Labor Day is here, synonymous with barbecues and the start of school.

The celebration usually includes food which may not always be the healthiest. But don’t let that stop you from having a good time. You can eat well – the goal is to make smart choices – and still maintain your energy and be satisfied.

Here are our top 6 Labor Day Healthy Eating Tips:

Memorial Day BBQ1. Eat before you go: The goal is to take the edge off your hunger so you will be less hungry and less likely to eat too much or make the wrong decisions. Have a healthy snack or a small meal filled with protein and fiber before you go. Examples include a handful of nuts, almonds or any Extend Nutrition snack.

2. Portion Control: The goal is to enjoy the foods you love but to do it wisely. For example, if you want the hamburger or a hot dog, savor it and keep the portion size small. Enjoy the hamburger without the bun or half the bun, for example, and keep it to just one. Same goes for the sides: keep it to half cup of coleslaw or a handful of chips.

Better yet, skip the chips altogether. A small bag of potato chips may have up to 400 calories depending on the flavor and brand. Instead, replace it with any of the 5 flavors of Extend Nutrition crisps (Zesty Ranch, White Cheddar, Italian Herb, Honey BBQ or Cinnamon), and the benefits of eating a snack that helps control your blood sugar. A bag of White Cheddar crisps, for example, has 130 calories, 8 g protein and 3 g dietary fiber and it is filled with great flavor, keeping you full and satisfied.

3. Bring a Healthy Side: Just the thought of the barbecue sides that include potato salad, macaroni and cheese, ice cream and potato chips can be enough to undo your best-laid plans. If there any vegetables, stick to those, but also come prepared. Bring your own healthy side dish and you won’t be at the mercy of others.

Click here for a delicious main-dish recipe, Zesty Ranch Chicken Bake, made with Extend Nutrition crisps. 

4. Drink wisely: Alcohol is not good for diabetes or the waistline so skip it altogether or keep it to a minimum if you feel you must have an alcoholic beverage to enjoy the Labor Day festivities.

A much better choice is water or unsweetened ice tea. Or try an Extend Nutrition Chocolate, Vanilla or Strawberry Shake for just 110 calories and filled with 15 g of protein.

An Extend Nutrition shake makes a perfect Labor Day drink that is fruity, healthy and festive.

Click here for a variety of healthy shake recipes.

5. Have Your Dessert and Eat it Too: Choose fruits such as watermelon, a staple of barbecues, or any other fruit at the feast to replace ice cream, brownies or cookies. You can also indulge in any of the Extend Nutrition snacks to help you satisfy a sweet tooth yet stay in good blood sugar and maintain a healthy diet.

Try Extend Nutrition Chocolate Dream Drizzles or Caramel Bliss Drizzles.

Click here for our “Chocolate Fudge Sunday” Recipe.

6. Get Moving: Now that you are outdoors for the Labor Day barbecue, take advantage of the warm weather and get moving. A healthy diet, combined with physical activity, will help you maintain and achieve a healthy weight and decrease the risk of serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.

So enjoy that game of volleyball, play Frisbee, hopscotch or jump rope with your children. For increased stamina and energy, try an Extend Nutrition Snack 30 minutes before the activity.