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It’s easy to let your healthy habits fall by the wayside when holidays come around. Between family cookouts, parades, and other celebrations, the unhealthy belief that everything is fine in moderation regularly creeps up.  Don’t succumb to the Tootsie Rolls! Labor Day weekend is a great opportunity to set yourself up for a healthy fall and school year.  

Healthy Cookouts: Stick to the Basics  

If you’re hosting this year’s Labor Day cookout, here are a few simple ways to keep the food clean and above board.   

  • Make sure to get good-quality meat. Grass-fed beef is always good; grass-finished is even better! Read labels on your hotdogs and bratwursts. You can even find good ones at the big box stores these days, but shop local when you can!  
  • Choose sugars wisely. This includes desserts, condiments, and the meats themselves. Natural options like xylitol and monk fruit are less common to find but generally okay, unless you have a digestive response to sugar alcohols. Corn syrups and other artificial sweeteners are red flags and signs to put the package back on the shelf. 
  • Stay away from food allergies. While it may not be possible to keep everyone’s allergies off the menu, keep your family’s allergies in mind and avoid other common allergens. If you have people coming over who are also trying to stay allergen- and inflammation-free, invite everyone to bring a dish to pass. That way, people have options, and you don’t have to make as much. 

If you’re not hosting, the food situation can be more challenging, but sticking with your personalized eating plan is possible. Try one or a couple of these tactics:  

  • Eat at home. If you eat before you arrive, the food will be significantly less of a temptation.  
  • Be a picky eater. Go through the line and pick a few things to put on your plate. Just be aware by scanning the line first, and don’t add the questionable foods you know you should be avoiding to your plate. Maybe find a few fruits or veggies and eat those. Food is an emotional thing and one we associate with parties and gatherings – make sure that if you eat while celebrating, you make the best choices possible!  
  • Don’t go through the line. It is acceptable to skip the line altogether. While some people may be offended you aren’t participating, you can explain you are making some changes and that you’re excited about your goals. Don’t let other people’s emotions deter you!  
  • Bring a dish to pass. Make something that works with your family’s allergies, and bring a big enough dish to share. This trick only works if you – and your kids – know that’s the only dish to eat from. You can also do this as a group. Who’s going to the party? Do they share similar health goals with you?  If that’s the case, have everyone make something aligned with the group’s allergies. This way, you’ll have a broader selection to choose from! Even if it’s one or two other guests, you’ll all feel better knowing there will be more options. Don’t know what to make? We have a plethora of delicious recipes! 
  • Arrive after the meal! It is easy to indulge in the last lazy days of summer. You may have chosen a different activity to keep you busy until the main meal has passed. Arrive just in time to enjoy the people and activities, not to worry about the food. 

Just because it’s a holiday cookout doesn’t mean you have to break your good habits! 

Go Apple Picking 

If you’ve ever gone apple picking with your family, you know how fun it can be! With Labor Day comes cooler, crisper temperatures, and ripening apples. Apple picking is a great way to stock up on things like apple butter and apple cider. It’s also a fantastic photo op. Apple orchards are almost always a big hit with families.  

If you’ve never gone apple picking, find an orchard near you that’s chemical-free, and better yet, organic. Pack up several reusable shopping bags, energetic little helpers (if you have them), and a camera. This adventure could take a few hours or all day, depending on how much of an event you want to make it.  

Pass on the Parade Candy  

Candy is just about a guarantee at a holiday parade – be it for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, or Labor Day. Those of us who went and watched them as kids remember how much fun the scramble for the candy and the victory of scoring a bagful can be. How do you make a candy-less parade just as much fun for the kids?  

  • Let the scramble happen. The candy is tasty, yes, but it’s the scramble and hunt for candy that’s fun. Nothing says your kids can’t join in the scramble and then give the candy prizes to the others at the parade. Make a game of it – who can give the most away? Who can get the most smiles in return? Who can give away the biggest handful to one person every time the candy is scattered? Who can find the most kids that didn’t get candy and bless them?  
  • Bring your own treats, and don’t scramble. Help your little ones see that they already have their treats and candy and don’t have to fight for it. Let the kids who can have the candy scramble and ask Mommy and Daddy for theirs when they want it.  
  • Watch for non-candy giveaways. Some parade walkers give out stickers, toys, balloons, or even small trees to plant. Make it a game to spot those opportunities. 
  • Wave and smile back. The people walking in the parade enjoy seeing waves and smiles just as much as those sitting and watching the parade. How many people can you wave to? How many smiles can you collect?  

Candy is often synonymous with parades, and it may take a while to get used to passing on that part of it, but your body will thank you. And you can select which treats to enjoy when you make or buy your own! 

Enjoy the Last of the Summer Sun 

We all know that getting outside has benefits – And not just those from sunlight. Those benefits decrease notably during the colder seasons (especially if you live in the snowy north). So, soak up the last little bit while you still can this Labor Day weekend!  

  • Skip the shoes and get your feet into the grass 
  • Go for a bike ride, horse ride, rollerblade, or a simple walk. Just be sure to remember the appropriate padding!  
  • Take the littles to the park and let them run around and play – especially if school has already started and they’re sitting inside for hours on end.  
  • Discover a new trail. Even if you’ve been down it before, the different seasons can make it seem fresh. Try to find something you’ve never seen before. Remember to be aware of ticks, poison ivy, and uneven ground!  

Everyone enjoys doing different things outside. What gives you joy? Kick off your shoes and enjoy the last days of summer.  

Enjoy Healthy Campfire Treats!  

Whether you’re having a campfire in the backyard or going on a camping trip as a final hurrah to summer, a few things are necessities — S’mores and snacks among them. The good news is that these can easily be kept healthy. Yes, even marshmallows have a healthier version. Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to give up all your favorite treats. Treats don’t have to be laborious this Labor Day.

Master Back-to-School Shopping 

For some, this may be an exciting Labor Day tradition, although we know there are likely mixed emotions! Shopping for the school year can be fun! Here are a few ideas for making some healthier choices.  

  • Keep The Backpacks Light. We at The Wellness Way recommend rolling backpacks, as humans (especially growing children) shouldn’t carry more than 1/10 of their weight on their backs, which can sometimes make it difficult to carry everything and keep the body in appropriate alignment.  
  • Skip the plastic water bottles. Instead of getting the typical plastic ones, get solid-colored stainless steel water bottles – or glass ones, if your kids are old enough to use them – and decorate them with stickers. Their water bottles will be one-of-a-kind, and you can fit more decorations on a single water bottle when using stickers.  
  • Buy clean lunch ingredients. School-prepared lunches aren’t nutritious. Be sure to get good-quality ingredients for your kids’ lunches to set them up for success. Prepare meals or treats ahead of time to make packing the lunches easier. Here are a few of our favorites:  

Returning to school can be an exciting transition.  

Have a Healthy, Happy Holiday  

Schedules change over holiday weekends – whether that’s work, family, or eating schedules. But just because it’s a time to celebrate doesn’t mean your healthy habits have to slip. After all, wellness is a lifestyle! Embrace all the fun and healthy activities and foods, and get yourself and your family off to a great start for autumn. Looking for more ways to keep your habits and lifestyle on track? Sign up for our newsletter! 

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Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes only. It’s not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your Wellness Way clinic or personal physician, especially if currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. Pregnant women, in particular, should seek the advice of a physician before trying any herb or supplement listed on this website. Always speak with your individual clinic before adding any medication, herb, or nutritional supplement to your health protocol. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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