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March 8, 2017

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Without Packing on the Pounds

By Avance Care Licensed Nutritionist: Erin Burke, MS, RDN, LDN

Looking for a way to celebrate this spirited holiday without packing on the pounds? Learn how to navigate this tricky food environment, try some new recipes, and support local businesses and causes!

Soups and Stews

Soups and stews are staples among many Irish pubs. Chock-full of corned beef, potatoes, or sausage, it’s no wonder these seemingly innocent menu items can pack in the calories! Look for a broth-based vegetable soup to start, or try the following recipe from to make your own Irish feast:

Corned Beef

Corned beef is beef brisket that is salt-brined and boiled, resulting in a tender product. On an Irish menu, you will likely see it served with potatoes (hash) or cabbage. Corned beef, while tender and flavorful, provides 16 grams of fat per 3 ounce portion (5 grams of which is the cholesterol-raising saturated fat) and 960mg+ of sodium! When served as an entree, you may very well consume 2 to 3 times your daily requirement for sodium in this one meal. Gotta have it? Save it for this special occasion. Other days this month: stick with lean roast beef!

Irish Pork Sausages

Like most sausages, Irish pork sausages are high in sodium and fat, with one small link providing about 11 grams of fat and 300 mg of sodium. With restaurant-sized portions, you will likely get 4-5 sausages per meal! In addition, they are often served with a large mound of mashed potatoes and rich gravy. Ask to have your mashed potatoes substituted for a baked potato, and consider splitting with a friend or saving half for later.
Beer and Whiskey

These days, St. Patrick’s Day would not be the same without mugs of green beer and Irish car bombs. Don’t forget about the calories you sip! One stein might hold 20 ounces of “green beer”, providing 180 calories; an Irish car bomb can provide 200+ calories per serving. Looking for a lighter option? Consider a Guinness! This surprisingly “light” beer is only 125 calories per bottle. Remember to drink responsibly – the recommended amount is one drink per day for women, and 2 drinks per day for men.

Looking for a heart-healthy way to celebrate? Try one of the following recipes, and then find an activity you enjoy around the triangle area!

St Patrick’s Day Events, Activities, and Races

• St. Patrick’s Day Luck-of –the-Irish Virtual 5k race:


• March 17th: Live Irish music and dancers at Doherty’s Irish Pub in Cary

• March 18th: Ella’s Race, a race to raise money for The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and The Cure Starts Now

• March 11th: Raleigh St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Wearin’ ‘O the Green Festival, Downtown Raleigh

• March 25th: nOG Run Club St. Paddy’s Day 8k

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