How to Have a Healthy Labor Day

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Staying on track over a holiday weekend can be difficult. While Labor Day isn’t necessarily a holiday centered around food like Thanksgiving or Christmas is, it’s still known to be a popular day for barbecues, parties, and drinking. Summer is coming to an end, and we’re trying to squeeze what’s left out of it. For most of us, that means eating and drinking a little too much.

Don’t get us wrong: it’s not bad to enjoy yourself and splurge every once in a while. But for some of us, it can throw us off the bandwagon. Maybe we’ve been working on our summer body and keeping it clean. But now, with summer over, Labor Day is an opportunity to throw us off track. And that keeps being derailed all the way until the new year.

For the people who want to keep it healthy over the holiday weekend to avoid the inevitable derailing of their hard work, this article is for you! We’re going to share some of the most popular ways to enjoy a healthy Labor Day without sacrificing your fun. Let’s get started!

Lady chopping foot near grill in backyard

What is Labor Day?

As covered in our recent piece on The True Meaning of Labor Day, Labor Day is a celebration of all the Americans who make up our workforce. Hint: that’s pretty much all of us! It’s a day to reflect on your own work ethic, strength and endurance. It was created in the 1800s, to signify the importance of the workforce for our economy and society. You deserve this day off, so make the most of it, remembering the true meaning!

Why do people eat more on holidays?

With the meaning of Labor Day in mind, you may be asking yourself, “how does celebrating workers relate to overeating?” and the answer is: food and drink is a celebration! Eating and drinking with friends and family is one of the pillars of American culture, and cultures across the world.

When Congress granted the American workforce with a day off work - the first Monday in September - we responded by planning parties, barbecues, and delicious meals. The best way to celebrate and enjoy life, right?!

Boating party with group toasting

But the reality is that 36.5 percent of adults are obese. Another 32.5 percent of American adults are overweight. In total, more than two-thirds - 73.6 percent - of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. Despite this, almost half of adults in the U.S. are on a diet at any given time according to the CDC. The average dieter tries between 55 to 126 diets in their lifetime (depending on the source). Wow!

These statistics are meant to shock you. We’re a nation constantly chasing our tail. Unfortunately, holiday weekends like Labor Day only set us further back. Does that mean that we should be munching on salads and celery over the weekend and turning down any drink that isn't lemon water? No!

You can enjoy yourself on Labor Day without overdoing it. A little splurge isn’t the same as overindulgence. If you want to stick to your diet and exercise plan over the Labor Day weekend, check out these tips to have a healthy Labor Day.

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6 ways to stay on track this Labor Day

  1. Go for a group walk

Want to work up an appetite? Get the gang together and head out for a walk before you all sit down for your meal. It doesn’t have to be an intense hike for it to be considered exercise - in fact, walking is one of the best ways to burn fat. Plus, it’s an opportunity to catch up with people because you won’t be breaking a sweat. A leisurely walk will help you get some activity in without burdening your plans.

  1. Make healthy alternatives

If you’ve got the fam coming over for a traditionally indulgent Labor Day barbecue, attempting to serve boring salads and fruit platters might not go down that well. But there is a middle ground between packing in oily burgers covered in cheese and white bread vs. a boring salad.

To make your Labor Day favorite meals a little healthier, try to substitute where you can without sacrificing flavor. For example, a lettuce wrapped burger without the cheese. Another way to do this is to make fruit skewers with the option of dipping them in chocolate. For the health-conscious guests, they can eat the fruit alone.

Bowl of fruit

If you’re looking for budget-friendly healthy meals, check out this article we wrote with 24 Easy Tips To Eat Healthy On A Student Budget.

  1. Schedule in ‘me’ time

You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing this Labor Day. If you’re training for a marathon and don’t want to have to forego your training for your Labor Day plans, you don’t have to. It’s more than ok to schedule in some time to dedicate to your health and fitness journey. In fact, you don’t know who might be inspired by your commitment.

  1. Limit the booze

Did you know that a typical large blended margarita can clock in at more than 500 calories? Pretty crazy! For the boozier bunch, drinking more than one of these is going to push you over your caloric target without even trying.

Alcohol is toxic and full of empty calories. If you want to have a healthy Labor Day, the extra drinks should be first to go. Opt for lower calorie drinks like tequila, soda and lime. Or just take the day off drinking altogether.

  1. Organize active activities

Who doesn’t love a competitive game of frisbee? For bigger groups, this always goes down a winner! Planning activities that will get everyone moving is a perfect way to get some activity in without missing out on fun. If you don’t have the outdoor space at your own house, head to a local park, the beach, or a local facility like tennis courts for free.

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  1. Don’t skip meals

If you have a 3pm event to get to that you know you’ll be eating at, it doesn’t mean you should be starving yourself until then. “But I know I’ll be eating a lot there!” - Well you’re bound to eat a lot more if you turn up starving. Have you ever gone grocery shopping while hungry? It’s the same thing! Eating a healthy, light meal before you go can prevent you from overeating.

If you want more tips, check out this article we wrote about How To Stay Healthy Through The Holidays.

Remember, Labor Day weekend is a great chance to enjoy life. But if you’re on the path of health and fitness, it doesn’t have to be the thing that throws you off track. Stay healthy and have fun.

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