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Nothing says St. Patrick’s Day like a thick stout, a green hat, and a plate full of rich Irish food. Corned Beef and Cabbage? Check. Guinness Irish Stew? Check. Lots of fat and calories? Check Check. It’s not necessarily something we want to think about as we’re shoveling in forkfuls of Irish goodness, but since March is also National Nutrition Month, you should be aware that there are ways to make these scrumptious dishes a wee bit healthier. All you need to do is make some minor adjustments and you’ll have rich Irish fare without the calorie overload.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sponsors National Nutrition Month, striving to make Americans more aware of nutrition education and help them make better food choices. So let’s make the Academy proud and start a new St. Patrick’s Day tradition with healthier holiday food. Here are a few recipes to give your St. Patty’s day menu a healthier twist:

Corned Beef

Corned Beef is by far the long-standing St. Patrick’s Day favorite. Problem is, corned beef is a relatively high-calorie food. For example, a 3-ounce serving of corned beef is 213 calories, while a 3-ounce serving of skinless chicken breast is only 166 calories. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t enjoy some corned beef and cabbage now and again. You can. Just be mindful of the caloric intake, control your portions, and prepare the corned beef in a healthier fashion—like boiling or baking the raw brisket and serving it with cabbage or other low-calorie side dishes.

Low-Fat Beef Stew

Beef stew is another favorite St. Patty’s day dish. A hearty blend of beef, vegetables, and rice make it perfect for lunch, dinner, or office potlucks. Keep an eye on your added ingredients though and substitute high-fat items with lower-fat options. Use herbs and spices to flavor your stew and use a crock-pot or Dutch oven to cook your meat slowly. This low-fat beef stew recipe is 324 calories and has 7.6 grams of fat per serving.

Irish Colcannon and Thyme Leaf Soup

A very low-fat option is Irish Colcannon and Thyme Leaf Soup. With 130 calories and 4 grams of fat, this traditional Irish soup combines mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage garnished with thyme and black pepper. You can reduce the fat and calorie count even more by reducing or omitting the butter.

Brown Soda Bread

Brown soda bread is a mainstay of Irish cuisine. A lighter version of the bread blends whole-wheat flour, wheat germ, and steel-cut oats to create a fiber-rich, healthier option with 160 calories and 1.8 grams of fat per serving.

Roasted Wild Salmon and Dill

Fresh salmon is an omega-rich, healthy food option that also happens to be a staple ingredient in traditional Irish dishes. Fresh salmon is conventionally served with peas and potatoes. Salmon dishes with pasta on the side are also gaining popularity—just remember, be mindful of the ingredients you add to you side dishes. A deck-card size of salmon offers about 192 calories and 7 grams of fat.

Do you have a healthier twist on your favorite Irish dish? Share it with us!

* Corned Beef Courtesy Of: flickr.com