Nope, you don’t have to hail from Ireland to revel in the fun of this Irish holiday. And you don’t need to derail your weight loss plan, either! With a little creativity and some smart swaps, you can enjoy all the traditions of St. Patrick’s Day while staying on track. Here are seven healthy ways to eat, drink and be merry this St. Paddy’s Day:
1. Top Your Mornin’ Healthy
Start your lucky day right with a good-for-you breakfast. True to its name, the Irish Flag Fruit and Yogurt Parfait layers green kiwi slices, white Greek yogurt and mandarin oranges to create a sweet, themed morning treat.
For something a little more authentic, try the Nutrisystem-approved Healthy Irish Soda Bread Muffin recipe. It’s a perfectly portioned version of this classic treat that’s easily portable if you’re on the go.
Another fun option: pancakes, made green—courtesy of spinach and sweetened with banana in this super simple recipe.
2. Reimagine Corned Beef and Cabbage
A must-have meal for St. Paddy’s Day, but not so much for your diet. Recreate this standard into Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup to enjoy the same flavors in a waist-friendly way. Lean corned beef brisket and earthy cabbage create the base, while potatoes, carrots and celery add healthy heartiness. It all simmers in a seasoned broth for a soup that will fill your belly with fewer calories.
Or, for an inspired spin on the classic, check out our recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage Egg Rolls! The two main ingredients are mixed with Swiss cheese and stuffed into crispy egg roll wrappers for a fun fusion that’s as unique as it is delicious.
Our Corned Beef and Cabbage Quesadillas are another tasty twist on the traditional meal. They feature corned beef, sauerkraut or cabbage, Swiss cheese and whole wheat tortillas for a healthy meal worth celebrating.
3. Try a Twist on Potatoes
Spuds are often the stars of Irish fare, but their dishes can be loaded in extra fat and calories. Enter the smart swap. Colcannon—a St. Paddy’s Day staple—typically combines mashed potatoes and cabbage with a bunch of cream and butter. Our skinny version subs in cauliflower for potatoes and includes nutrient-rich kale instead of cabbage. It also uses lighter versions of milk and butter to make the creamy classic you can enjoy, guilt-free. Check out our Cauliflower Colcannon recipe here! >
Prefer the bite of a potato pancake to a creamy mash? Try this Irish “Potato” Pancake recipe that uses cottage cheese, oats, vanilla extract and cinnamon to make the potato-free pancake. Neufchatel cheese and Greek yogurt create the creamy drizzle, while shredded coconut adds extra sweetness.
And speaking of sweet, check out this healthier version of Skinny Irish Potatoes—treats that are made to look like potatoes, but taste like dessert.
4. Serve Shamrock Snacks
Nothing symbolizes St. Patrick’s Day more than a three-leaf clover, so what better way to pay homage than serving party guests fun dips with a shamrock twist. Make your own healthy dip with a side of clover-shaped chips by following our easy Spinach Dip with Shamrock Tortilla Chips recipe! Or serve a variety of different dips out of three hollowed green bell peppers that are arranged in the shape of a shamrock (Here’s the how-to! >)
For a little more sustenance, Shamrockin’ Tea Sandwiches offer English muffins, a spread of Neufchatel cheese with chives and dill, and a green shamrock on top shaped from a creative combo of sliced cucumber, green bell pepper and parsley leaves. Avocado Deviled Eggs are another festive treat that add more green deliciousness to your St. Patrick’s Day snack table.
5. Sip Something Green
If you prefer that something to be minty and sweet, the Pot of Gold St. Patrick’s Shake is the sip for you. Unsweetened vanilla almond milk, Nutrisystem Vanilla Protein Shake Mix, mint extract, spinach leaves and raw cashews blend to create a creamy and delicious drink for a fraction of the calories and carbs that comes in similar restaurant versions.
If smoothies are more your speed, enjoy one of these appropriately-hued options: Green Goddess, Peachy Green Ginger Smoothie or the Lean, Green Grape Machine.
6. Choose Beer Wisely
The beverage of choice for this holiday tends to be beer. Guinness comes to mind first; 12 ounces of this quintessential St. Paddy’s Day stout will set you back about 125 calories, so be sure to keep track if you indulge. For some other lower-calorie options, check out this article for 10 beers that actually taste good! >
7. Do an Irish Jig
Throw on some classic Irish tunes, cue up an online tutorial and dance your way around your living room or in the great outdoors. All that jumping and stepping helps you burn extra calories and boost your health. Not to mention, it’s fun for the whole family! Here are five reasons to put on your dancing shoes and get moving. >
Need a little extra inspiration? Check out this fun flowchart on how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! >
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