By Shannon Flanagan-CPT
St. Patricks Day is right around the corner, and to many this is an excuse to throw that healthy diet out the window for a day. The truth is, you do not need to binge drink and eat unhealthy, fattening foods to enjoy this holiday. For example, I will be celebrating by running 26.2 miles in the LA marathon and then enjoying these healthy treats.
Mint Chocolate Oatmeal
303 calories, 4.5 grams sugar, 5 grams fat, 33.6 grams carbohydrates, 26.7 grams protein
These minty green-colored oats make a festive St. Patrick’s Day breakfast. The mint and chocolate flavors go hand in hand to boost the oats with an almost dessert-like flavor, while chia seeds add nutritional value in the form of omega-3s and fiber.
1/2 c. oats mixed with 1 1/2 c. water
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 scoop vanilla Protein Powder
2-3 tsp. mint extract
1 tsp. cacao powder
Green food coloring
Microwave 1/2 c. oats with 1 1/2 c. liquid (water or milk). After oats are cooked add chia seeds, protein powder, mint extract, cacao powder, and food coloring. Mix all together. You could make the oats night before and refrigerate overnight for cold oats or cook in the morning and enjoy hot. For the chocolate frosting, mix 1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder, 2 tbsp. cocoa powder, stevia, and water.
Makes 1 serving.
143 calories, 1.2 grams sugar, 9.1 grams fat, 3.8 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams protein
A clever take on Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham, this is an easy-to-make recipe that doesn’t require fake food coloring! Instead, harness the healthy powers of a veggie, such as fresh kale or spinach, to tinge the scrambled eggs with a green hue.
6 eggs (pastured and/or organic eggs recommended)
1 tbsp. milk (whole milk recommended)
1 c. fresh kale or spinach leaves, washed with big stems removed
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable spray for frying
Combine first 4 ingredients in a blender (including the salt and pepper) and blend until the greens are pureed into little bits. Spray on the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Pour the egg mixture into the warm pan. Let it sit for a couple minutes before you begin to stir and scramble with a spatula. Cook until eggs are done all the way through.
Makes 3 servings.
Green Detox Soup
calories 6.5 grams sugar, 15.3 grams fat, 26.6 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams protein
A delectable fusion of healthy vegetables, this green soup is great to serve on St. Patrick’s Day (and also ideal for detoxing the next day!). Avocado, broccoli, and arugula not only lend the soup its rich emerald shade, but ensure that every sip is brimming with nutritional benefits too.
1/2 Haas avocado
8-10 decent-sized broccoli clusters (stems kept at least 1 in. long)
1/3 onion of choice
2 handfuls arugula
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt (about 1 tsp.) or to taste
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Red pepper flakes (about 1/4 tsp.) or to taste
Drizzle of honey or agave
Juice from half a lemon
1 in. minced ginger root
1 c. water
Lightly steam the broccoli. Remove from heat when bright green. Sauté onions in olive oil until just soft. Place cooked broccoli and onions and all the other ingredients in a blender, food processor, or use hand immersion blender. Add 1/2 c. water and blend. Keep adding more water until you reach desired consistency. Add any additional salt to taste. Enjoy hot or cold!
Makes 2 servings.
Quinoa-Stuffed Roasted Green Peppers
436 calories, 15 grams fat, 57 grams carbohydrates, 27 grams protein, 16 grams fiber
For a hearty lunch or dinner idea, look no further than these roasted green peppers. Stuffed with quinoa and other healthy ingredients (like edamame, tomatoes, and mushrooms), these tender peppers offers a vegetarian friendly meal that’s sure to impress guests.
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. frozen edamame, thawed
5 white mushrooms, sliced
1 roma tomato, diced
1 c. fresh spinach
2 organic green bell peppers
1 tbsp. teriyaki stir-fry sauce
1/2 c. uncooked quinoa, rinsed and cooked
1/3 c. water
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add edamame, mushrooms, and tomato, stirring until cooked, roughly 5-7 minutes. Add spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. Add in the stir-fry sauce and cook until coated. Remove from heat and place in a medium-sized bowl with cooked quinoa. Toss to combine. Set aside to let the filling cool until just warm. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the tops off the peppers, and then core and seed them. Stuff each pepper with the filling, packing it down until each pepper is filled to the top. Place the peppers in a baking dish and replace the tops. Add the water to the bottom of the dish. Cover everything with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, then bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until peppers are soft and juicy. Remove peppers from baking dish and serve.
Makes 2 servings.
Protein Shamrock Shake
180 calories, 5 grams fat, 8 grams carbohydrates, 30 grams protein
Tempted to order McDonald’s famous Shamrock Shake? Try whipping up this guilt-free version at home. This icy beverage blends fat-free yogurt with protein powder, and every sip is infused with a hint of cool minty flavor. You can’t beat the beautiful green shade for the perfect St. Paddy’s Day delight!
1/2c. fat-free greek yogurt
1 scoop vanilla or plain protein powder
1/8 tsp. mint extract (or to taste)
2-3 packets stevia or sweetener of choice (or to taste)
5-10 ice cubes (more or less depending on how thick you like it)
4-6 oz. water (alter according to desired thickness)
A few drops of green food coloring, or a handful of spinach to make it green
1-2 tbsp. Sugar-Free Instant pistachio pudding Mix (optional)
Pinch of guar of xanthan gum (optional)
Put all the base ingredients in the blender, and blend away until desired consistency! Swirl in one drop of red food coloring just before serving, and top with whipped cream and crushed candy cane if desired!
Makes 1 serving.
Key Lime Yogurt Pie
160 calories, 16 grams sugar, 4 grams fat, 26 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein
You won’t need the luck o’ the Irish when you’re whipping up this low-calorie key lime pie. Thanks to fat-free cream cheese and light yogurt, this no-bake dessert won’t max out your daily calorie intake.
2 tbsp. cold water
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
4 oz. fat-free cream cheese, softened
3 containers (6 oz. each) Yoplait Light Thick & Creamy key lime pie yogurt
1/2 c. frozen (thawed) reduced-fat whipped topping
2 tsp. grated lime peel
1 reduced-fat graham cracker crumb crust (6 oz.)
In 1-quart saucepan, mix water and lime juice. Sprinkle gelatin on lime juice mixture; let stand 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved. Cool slightly, about 2 minutes. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add yogurt and lime juice mixture; beat on low speed until well blended. Fold in whipped topping and lime peel. Pour into crust. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
Makes 8 servings.