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3 Healthy Recipes for Your May Long Weekend Barbecue
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Who doesn’t love long weekends spent with friends and family in the sunshine celebrating an extra day off of school and work?! My absolute favourite way to unwind and reconnect with the people I love most is by throwing a backyard barbeque…fresh air, good laughs and great food!

As a nutritionist hosting foodie get-togethers I am always looking for healthy recipes, but as a Mom I also need to make sure they are tasty enough for my children to dig in to as well. We all know the typical BBQ fare: cheeseburgers, hot dogs, creamy macaroni and pasta salads—and we also know how eating these foods makes us feel…gassy, bloated, thirsty, and craving more processed, high-sodium or sugary foods.

So I have created a few recipes that will leave your guests gushing about how delicious, vibrant and fun your event was and that your children will also enjoy.

For your base meal plan you can still offer up typical BBQ grub but with a healthier twist. Try sourcing grass-fed, grass-finished beef for your burgers or purchase organic turkey to make turkey burgers. Swap out processed hotdogs for nitrate-free sausages; you can still have your pasta salad but choose gluten-free pasta, top with mixed veggies and toss with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper and fresh herbs instead of a thick creamy dressing. So that you won’t be left missing that creamy texture, grumble some goat cheese on top for the extra va va voom effect.

Instead of a creamy potato salad, im going to be dishing out a Grilled Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad instead. I plate this colourful salad on a white platter layered with fresh Boston or Bibb lettuce to build what my guests refer to as the focal point of the table at meal-time. Gorgeous, filing and makes for great leftovers.

Did you know that sweet potatoes are rich in B6, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, potassium and carotenoids? They are the perfect addition to any meal or salad to add an extra hit of colour and mega dose of nutrients.

I use US organic Sweet Potatoes for this recipe and most of my sweet potato recipes, especially when our short season for these beauties has ended. Most people roast their sweet potatoes but for this recipe I pulled out my Philips Infrared Smokeless Grill to get the job done. The barbeque intimidates me so I prefer using my indoor, much easier to clean grill instead. It heats up quick and cools down just as fast.

Instead of having bowls of salted peanuts or mixed nuts out I like to offer my guest something different to nibble on. With so many children having dangerous nut allergies I don’t even like taking the risk so I have found these delicious Coconut Chips from Thirsty Buddha that my kids absolutely LOVE. For them they like the original or chocolate flavor and for me I love the spicy hit of the Wasabi flavor. It feels so good knowing they are getting a great non-GMO, plant-based healthy food into their bellies without a ton of sugar. A big bonus is that Thirsty Buddha is a Canadian company to boot.

No BBQ is complete without a cocktail or two. Being the health-conscious girl that I am I created this hydrating version of a cocktail using coconut water as the base instead of sugary pop or anything artificially sweetened. My Skinny Colada Cocktail with muddled mint and lime is the perfect flirty drink for kicking up your heels without overdoing it with sugar and calories. Plus it makes a great alternative to pop for kids when served without alcohol.

Turkey Feta Burgers

Makes 4-6 patties depending on size.

You’ll Need:

  • 1 pkg organic, ground turkey
  • ½ cup goat feta
  • 1-2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • fresh herbs and spices to your liking

Prep and Cook:

  1. Combine all ingredients to form patties and grill. You do not need eggs or breadcrumbs to hold these together.
  2. Use your Hamilton Beach Smokeless Grill to grill until clear juice runs and you achieve your desired taste, texture and flavor.
  3. Serve on a gluten-free bun or on top of Boston or Bibb lettuce and garnishes of your choice.

Grilled Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

Serves 8 (as a side)
Prep Time: 20 minutes

You’ll Need:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 head of Boston or Bibb lettuce (for the platter display)
  • 1 can organic black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can organic baby corn kernels, rinsed
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • ½ cucumber, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 4 large radishes, finely diced
  • Handful fresh basil, chives and parsley for garnish
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • ¼ cup capers
  • 2 avocados, halved, pitted and diced
  • Your favourite vinaigrette or healthy dressing, to taste

Prep and Cook:

  1. Arrange lettuce on your platter.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add all of your prepped vegetable ingredients together (minus the herbs).
  3. Drizzle some dressing and toss.
  4. Spoon the salad mixture over the lettuce-covered platter and top with avocado, hemp seeds, capers and freshly chopped herbs.
  5. Pour the rest of the dressing over top and let sit until you are ready to serve this gorgeous dish up to your guests.

Skinny Colada Cocktail with Muddled Mint and Lime

You’ll Need:

  • 2oz. vodka or rum
  • 2 oz Thirsty Buddha Coconut Water
  • 2 oz pineapple juice
  • Splash of mineral water
  • 1/2 lime, juiced, plus a slice or wedge for garnishing
  • 4-6 mint leaves
  • Shredded coconut for rimming your glass
  • Ice

Prep and Cook:

  1. Run a lime around the rim of a margarita glass and then invert onto a plate of shredded coconut to evenly coat the rim.
  2. Place the mint in the bottom of the glass and use a muddler to twist and break apart your fresh mint. Squeeze fresh lime juice over top.
  3. Add ice to your glass and pour in your alcohol of choice, coconut water, pineapple juice and splash of mineral water.
  4. Garnish with a few extra mint sprigs and sliced lime on the side.
  5. For extra colour and flavour, use frozen berries instead of ice cubes.


Jenn Pike is a mom of two, nutritionist, master personal trainer and author. For more quick and healthy tips and to learn more about Jenn, her best-selling book The Simplicity Project and more, visit 'The Simplicity Project' and follow her on Instagram @jennpike and Facebook under The Simplicity Project.
Comments | Tagged under recipes, may, barbeque, healthy
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4 Ways to Improve Digestion and Improve Gut Health
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As a Holistic Lifestyle Expert and Registered Holistic Nutritionist, I don’t think you can ever do enough to ensure that your digestive system is in fabulous health.

The vitality of our digestion system plays a significant role in your immune system as well. More than 70% of your immune system lives within your gut micro-biome and it has an internal ebb and flow that is essential to both protecting your body and to work synergistically with your breath, your food intake, good bacteria, and movement to reduce and kill off any bad bacteria, parasites, and junk that comes into your body through your food, water, and environment. When there are too many bad bacteria through antibiotics, medications, corticosteroid creams, processed foods, too many animal products, dairy and sugar, the bad bacteria spreads, multiplies, and creates big problems.

We don’t realize that our digestive system is quite literally the foundation of our entire health and wellness; working alongside our nervous system and every major organ system within our body to provide us with the wellness and vitality we’re all after.

Here are just a few of the digestive issues you could be dealing with:

  • Bloating and gas
  • Stomach pain
  • Indigestion
  • Reflux and acidity
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Food sensitivities or allergies
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings, anxiety and/or depression
  • Inability to focus or stay engaged.
  • Insomnia
  • Bed wetting
  • Eczema, psoriasis, hives and acne

So what can be done?

  1. Avoid the irritants SAD GAS: Soy, artificial sweeteners, dairy, gluten, alcohol and sugar. These six foods right here are the game-changers for my private clients. Unbelievable freedom will happen in your body when you begin to clear out the biggest culprits behind bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, eczema, acne, mental fog, anxiety and insomnia. TRUTH. Trust me and trust the process. When you are eliminating these foods you cannot even have a morsel of them during our guided period of time. Even the littlest bite can throw your system off and re-activate inflammation and trigger an autoimmune response. I have worked with so many families and individuals and have had the most incredible digestive turnouts you could ever imagine.
  2. Ensure proper hydration. Without enough water in your body daily, it will be virtually impossible for you to have regular bowel movements, detoxify your system, absorb nutrients optimally, or to feel energized. For Children aim for 1-1.5 litres daily and for adults at least two to three litres of pure, good quality water daily. Water-rich fruits and veggies plus organic herbal teas, coconut water and healthy non-dairy based low-sugar smoothies will also help you achieve your hydration goals.
  3. Eat the rainbow. (that grows from nature not a factory). Begin introducing more fresh vegetables to your family and small amounts of fruit. Try smoothies, baking and pureeing with them as well as getting your children involved in the meal shopping, prepping and cooking process. Also try buying organic and non-GMOwhen you can, the EWG has a great resource to help you know what to select to work within your budget and what is available locally too It is incredible to watch the energy, mood and digestion plus the sleep of a child change when we remove the major gut and body irritants and begin to supply their system with more whole foods. Problems that we thought could never be helped begin to resolve themselves once the body has the right tools and resources to draw from. Each day in practice I watch children overcome and heal from; constipation, eczema, anxiety, depression, inability to focus, chronic ear infections and colds, poor sleep and so much more simply by giving their body nutrients.
  4. Include a daily probiotic supplement. Probiotics are hugely important in your digestive health. These good bacteria enhance the breakdown and absorption of vitamins and proteins, and help to reduce the bad bacteria and viruses that live in our gut. Choose a product that is refrigerated and has at least 20 billion cultures per capsule.

Your digestive system is a gift…treat it well.

Jenn Pike is a mom of two, nutritionist, master personal trainer and author. For more quick and healthy tips and to learn more about Jenn, her best-selling book The Simplicity Project and more, visit 'The Simplicity Project' and follow her on Instagram @jennpike and Facebook under The Simplicity Project.
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