Despite its religious past, St. Patrick’s Day is far from innocent nowadays. The traditional feast day is now beloved in the U.S. for indulging in corned beef and cabbage and (often) throwing back a few too many. But you don’t have to choose between your healthy habits and having a good time.
Don’t go hungry
Whether you’re heading out for a traditional Irish meal or a wild night on the town, don’t go out hungry. Starting a meal starving can prime us to overeat. Not to mention, drinking alcohol can lower our inhibitions (including our good intentions to not dive into that basket of fries), and beginning the night with an empty stomach only makes it harder to forego late night junk food.
Cabbage > corned beef
Of course, no food is ever off limits, but look to filling veggies first to help you satisfy your appetite. Cabbage is a low-calorie green food and will help you feel full. If you’re cooking for yourself, try adding festive green veggies to plump up your meal. This Shamrock Salad is a great example of a healthy St. Patty’s Day recipe that still remains festive. Corned beef is a Noom red food, so enjoy just 1 slice for about 100 calories.
Watch your portions
Whether it’s alcohol, soda bread, or beef, portion sizes can make all the difference. You can indulge in the traditional foods, as long as you keep portion sizes in mind. When you know how much a serving of each food or drink should be, it’s easier to remain aware of the trade-offs. For example, ask yourself, would I rather have 1 slice of corned beef or 1 light beer. Try logging a few foods before you fill your plate (or pint glass) to decide where to indulge and where to cut.
Focus on your food
At festive occasions like St. Patrick’s Day, it can be easy to get distracted from what you’re eating. Try to remain mindful, thinking about what your food tastes like, how it feels in your mouth, and how satisfying it feels in your belly. Focus on your food and eat slowly. This practice will make it easier to pass on seconds or thirds without feeling cheated.
If you decide to opt out of booze, good for you. But we know most will be indulging in at least a drink or two. The best options for alcoholic beverages are light beers, red or white wine, or liquor mixed with soda water. Beware of tonic water — it has lots of sugar.
You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: Alternate your boozy drinks with good ol’ H2O. Drinking water keeps you hydrated and slows your drinking, helping you consume fewer calories from alcohol.