Make-Ahead Recipes That Are Free From Dairy, Gluten, & Hassle.
Well… it’s almost time to say ‘goodbye’ to summer!
And while this might be bitter-sweet for some of you, we’ve got a holiday weekend just around the corner to send summer off in style 😉
Labor Day is one of my favorite holidays. It’s a day to get together with family & friends, enjoy the beautiful outdoors, and eat delicious food.
Whether you’re packing up the car to go camping, setting up a picnic in the park, or heading to a local neighborhood BBQ, you’re going to need some delicious food to take with you.
So, today I’m sharing a round-up of healthy Labor Day recipes that are dairy-free, gluten-free, and easy to prep ahead of time.
Meal Prepping For Labor Day Weekend Festivities.
Before we dive into the good stuff, I want to first share a few quick tips on meal prepping.
Because if you aren’t used to taking meals on-the-go, there are a few important things you’ll want to remember to set yourself up for success!
#1. Create your menu ahead of time.
Comb through the recipes below and decide which dishes make the most sense for your particular event + crowd. Do this in advance so you can shop for all the ingredients you need and set aside an afternoon (ideally the day before your event) for prep.
#2. Think through the details.
Does your dish require heating? If you won’t be close to a microwave or oven, think about whether you’ll have access to a fire pit or grill. Most of the recipes I share below are served cold or at room temperature for convenience. But take note if something needs to be heated and decide how you’ll do that. There’s nothing worse than preparing a hot dinner and being forced to eat it cold!
#3. Have tupperware & a cooler ready to go.
I recommend choosing glass tupperware to pack up your food so you aren’t going through a ton of plastic. But be sure you have the right sizes to store everything you plan on bringing. Same thing goes for your cooler – make sure you have one that’s big enough to store every dish that needs refrigeration along with any beverages you want to bring along. And of course, don’t forget plates and silverware to actually serve and eat your dishes!
I know, these reminders sound pretty obvious. But they’re easy to forget and can be a real bummer at a picnic or on a camping trip.
Now I know you’ll be prepared. 😉
Healthy Meal Prep Recipes.
Onto the fun stuff!
I’ve put together a list of healthy meal prep recipes (all of which are or can be made dairy-free & gluten-free) that are perfect for your Labor Day festivities.
You can’t go wrong with chicken fajitas! This recipe features fresh vegetables, a healthy dose of protein, and healthy fats – a perfectly balanced meal.
Offer both flour tortillas or gluten-free options such as ones made with cauliflower (yes, it’s a real thing), almond, or other flours, and pass on the cheese to make your fajitas dairy-free. Super versatile!
Isn’t eating off a skewer just more fun?
Shrimp are packed with protein & essential vitamins and minerals, including selenium, zinc, and vitamin B12. I love this one because it’s simple, filling, & tasty.
Nothing says “Labor Day” quite like chicken salad. If you want to make this dish even heartier, serve it between gluten-free sliced bread, or with a gluten-free tortilla.
This simple, citrus salad is full of flavor and easy to throw together ahead of time. Its staple ingredient is quinoa, which is packed with essential nutrients like magnesium, zinc, iron, and omega-3’s.
Broccoli is filled with vitamins and nutrients, and can even protect against cancer – especially when eaten raw. If your child (or yourself!) struggle to get this power-house veggie into your diet, you’ll definitely want to try this recipe.
This salad features everyone’s favorite warm-season vegetable: corn! It’s nice & light, and pairs well with almost any summer dish.
Most coleslaws are drowning in mayo. What I love about this recipe is that it’s fresh & mayo-free. Although, while we’re on the topic of mayo… if you’re looking for a healthier mayo, try the avocado-based mayo from Primal Kitchen – it’s healthier, and still very delicious.
Hummus is perfect for dipping chips & veggies *and* for gut health because it’s loaded with prebiotics. I love this recipe in particular because it’s an easy way to sneak in some extra greens with the spinach, and fresh herbs. Plus, if there’s any left over, it saves beautifully too!
Who doesn’t love guacamole? You can serve this dip with sliced veggies like carrots, celery sticks and bell pepper, or tortilla chips, which are naturally gluten-free.
You know you’ve found a golden dessert recipe when it can double as breakfast! Not only will you love how this crumble tastes, but you won’t have any regret afterward. If you have a freezer nearby, it pairs with ice cream, but honestly, you don’t even need it!
Pro Tip: This recipe works just as nicely with frozen blueberries. Go for *wild* blueberries, which have 2x the antioxidants. I keep this brand stocked in my freezer all year long.
This delicious, creamy dessert is easy to prepare, easy to transport, and made with simple, raw, ingredients. Nobody will even know that it’s made with avocados!! But, you may want to tell them afterwards so they can be inspired by your healthy make-ahead concoctions 😉
Other Labor Day Essentials to Bring With You.
Alright, you’re almost ready to go!
But before you head out for a weekend of fun, make sure you’ve got the rest of the weekend essentials in your bag.
- Safe sunscreen. Be sure to check the EWG’s website before you go to ensure your sunscreen is non-toxic. Earth Mama mineral sunscreen is a trusted brand I love.
- Hats for the family. The sun's rays are strongest from 10 AM to 4 PM, so grab some sun hats if you want to soak up these last summer rays in style.
- Water, water, water! Wherever you’re headed, it’s always a good idea to pack some water bottles. Opt for glass if possible since the plastic ones can leach chemicals into your water.
Okay, you’re all set to get out there and soak up the last of summer 😉
Enjoy Your Labor Day!
Coming up with meal ideas that are healthy, easy to transport & versatile enough for larger crowds can feel challenging.
I hope this article makes it easier for you so you can end summer on a stress-free note 😉