Eat Green on Saint Patrick's Day

Sharing in the fun does not have to mean food-dyed beer, bagels and cupcakes. There is an abundance of naturally green foods aka plant powerhouses! These green plant foods are low-calorie and high in fiber and phytonutrients, aiding in hunger regulation and immune support. Here are fun ways to incorporate green grub into your day!

Make a fruit salad with green grapes, kiwi, green apple slices, and chopped pear.

Serve raw celery, asparagus, broccoli, bell pepper, and sugar snap peas with a hummus dip blended with edamame or a yogurt dill taziki. Add carrots for colors of the Irish flag!
For an entrée, opt for a veggie pizza with sliced green bell pepper, broccoli and spinach, OR a whole wheat pasta pesto dish.

Toss up a side salad with arugula, romaine and baby spinach topped with sliced avocado, cucumbers, and onion, drizzled with a basil green goddess dressing.

Offer up refreshing cold seltzer water flavored with fresh mint, cucumber or lime juice

Savor the Flavors of Ireland

Classic Irish ingredients can be used in healthy and delicious ways- take a look!

Steel Cut Oats: Also called Irish Oatmeal, these oats are sliced with a steel blade (steel cut), rather than rolled. Although these take longer to prepare (about 30 minutes) many people prefer these oats because of their nutty flavor and hearty texture. You'll find quick cooking varieties available in the grocery store but here’s how to prepare traditional Irish Oatmeal:

Make overnight. Place 1 cup of steel cut oats, 4 cups water, and 1 cinnamon stick into a slow cooker. Cook on low for 7 hours. In the morning top with chopped unsalted nuts, a sliced banana, and a light drizzle of honey. 

Prepare on the stove top: Use ¼ cup steel cut oats and 1 cup water. Bring water to a boil, then add oats and boil for another 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for an additional 20 minutes. For a creamier flavor, add in 1% milk or vanilla-flavored unsweetened almond milk.

Potatoes: Would it really be St. Patrick’s Day without potatoes? “Champ” is the traditional Irish dish for mashed potatoes that includes lots of butter and scallions. Here’s a better-for-you method without high saturated fat ingredients:

Use the creamiest potato -- Yukon Gold. Cut 4 potatoes into chunks. Leave the skin on to retain fiber and other nutrients like vitamin C. Steam potatoes with 4 whole garlic cloves and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Once they’re fork tender, add them to a bowl with ¼ cup hot low sodium chicken broth and mash. They’ll be creamy and flavorful.

Cabbage: A staple on St. Patrick’s Day, but can be a delicious side anytime. The typical dish calls for boiling cabbage in pickling spices to add flavor. Try roasting instead: Slice cabbage into 1-inch rounds. Place on a baking sheet that has a light coating of nonstick cooking spray. Use an oil mister to mist 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and black pepper. Roast at 400ºF for 40-45 minutes until edges are golden and cabbage is tender. *For a more colorful and nutritious mix, roast carrots and sliced beets with the cabbage.

Corn Beef: Corned beef is a brisket that has been salt cured, making it high in sodium. A small 3 oz portion has 40% of your daily sodium allowance. For a healthier alternative, try a lower-sodium corned beef. Or choose an uncured beef brisket, which will also have lower sodium content. Trim the fat from the meat before cooking. While there aren’t many ways to lighten up this traditional Irish meat dish, you can still stick to healthy intentions by minding your portion size. Allow ¼ of your 9-inch plate to be occupied by the corned beef, leaving the other ¼ of the plate for the potatoes, and ½ of the plate for non-starchy vegetables like cabbage, carrots and beets. Serve yourself corn beef that is the size of a deck of poker cards- about 3 oz.

Lightened Up Shepard's Pie


2 lbs ground beef 90-93% lean (or crumbled tempeh for a plant-based version)

4 cups worth of boiled mashed potatoes, skin on, no milk or fat added
1 egg
1 bag (10 oz) frozen sweet peas
non-stick cooking spray or olive oil with a mister
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced celery
3 Tbsp tomato paste, low sodium
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (Try a homemade vegan substitute, recipe here)
4 oz low sodium beef or vegetable broth
1 tsp black pepper
Optional: ½ tsp salt


In a sauce pan over medium heat, cook carrots, onions and celery in non-stick cooking spray until soft and onions translucent, then move to a bowl. Add in low sodium broth and meat or plant-based alternative, then brown- cook until almost cooked through. Add more broth if needed. Add in Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Then add in frozen peas. Once well mixed, move to a baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Prepare the potatoes by boiling in water until slightly over cooked and easy to mash. Leave skin on and smash potatoes. Once mashed, mix with 1 egg. Layer potato mixture over the meat and veggie mixture in the baking dish like you are frosting a cake. Spray the top with non-stick cooking spray. Crack fresh black pepper on top, and if using salt, sprinkle with < ½ tsp salt. Cook uncovered in oven heated to 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Serve with a side salad and cabbage for a balanced meal. 

Makes 8 portions.

1/8 of pie (lean beef version): 303 calories, 9g Total Fat, 3g Saturated Fat, 31g carbohydrate, 4g dietary fiber, 1g added sugar, 24g protein, 83mg Cholesterol, 693mg sodium (without salt)


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