There’s no reason a “real food” diet should stop anyone from having a fabulous backyard BBQ, cookout, camping trip, or picnic this summer. Sure, preparing lots of “real food” from scratch can be more work than the store-bought junk, but the satisfaction of knowing you just fed the neighborhood kids an approved “100 Days of Real Food” meal unbeknownst to them is very much worth it.
We hosted an annual street-wide event in our backyard over the weekend, and I loved watching my girls have tons of fun with their little friends while at the same time knowing we didn’t have to succumb to the usual party junk food (store-bought pizza and cake) to have such a good time.
What We Served at Our Backyard Event
- Cheeseburger sliders – These junior-sized patties were assembled in advance using locally raised ground beef and were the perfect size for kids!
- Honey whole-wheat buns – Great Harvest makes dinner rolls with their 5-ingredient 100% whole-wheat bread recipe that we love, and they happen to be the ideal size for sliders.
- Watermelon slices
- Potato chips – Deep-fried foods are not part of our “real food” diet so we love that Kettle Brand offers REAL baked potato chips made with only three ingredients. Their version is light-years ahead of the potato flour concoction that Lay’s tries to pull off as baked chips.
- Popcorn – I’ve said it a thousand times…thank you popcorn for being whole-grain! And when you serve it in fun little bags (that I found at Party City) the kids don’t even notice the popcorn they’re chowing down on isn’t caked in the usual refined oils and salt.
- Apple Juice – After checking four different stores I was not satisfied with the juice box options that were available. When serving my children apples, applesauce or apple juice I prefer for it to be organic since apples are on the dirty dozen list. The only organic juice boxes I could find had added sugar, which is totally not necessary! So I just put a jug of 1-ingredient unfiltered organic apple juice with some ice in a big glass beverage dispenser. As it turned out the kids loved writing their names on cups with “permanent markers” and filling it up themselves. The first thing my 4-year-old did the minute the party started was run over to the juice so she could write her name on a cup (pictured) and fill it up!
- Snow Cones – These shaved ice treats can easily be turned into a whole food dessert if you omit the sugary processed syrups that are usually squirted on top. For our “syrup” I like to slightly dilute organic frozen juice concentrate (like orange, apple, and grape) and put it in our own squeeze bottle instead! It works perfectly.
Other Cookout, Picnic, and Camping Ideas:
On the Grill
- Grilled vegetable kabobs
- Organic grass-fed hot dogs (made by Applegate)
- Grilled whole-wheat pizzas
- Locally raised pork tenderloin
- Locally raised pork or beef ribs
- Fruit kabobs
- Whole-wheat pasta or macaroni salad
- Tomato, corn & black bean salad/dip
- Whole-grain crackers or pretzels
- Sliced veggies with tzatziki sauce
- Egg salad
- A mixed up cobb salad
- Caprese salad
- Quinoa salad
- Pimento Cheese
Portable Picnic Ideas
Check out these school lunch posts for more portable picnic ideas (for kids and adults!):
Lastly, if you’ll be celebrating a birthday at your summer party check out these candy-free party favor ideas as well.