As they say, “Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!” But that usually just means that everyone can partake in the long-standing tradition of overindulging in fatty foods and rich lagers. Most holidays have become food fests, but this one is a real diet breaker. The interesting thing about St. Patrick’s Day, though, is that it’s always been that way.
Christian prohibitions on meat and other things during lent have always been waived during this celebratory feast to pay tribute to the man who was credited for brining Christianity to Ireland. Imagine not cheating on a strict diet for an entire month, and then having one free day where you can go wild.
I always encourage celebration, but it also doesn’t hurt to tone things down a bit. If you really want to have the “luck of the Irish,” stick with the traditional St. Patrick’s Day foods that are actually good for your body. Here are a few:
- Cabbage – Cabbage is loaded with phytonutrients and vitamins, including A, C and K, which are natural antioxidants. It’s also a good source of dietary fiber (nearly 15% of daily recommended value per serving).
- Carrots – Carrots are absolutely loaded with antioxidants in the form of carotenoids, anthocyanindins and vitamin C.
- Corned beef – Corned beef is packed with protein, B-vitamins and zinc. Just remember that it is extremely high in fat, so don’t overdo it.
- Potatoes – Protein, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc and vitamin C are all found in the potato. But don’t load it up with butter, bacon or cheese (saturated fat and cholesterol traps).