3 Irish Favorites For A Healthier St. Patrick’s Day

by Tiffany Naticchioni, RDN, LD

Last Updated: March 11, 2021

One might quickly think of the scrumptious corned beef and cabbage dish when pondering which Irish foods to enjoy in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. However, it might come as a surprise that this recipe is, in fact, not considered an Irish national dish, according to the locals. The Irish value their high-quality ingredients like meat, cabbage, and potatoes, but this association was born in North America and considered part of Irish American culture. While it can be difficult for the Irish locals to define what “Irish cuisine,” we rely on the long-time staples present in the Irish culture to plan our hand at an authentic Irish meal.

In light of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration on March 17th, when Americans tend to prepare various Irish favorites, we bring you a few dishes anyone can try at home. It is possible to modify these authentic recipes for your health using lower carbohydrate, lower fat, and lower sodium ingredients. Enjoy a festive dish and lower your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure while still enjoying your cultural favorites.
  1. Irish Stew
    This combination of meat, vegetables, and herbs will have your mouth watering as the aroma fills your home. This can be made in a slow cooker or stovetop in ~about an hour and a half. Some varieties even include the favored Irish beer, Guinness!
  2. Irish Colcannon
    This popular side dish takes about 35 minutes to prepare and consists of a mashed potato base, one thinly sliced leek, lots of Kale, butter, half & half, and salt. YUMMY!
  3. Shepherd’s Pie
    This comfort food serves up more than just a skillet of nutrition. It also helps reduce food waste. It is a layered pie consisting of the previous night’s stew topped with mashed potatoes and then baked. If you don’t have stew leftovers, try it from scratch! Shepherd’s Pie is also known as Cottage Pie.

Nutrition tips:
  • Try using olive oil or avocado oil to replace butter. Unsaturated fats are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • In place of half & half, consider a lower fat dairy option, such as 1% milk, or use unsweetened almond milk to provide a creamy texture and healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
  • If you want to help reduce sodium in your diet, try to omit the salt or use only half of what you would normally use. This can work to reduce blood pressure for a strong and healthy heart.
  • For more tips on modifying ingredients in baking, check out this and other articles on www.Krogerhealth.com: 10 Easy Ingredient Substitutes For Missing Items In Your Pantry.

It is not necessary to have chef-level skills to try your hand at cooking and baking. Many Irish classics are easy to prepare, and you can even throw some into a slow cooker. We hope you find these healthy modifications delicious as you enjoy the Irish cultural favorites, aye!

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.


Tiffany Naticchioni, RDN, LD

Tiffany Naticchioni, RDN, LD

Tiffany is a compassionate dietitian with experience in nutrition throughout her lifespan along with empowering those with diabetes and heart disease to use food as medicine. A believer in total body wellness, she has a decade of experience as a licensed massage therapist. With a passion for healthy living, she practices hot yoga, enjoys most any fitness activities, stays active in the community, and loves spending time with her family.