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5 Ways to Make the Most Out of your Labor Day Cookout

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As summer’s sizzle begins to fade, a Labor Day cookout, celebrating the 160 million people working across America, is the perfect time to enjoy family, friends, and great food. But the day has a deeper meaning and marks a pivotal moment in U.S. labor history.

In the late 1800s, the state of labor was rough. U.S. workers clocked 12 or more hour workdays, completed tasks in hazardous work environments, and did the aforementioned for meager pay with children, some as young as 5, by their side. As a result, labor unions formed, which began to organize strikes and protests and pushed employers for better hours and pay.

So on the first weekend of September, the "unofficial end of summer,” pay homage to the American workforce at your family gathering while actually getting the break you deserve. Here’s how to take the work out of a Labor Day cookout.

1. DO enjoy yourself to the fullest.

Socializing with friends and family is a great compliment to the food served on the table. You can also remain active by learning the latest line dance or walking in your local Labor Day parade.

2. DO fill your plate with fresh or grilled fruits and vegetables.

Prepare a balanced meal by loading your plate with fruits and vegetables. Salads are a great way of incorporating fresh greens in your diet. You can also try grilling fruit as a sweet alternative to common desserts found at the cookout.

3. DON’T forget about these health precautions.

You would be surprised at how many health hazards are present at cookouts! It can be tricky to combat the outdoor summer heat while trying to keep your food within proper temperature guidelines.

A recent study conducted by the USDA showed that many consumers do not wash their hands properly or use food thermometers correctly when preparing food. The comprehensive infographic above will tell you everything you need to know in order to remain healthy.

4. DON’T be afraid to try something new.

Traditions are meant to be broken! If you're thinking about trying a new recipe, go ahead and see how it will turn out.

5. DO eat throughout the day -- not just at the cookout.

Do you hear that noise? It's probably your stomach growling while you wait for the food on the grill to finally be finished cooking. During this holiday weekend, be sure that you are eating properly throughout the day. It can be tempting to keep your stomach empty until the main course, but this is a very detrimental eating habit.

Happy Labor Day! Comment your holiday plans below.

SAVOR REPORTER | Zaria Rayes is a junior biology pre-med major with a minor in finance at Hampton University. Her ultimate career goal is to become a pediatrician. At an early age, she realized her passion for community service and healthy living. The 20-year-old Las Vegas native enjoys writing as a form of creative expression. Zaria has remained actively involved on campus at Hampton University as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students, and the Honors College.