For each petal on the shamrock this brings a wish your way. Good health, good luck, and happiness for today and every day. – Irish Blessing
Around mid-March each year, it's not exactly a secret (unlike the whereabouts of a leprechaun's gold) that we consume a massive number of calories for a few days while dressed in green. If you're trying to maintain a diet or healthier lifestyle, in recent times what used to be a "cheat day" has grown into a multi-week celebration. A paper in Philadelphia is even calling it "St. Patrick's Month" there.
Ironically, some of the most unhealthy St. Pat's fare and festivities weren't part of the traditional celebrations in Ireland, they are strictly American inventions. Across the pond it's not such a big drinking day, for example, and for most of the 20th century pubs were legally closed on March 17th. And the food? Corned beef isn't really an Irish tradition (it's 'as Irish as spaghetti and meatballs' says the History Channel) but this Paddy's Day staple features over 20g fat, 1260g of sodium and almost 300 calories.
For those that want to partake in the greenery but aren't willing to have a "cheat week" we've got you covered. Here's a list of some clean or lean healthier Irish recipe alternatives.
St. Patrick's Day Irish Alternative Recipes
Roasted Cabbage Steaks
Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr via MyRecipes.com
Ditch the corned beef on St. Patrick's Day for this delicious alternative that features three simple ingredients (and a fraction of the calories and sodium of its beefy brother). View the recipe
Mini Shepherd's Pies
This hearty recipe packs loads of vitamins and nutrients into the traditional Irish favorite and replaces the carb-heavy potatoes with squash puree. Baked individually so they're amazingly convenient for parties. View the recipe
Paddy's Day Colcannon
photo via cleaneatingmag.com
Irish Colcannon is a traditional favorite that's made in many different styles. It's simple and easy to make, but packs a satisfying heartiness. Try two of our healthier spins on the recipe:
Irish Soda Bread
photo via karalydon.com
This bread is seen at traditional St. Patrick's Day celebrations all over the globe and has a storied history (there's even a Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread). While these recipes may not look a lot like what was served a century ago, the health-conscious folks of today may find these still dense, sweet recipes a better fit for their diet.
Toast St. Paddy's with These Drinks and More
Even if you're watching your calories, you can't have St. Patrick's Day without the beverages and desserts.
photo via immaeatthat.com
Drinks to Make
- Minty Kale Limeade Mocktail: Show off your green with this kale juice recipe featuring a minty twist. Great as a healthy anytime drink. Recipe features lime juice and a touch of honey for a zing or add a favorite margarita mixer for more kick. View the recipe
- Creamy Kiwi Green Smoothie: Start a day of festivities off right with this super-green, nutrient-rich smoothie. This non-alcoholic recipe offers plenty of sweet taste and is packed with Vitamin C. View the recipe
- Cucumber Mint Gin Coolers: Ahhh..the name kind of says it all. View the recipe
Drinks to Order
A Pint of ..Guinness? Surprisingly, Guinness is not as bad as one would think, due to its dark color. It has less alcohol than most beers (and much less than craft beer) and under 125 calories, similar to many light domestic beers. Dark Irish Stouts also contain antioxidants and flavanoids that may have heart-protective benefits, not to mention iron and protein.
Jameson and Soda: Not quite as exciting as some of the other neon colored drinks you'll see around, but this one's simple and your midsection will thank you. Just mix a splash of club soda and add lemon (with or without ice) and get a nice, sweet flavor with about 2/3 less calories than most super-sweetened cocktails or heavy brews.
photo via eatingwell.com
Desserts at the End of the Rainbow
Check out these delightfully fun and delicious spins on St. Patrick's Day sweets to top off healthier day (you've earned it).
We hope you enjoyed (and feel good about eating) some of these amazing healthier recipes for St. Patrick's Day/Weekend/Month. Try them now or all year round, and luck of the Irish to you!