40+ Healthy Labor Day Recipes for a Picnic, Party or Barbecue
Aug 21, 2023
This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.
Enjoy these healthy Labor Day recipes that are perfect for a picnic, barbecue or party! Mix-and-match them for the tastiest buffet-style meal.
Healthy Labor Day Recipes
I love holiday weekends and Labor Day is one of my favorites as it means barbecues, picnics, potlucks and parties. It’s time to celebrate with friends and family and enjoy the gorgeous “end of summer” sunny weather with tons of tasty food.
But what it really means is get outside, laugh and play, eat, soak up a little vitamin D and have some fun! And I am ALL for that.
Healthy eating on Labor Day is easier than you might imagine with summer menu items like salads, grilled meat and seafood, fruit, veggies, salsas and dips. Even if you’re not the one cooking, odds are you’ll be able to find something healthy to eat. But if you are the one cooking, I’ve got several recipes (all gluten-free of course) that’ll help you put together a mouth-watering and deliciously healthy Labor Day menu.
Labor Day Main Meals
For the healthy main dish think grilled fish, meat, and kebabs. That smoky, barbecue flavor just screams Labor Day yumminess! Sure, utensils can be used…but they can also be optional. Licking your fingers is all part of the fun. Here are a few recipe ideas for crowd-pleasing mains:
- Greek Chicken Kabobs (or this Chicken Souvlaki)
- Beef Shish Kabobs
- Grilled Corn on the Cob
- Garlic Grilled Shrimp Skewers
- BBQ Chicken (with my Homemade BBQ Sauce!)
- Slow Cooker Carnitas
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
- Carne Asada
- Cedar Plank Salmon With Maple Ginger Glaze
- Honey Mustard Chicken
- Barbecue Ribs with Spiced Rum Pineapple Sauce
- Pineapple Burger Bowl with Sweet Fig Mayonnaise
Labor Day Salad Recipes
Salads are the best food option for a hot summer day! They’re light yet refreshing, and their nutrition boost will help you win that next round of cornhole. Salads can be considered mains as well, especially if you add a little protein. Here are a few of my favorite summer salad recipes:
- Ultimate Chicken Salad
- Broccoli Salad
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Watermelon Salad with Feta and Cucumber
- Classic Fruit Salad (or this Stone Fruit Salad)
- Israeli Salad
- Caprese Salad
- Easy Cucumber Salad
- Greek Salad
- Spinach Berry Salad
- Fresh Corn Salad
- Nicoise Salad
Labor Day Side Dishes & Snacks
The most classic side dish for a holiday weekend is potato salad – am I right? Well, I’ve got a family recipe that’ll make your stomach happy. I’ve also got several munchies to satisfy your slightly salty or sweet cravings. Here are my favorite side dish and munchie recipes:
- Best Ever Guacamole
- Coleslaw (or this Vinegar Coleslaw for a no-mayo version!)
- Avocado Salsa (or this Mango Salsa)
- Best Red Salsa
- Classic Hummus
- Classic Potato Salad (or this hearty German Potato Salad)
- Baked Zucchini Fries
Other healthy munchies include: grapes, olives, salami, prosciutto, raw or grilled veggies, melon slices and various cheeses.
Labor Day Desserts and Sweet Treats
If you’re outside enjoying the holiday you don’t want to be inside slaving over a complicated dessert. These healthy desserts can be made ahead of time, then delivered to the hungry masses when the timing is right, or when the sun starts setting. Whichever comes first! Here are a few of my favorite summertime desserts:
- Berry Sheet Cake
- Paleo Lemon Blueberry Cake
- Grilled Peaches
- Coconut Chia Mango Popsicles
- Berry Crisp
- Raw Mixed Berry and Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
- Chocolate Covered Bananas
- Panna Cotta
- Mixed Berry Popsicles
- Meyer Lemon Coconut Macaroons
Labor Day DRINKS
When it comes to quenching your thirst, I always recommend drinking lots of water during the summer months. And one of the best ways to keep it interesting is to infuse it with fruits, veggies and herbs. But if you’re looking to add a little extra fun to celebrate the last days of summer, just whip up a pitcher of a cooling, refreshing beverage. Here are some of my favorite drinks:
- Red Sangria or this White Sangria
- Classic Margarita or Strawberry Margarita
- Aperol Spritz
- Limoncello Spritz
- Agua Fresca
- Lavender Lemonade
Post originally published September 2015, but updated to include new recipes.
40+ Healthy Labor Day Recipes: Avocado Salsa
- 6 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
- 4 avocados, peeled, cored, and diced
- 2 limes, juiced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Give everything a toss and taste test to see if you need additional salt.
- Serve and enjoy.
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
Originally posted Aug 2020, but updated to include new recipes.