Summer is drawing to a close and September is almost here. Are you looking for Labor Day party ideas that won’t completely ruin your diet? Healthy Labor Day party menus should include fresh summer produce, plenty of grilled dishes and even refreshing cocktails. Soak up the sun and, enjoy some relaxation and fun with your family and friends with these healthy Labor Day party tips.
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Healthy Labor Day Party Tips
As a last hoorah to end the summer, our neighborhood always throws a huge Labor Day pool party complete with BBQ and an assortment of side dishes supplied by the neighbors. I love indulging in my friend’s tasty casseroles and some decadent desserts. However, they aren’t usually on my list of healthy foods to include in my diet. But, it is nice to splurge every one in a while, right?
I like to look for a balance between the healthier food choices like fruit salad and the not quite as healthy chips and dip options. If you are looking for healthy Labor Day party ideas for your own back yard BBQ this Labor Day, here are a few things to keep in mind while you are organizing your menu.
Slim down your dips
Need healthy Labor Day snack ideas? Watch out for those dip recipes! If you replace half of the mayonnaise or sour cream in your dip recipe with Greek yogurt you will reduce the fat and calories in it significantly. Healthy dips are a great way to reduce your fat and calorie intake at Labor Day parties next month.
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What is the healthiest dip? Choose things like homemade hummus or Babaganoush rather than a cream based dip. Never underestimate the power of a great, healthy dip to get your party goers excited about food! Check out Eating Well for more healthy dip recipes.
Like these healthy Labor Day party tips? Here are more healthy tips to read:
- Tips for Healthy Eating on a Low Budget
- Easy Tips for Grilling Vegetables Perfectly!
- Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tips to Adopt Right Now
Go easy on the carbs
Carbohydrates can leave you feeling sluggish and the calories are quickly converted to fat. For a healthy Labor Day party, skip the pasta salad and head for the shrimp cocktail or fruit salad. Want to find lower carb party foods? Here are a few tips:
Healthy Tips to Reduce Your Carb Intake at Parties
- Skip the sugar-sweetened drinks. That means, you should basically stick to water or unsweetened ice tea if you really want zero carb drinks.
- Cut back on bread. Ask your griller to skip the bun for your hamburger or grilled chicken.
- Choose low-carb snacks. Nuts are a great low carb Labor Day party snack, as are things like cheese cubes (in moderation), hummus, pork rinds, or
- Eat more eggs. My jalapeno bacon deviled eggs are a great low carb snack idea.
- Choose things sweetened with stevia rather than real sugar. You may want to bring your own low carb dessert recipe to share!
- Hang out by the veggie tray. You will fill up with fiber and nutrients rather than carbs by snacking on raw vegetables.
How to Cut Calories in Summer Drinks
Soft drinks and alcohol have a lot of calories. Opt for water that has some sliced fruit in it or some homemade iced tea with only a touch of sugar added if you really want to limit your calorie intake. If you do want to indulge in a few summer cocktails, here are a few tips to cut calories in your cocktail recipes:
Skip Premade Mixes
Premade drink mixes make summer drinks quick and easy; however, they’re also loaded with sugar. You can reduce the calories in your summer drinks by making them from scratch and reducing the amount of sugar called for in your recipe.
Serve Drinks in Tall, Skinny Glasses
The shape of the glass you’re drinking out of really makes a difference! Professional bartenders tend to pour 20.5 percent more alcohol in short, wide glasses than they do in tall, skinny glasses. Pour your drink into a tall, slim glass, and if you want to be exact in your portions, use measuring utensils like a jigger to keep servings accurate.
Common Sense Party Tip: Set a Limit
Just like most healthy eating tips, moderation is key. Set yourself a two-drink limit before you leave the house and then switch to water. No amount of trying to reduce the caloric count of your summer beverages will help if you’re consuming too many of them.
Dilute with Seltzer Water
Liquor, by itself, contains calories: about 96 calories per 1.5 ounce serving of 80-proof distilled spirits. Then on top of that, a splash of fruit juice, soda, tonic and other popular mixers in summer cocktails tend to be high in calories, too.
To reduce the caloric intake of your drinks, leave extra room at the top of the glass for some ice cubes and cold seltzer water. The chill and carbonation will make your drink more refreshing as well as lower in calories. Try in in your watermelon mojitos or any other summer cocktail recipe you want to serve. You can buy a SodaStream machine and make your own carbonated water at home for pennies.
Mocktails, Not Cocktails
If you are looking for Labor Day party tips that will really slim down your menu, skip the alcohol completely. Alcohol of all varieties is fairly high in calories. Many mocktails will use lighter calorie alternatives and might be a better choice for your summer beverage consumption. Not to mention the fact that you will stay more hydrated in the heat of summer if you skip the alcohol completely.
Light or Diet Options
There are many low-calorie options when it comes to summer cocktails. Light beer, lower calorie wines, and cocktails made with stevia instead of sugar would be good options to choose if you’re watching your caloric intake this summer.
If you plan on making your own summer cocktails, consider making one with fewer calories than traditional cocktail recipes. With a little bit of planning and experimentation, you can enjoy light summer cocktails and have all the flavor with less of an impact on your waistline!
Put Out Plenty of Veggies
One of the easiest healthy Labor Day party tips I can offer is to load up on vegetables. Instead of bacon and cheese on your burgers, choose lettuce, onion, and tomato. They will add a ton of crunch without a lot of fat or calories. Put out plenty of sliced veggies for dipping and consider using sliced cucumbers instead of crackers in your appetizers. Slice all your veggies the day before to save time.
What’s In Season For Your Labor Day Party?
- Radishes. Great on salads or just toss onto your vegetable tray.
- Arugula. Use this on top of burgers in place of iceburg lettuce for better nutrition.
- Cucumber. Bring my German cucumber salad recipe and share with your friends.
- Beets. Always delicious and loaded with nutrition!
- Bell Peppers. Whether you put them on a veggie tray with hummus or stuff them on the grill, bell peppers are a delicious Labor Day party food!
- Carrots. Try my maple glazed carrots. They are great for the holidays but delicious for parties, too.
- Zucchini. My zucchini carrot slaw is a delicious summer party food!
- Garlic. This just goes in every recipe you ever want to make. Grow your own garlic and make up a batch of ginger garlic freezer pickles for your next party.
Avoid Processed Foods for Healthy Eating
Processed foods are usually high in salt, preservatives and artificial flavors. Start with simple ingredients and you are automatically making healthier food choices. Sandwich meats are a popular Labor Day party food but they are highly processed and contain a number of questionable ingredients. While everyone should indulge in dessert occasionally, artificially colored cookies and cupcakes should be a very small portion on your food intake.
If you are looking for Labor Day party ideas that cut calories, you need to add plenty of simple foods and get creative with low fat, low calorie substitutions. And when you send out your Labor Day party invitations, find out if anyone is on a restricted diet. Offer vegetarian options if possible, as well as a few dairy free recipes or low carb snacks. Be mindful of people watching their diet, however, don’t worry about it so much that you skip putting out a try of homemade cookies or brownies! Do you have any healthy Labor Day party tips you would like to share?
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.