Healthy shamrock shake

Pinch me! Saint Patrick’s Day is around the corner. Between the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage or a pint (or two) of green beer, finding a nutritious meal can feel like the search for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow – impossible.

But, you are in luck! We gathered recipes for healthy alternatives for your leprechaun treats, just in time for your Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Virginia Mirenzi, a certified diabetes educator (CDE) with AAMG Diabetes and Endocrine Specialists, shares how to go green for St. Patty’s day with more veggies and a pot full of good luck:

Go Green with a Healthy Shamrock Shake

A large McDonald’s Shamrock Shake has 800 calories, 22 grams of fat, and 131 grams of carbohydrates. Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with a trimmed-down version of this festive treat.

  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or vanilla yogurt) or a scoop of protein powder
  • 1 to 2 cups baby spinach
  • 4 fresh mint leaves or 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon mint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk (almond, coconut, soy, or cow’s milk)

Optional additions:

  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds, which help to thin the shake
  • A squirt of whipped cream or whipped topping
  • A sprinkling of chocolate chips or cacao nibs on top


Add ingredients to blender and process until smooth.  Pour into tall glass and top with whipped cream and chocolate chips or cacao nibs.

Nutritional facts:  200 calories, 4 grams of fat, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 16 grams of protein (varies with ingredient choices).

Quick “Corned” Beef

Traditional corned beef and cabbage can be loaded with sodium and leave you stuck in the kitchen all day. Here is a quick twist on the tradition, inspired by a recipe from Eating Well magazine:

  • 2 tablespoons pickling spices
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, divided
  • 1 pound skirt steak, trimmed
  • 1 pound of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 cups mini carrots
  • 2 cups baby potatoes, halved
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons malt vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow or Dijon mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Grind pickling spices in a spice grinder or cleaned coffee grinder and combine in a small bowl with the dry mustard and salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
  3. Toss the veggies in a large bowl with half the spice mixture and two tablespoons of oil. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet.  Roast until tender for 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Rub the remaining mixture on the steak, and let marinate in spices for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk 1 tablespoon of oil, vinegar, and mustard with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a small bowl. Set aside this vinaigrette to drizzle on veggies before serving.
  6. After the veggies cook for 15 minutes, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the steak, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, and longer if you’d like it more well-done.  Let rest on a clean cutting board for 5 minutes, and then thinly slice against the grain.
  7. Drizzle the roasted vegetables with the vinaigrette and serve with the steak.

Serves 4.

Nutritional facts: 500 calories, 25 grams of fat, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 8.5 grams of fiber, and 37 grams of protein per serving.

Rainbow Veggie Platter & Dip
Eating the rainbow (eating a variety of different-colored fruits and vegetables) is a great practice for every day healthy living.  Most colorful fruits and veggies have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that may benefit different aspects of your health.

1 pint grape tomatoes

8 oz baby carrots

1 bell pepper sliced

1/2 head broccoli cut into florets

1/4 head cauliflower cut into florets

1/4 red onion sliced

1/4 cup ranch dressing mix

1/4 cup Greek yogurt


  1. Wash all the vegetables.
  1. Remove the broccoli stem and cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets.
  2. Cut around the stem of the cauliflower and remove the leaves around the base of the cauliflower. Break the cauliflower into bite-sized florets.
  3. Slice the yellow bell pepper and red onion.
  4. Arrange the vegetables around the platter in a semi-circle, starting with the grape tomatoes on the outside.
  5. Then, add the baby carrots, yellow bell pepper, broccoli, and red onion (in that order)
  6. Arrange the cauliflower around the bottom of the rainbow so that they form a cloud shape.
  7. Mix together ranch dressing mix and Greek yogurt for your healthy dip option.

Nutritional facts: Served 4. 180 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 4.5 grams of fiber, and 18.5 grams of protein per serving.

Whether you’re of Irish heritage or Irish at heart, we hope you find your pot of gold on Saint Patrick’s Day!


Virginia Mirenzi, CDE, is a diabetes educator with AAMG Diabetes and Endocrine Specialists.

Originally published March 13, 2019. Last updated March 15, 2021.