Labor Day tips

Many of us will be throwing a great Labor Day cookout or trying to squeeze in one last weekend getaway before summer is officially over. Labor Day signifies the end of a season; a time of grilling, baseball and sun tans. Cookouts and travel can sometimes spell disaster for those of us trying to stay healthy. Here are a few tips to keep on track this holiday weekend.

1. Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables! Summer is a great season for fresh, local ingredients. Try a new fruit or vegetable this weekend.

2. Portion size is key. With picnic tables full of 50 different options, we want a little bit of everything in sight. Make sure you don’t go overboard, especially with your protein! Proteins shouldn’t exceed a baseball size hunk.

3. Make sure to protect yourself from skin cancer with sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat! It’s bound to be a hot weekend, so make sure to stay covered and reapply sunscreen often if you plan to be in the sun all day.

4. Stay active! Soon it will be too cold to play outside everyday. Take this weekend to get outside and work off some of those cookout goodies. Frisbee, baseball and relay races are all great activities for family events.

5. Stay hydrated! It’s easy to forget about water when you are outside having fun and sweating it all out. But dehydration isn’t fun, especially on a long weekend. Make sure to get at least 8 glasses of water a day.

Try out this great recipe for Vegetable Kebabs this weekend!

Vegetarian Kebabs

8 cherry tomatoes
8 button mushrooms
1 small zucchini, sliced into 8 pieces
1 red onion, cut into 4 wedges
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 4 pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 4 pieces
1/2 C fat-free Italian dressing
1/2 C brown rice
1 C water
4 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes, or metal skewers


1. Place the tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, onion and peppers in a sealed plastic bag. Add the Italian dressing and shake to coat the vegetables evenly. Marinate the vegetables in the dressing for at least 10 minutes.

2. In a saucepan over high heat, combine the rice and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to keep warm.

3. Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill or broiler. Away from the heat source, lightly coat the grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Position the cooking rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source.

4. Thread 2 tomatoes, 2 mushrooms, 2 zucchini slices, 1 onion wedge, and 1 green and red pepper slice onto each skewer. Place the kebabs on the grill rack or broiler pan. Baste with leftover marinade. Grill or broil the kebabs, turning as needed, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. 

–Tessa Woods

Source: Wellsource, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.