How to Stay Healthy on Labor Day

04 Sep 2015

Hello friends, and happy Labor Day Weekend!! While it is sad to see the summer go, I’ve always loved Labor Day because it’s a chance to celebrate the end of summer and take a break with friends and family before fall officially begins (or mentally begins). For many, this is the last long weekend before going back to school, sending kids back to school, or before you officially have to start getting into the winter mindset.  A much needed break, if you ask me.

The problem with Labor Day weekend is that it is often celebrated with BBQ’s and festivities loaded with alcohol, chips, soda and other junk food that has the potential to reverse some of the hard health work we’ve put in all summer. And trust me, I totally understand. With winter coming and bikini season ending, the chips and dip can seem very tempting, especially after a few drinks. That’s why I want to share with you a few of my tips on how to stay healthy on Labor Day.

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Plan Ahead. I know I include this tip in every back to school and healthy tips blog post, but that’s because it’s so important and needs reminding! Planning ahead is the best way to help yourself avoid binging on junk food at your Labor Day celebration. For some, that may mean making your own healthy dish to bring, like delicious mozzarella and tomato caprese sandwiches (a personal favorite… and yes those are beets layered under the cheese), or veggie platters with a homemade hummus. Whatever it is, make sure that you have some healthy options available so you don’t have to rely on anyone else to stay on track. Plus, people are always grateful when someone else thinks to make something healthy.

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Only eat on a plate. This is one of my favorite tricks, and one of the easiest for bigger parties. A few chips on a holiday isn’t going to hurt you, but eating straight out of the chip bowl will. When you grab snacks and go, how often do you think about how much you’re actually grabbing? Similarly, it’s easy to lose count of how many times you’ve gone to that chip bowl and “only eaten a few”. By putting everything you eat on a plate, you will be more mindful about how much you are eating and you’ll be less likely to overindulge. Plus, once you put food on your plate, you’ll have to make a conscious effort to get more, which is when you can ask yourself if you’re really hungry. This is a great trick to prevent snacking both at parties and at home.

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Fill up on salad. Incorporate this tip into your plate trick. Eat your vegetables and salads first and then go back and get other food when you’re hungry. Vegetables are full of water and fiber, so they will fill you up faster than meat products or junk food and they also take up more space on your plate. Once you’re done eating the salads and vegetable options, you might not even have room for anything else! And if you do, just make sure to put it on a plate 🙂

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Stick to wine or liquor and soda water. While wine of course has calories, as does all alcohol, it has less than most mixers alone. A glass of red or white wine is somewhere around 125 calories, whereas a glass of cranberry juice alone can be anywhere from 120-150 calories. A serving of vodka or gin mixed with carbonated water and lemon is only about 65-75 calories, but when the liquor is mixed with sugary drinks, the calories add up quickly. While I don’t ever recommend counting calories (remember: count colors, not calories), alcohol is empty calories so you might as well pick your lowest calorie options. Sugary mixers will also spike your blood sugar, which can cause cravings for salt and sugar. Avoid this all together, and you’ll save yourself hundreds of empty calories and a sugar headache (literally).

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Finally, stay hydrated! Staying hydrated will help curb salt cravings, replenish your body (especially if you’re drinking alcohol, which is dehydrating), and keep you feeling full longer. If you’re out in the sun, sitting in a pool or consuming an extra glass of wine, plan on drinking 3-4L of water the day of your celebration.

I hope these tips help you navigate the Labor Day celebrations and stay on track with your health goals! Also, stay tuned because I have a ton of exciting news in the next few weeks that I absolutely cannot wait to share with you all.

xx Nikki

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