St. Patrick's Day is a festive opportunity to make healthy eating fun for kids. Capitalize on this holiday's themes and create positive St. Patty’s Day food memories by serving up a nutritious spread.
Serve Up the Green
Use the green theme of St. Patrick's Day to get kids interested in eating green produce, which is packed with all kinds of nutrients. Try these delicious options:
- Leprechaun Dip: Make an edamame dip that is not only green, but also contains protein, vitamins and minerals. Puree steamed and shelled edamame with olive oil, lime juice and cilantro. Serve with crisp green vegetables, such as cucumber slices, green bell pepper or snap peas.
- Shamrocks: Cut green bell peppers crosswise near the pointed end to make Shamrock-shaped slices. Or, make "Shamrock Mini Pizzas" by spreading pizza sauce and cheese over split English muffins. Place one bell pepper slice on each mini pizza, and bake until the cheese melts.
- Cabbage and corned beef: Make the veggie the focus by giving this classic dish a modern twist. Shred raw cabbage, add grated carrots and toss the mixture with a dash of salt and a tablespoon of sugar. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Drain any water that forms in the dish and toss the cabbage with a bit of vinegar. Sprinkle diced corned beef or bacon bits on top for a fresh, healthy cabbage and corned beef dish.
- Celtic pasta with peas: For a meatless main dish, toss cooked whole-grain pasta with pesto and green peas.
Embrace Ireland’s Favorite Veggie
Potatoes contain healthy vitamins, minerals and fiber. Experience Ireland’s passion for potatoes on this holiday:
- Potato soup: Make a healthy potato soup by substituting fat-free evaporated milk for heavy cream. This reduces the fat, while keeping the creaminess of this comforting dish.
- Baby boiled potatoes: Put garlic cloves, bay leaf and a pinch of salt in a pot of water. Drop in the baby potatoes and boil until soft. Toss with olive oil and chopped parsley or rosemary. Cut each potato in half and spear with a toothpick
- Sprouting potatoes: Cut baby potatoes and Brussels sprouts in half. Toss in olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Broil until lightly brown. Serve on skewers, alternating potato and sprout.
- Mashed potatoes: Whip up creamy mashed potatoes using low-fat milk, Greek yogurt or light sour cream and chives. Serve as a side dish or use as a topping for a traditional Shepherd's Pie prepared with lean ground beef or turkey.
Serve a Pot 'o Gold for Dessert
- Pot 'o Gold: Make up fruit skewers with green grapes and kiwi slices. Place a pineapple chunk at each end to serve as the "pot 'o gold."
- Apple pie smoothie: Blend a little bit of baby spinach, Greek yogurt and green apples. Mix in apple pie spice. Serve in 4-ounce portions.
- Honeydew sorbet: Make a green sorbet using honeydew melon.
Find a Nutrition Expert
Looking for credible nutrition information and recommendations? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' network of credentialed food and nutrition practitioners are ready to help!