6 Tips for a Healthy Labor Day Weekend

| WRITTEN BY: Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN

Labor Day is fast approaching, which means that the long, lazy days of summer are almost at an end. Here are my 6 tips for a healthy (and yummy!) Labor Day weekend to enjoy the last of summer.

This holiday can be bittersweet — saying goodbye to summer is never fun, but the cooler, color-saturated days of fall make for an exciting change of seasons. In addition to the anticipated weather change, Labor Day is also the perfect time to commemorate summer’s end with your family and friends.

1. Enjoy seasonal produce.

Summer may be at an end, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy some seasonal produce! Savor all that the late summer season has to offer by reaching for grilled vegetables, desserts topped with fresh berries, or seasonal salads. Not only are these options full of flavor, but they are also packed with fiber and essential nutrients to keep you feeling great.

2. Don’t skip meals.

When there is a food holiday, it may be tempting to skip meals so you can “save room for more”, but this is not a healthy approach when it comes to eating. Skipping meals can lead to overeating later, so if you’re hungry, try having a nutritious snack (like a Greek yogurt or handful of nuts) before you leave for the party. This way, you can enjoy your favorite foods without feeling uncomfortably full

3. Choose wisely.

When it comes to Labor Day parties, many people tend to serve food buffet-style, which means this is a great chance to survey the table before digging in. You may choose to skip the foods you can get anytime — crackers and cheese, say — and choose small portions of foods that are a real treat. Balance out your holiday choices by loading up the rest of your plate with veggies — like green salads, grilled corn, or snap peas.

4. Stay active.

Start your holiday weekend off right by moving your body. Whether it’s going on a leisurely walk, playing outdoor games at a party, or swimming with friends, participating in activities that make you happy will help keep your mind and body healthy.

5. Size matters.

Our eyes can be bigger than our stomachs, so instead of reaching for a large plate, try grabbing a smaller dish instead. This one simple step takes no more time than eating food on larger plates, and you’ll “trick” your eyes and help with portion control, while still leaving your body satiated. Plus, if you clean your plate, you’ll have to assess if you’re really hungry enough to get up for seconds.

6. Go easy on alcohol.

While it’s always fun to sip cocktails during a holiday weekend, these mixed drinks often pack in an excessive amount of added sugar and calories. On average. an alcoholic drink contains about 150 calories, but a large frozen daiquiri can have 500 to 800 calories. Yikes! So, instead of reaching for those sugary options, try drinking a wine spritzer or alternate each beer with sparkling water to cut calories and stay hydrated. Plus, you won’t miss the headache the next day!

How do you plan on having a healthy Labor Day weekend? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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