thoughts come to you while you are mindfully meditating acknowledge them and push them to the side. Go back to focusing on the present. Once you are done with the meditation take a few moments to notice everything around you, including yourself. What do you notice about your environment that you didn’t notice before? How does your body feel? What thoughts are on your mind now?

Practicing mindfulness meditation has so many benefits that everyone should try it. It can improve memory, increase focus, and reduce stress, just to name a few. You can practice this anywhere that you feel comfortable and you can even practice living mindfully in everyday life. Meditation has helped me reduce stress in my life and live a simpler productive life. It also helps with chronic illnesses because it has many physical benefits that come with practicing it as well such as reducing blood pressure, improving circulation, slowing down your heart rate, and putting the body in a homeostasis state.

Blog Contributor:

Ashley Jerzak

Facebook: Ashley Word-Jerzak

Twitter and Instagram: @mywindingroad17

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