40+ Healthy Labor Day Recipes for a Picnic, Party or Barbecue
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
Next weekend is a long holiday weekend to celebrate Labor Day! 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’s a few recipe ideas for crowd-pleasing mains:
- Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Slow Cooker Carnitas
- Carne Asada
- Garlic Grilled Shrimp Skewers
- Cedar Plank Salmon With Maple Ginger Glaze
- Ultimate Chicken Salad
- Grilled Chicken Souvlaki
- Herbed Honey Mustard Chicken
- Barbecue Ribs with Spiced Rum Pineapple Sauce
- Pulled Pork Street Tacos with Cassava Flour Tortillas
- Pineapple Burger Bowl with Sweet Fig Mayonnaise
Labor Day Salads
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 (PS – who else LOVES a game of cornhole?). Salads can be considered mains as well, especially if you add a little protein.
Here’s a few of my favorite summer salad recipes:
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Broccoli Salad
- Israeli Salad
- Easy Cucumber Salad
- Greek Salad
- Spinach Berry Salad
- Roasted Beet and Kale Salad
- Summer Garden Salad
- Eggplant Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Arugula
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:
- Vinegar Coleslaw
- Avocado Salsa
- Best Red Salsa
- Green Goddess Hummus
- Classic Potato Salad
- Baked Zucchini Fries
- Best Ever Guacamole
- Stone Fruit Salad with Vanilla Honey Syrup
- Herbed Cassava Tortilla Chips
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
- Coconut Chia Mango Popsicles
- Berry Crisp
- Raw Mixed Berry and Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
- Chocolate Covered Bananas
- Nectarine Panna Cotta with Roasted Plums
- Roasted Cherry Cardamom Ice Cream
- Mixed Berry Popsicles
- Meyer Lemon Coconut Macaroons
Labor Day Beverages
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
- White Sangria With Mangos And Berries
- Strawberry Margarita
- Agua Fresca
- Lavender Lemonade
A Few Other Labor Day Tips
- Slather on a safe, low-toxic sunscreen (research the safety of your sunscreen by reading the EWG’s Guide to Sunscreen)
- Pack moist towelettes for sticky fingers
- Don’t forget your hat and sunglasses
- Stay active with games (cornhole, frisbee, football, volleyball and smashball)
- Pack lightweight, quick-drying towels (I love Turkish towels!)
- and most importantly….laugh and have fun!
Happy Labor Day everyone! Enjoy the holiday that’s dedicated to all your hard work – you’ve deserved it!
Post originally published September 2015, but updated to include new recipes.
40+ Healthy Labor Day Recipes: Avocado Salsa
- 6 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
- 4 avocados, peeled, cored, and diced
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 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.