Preparing for a pub crawl
If you plan on hitting the bars, keep your drinking in check. Just because you are having fun, the luck o' the Irish doesn't make green beers and St Patrick's Day cocktails calorie-free. Here are some quick tips to navigate the pub offerings, courtesy of Weight Watchers.
- Hydrate before and during your pub outing – drink a glass of water in between drinks.
- Don't drink on an empty stomach – it can cause you to overeat.
- Lighten your choices – choose light beer or a wine spritzer.
- Keep in mind a serving of alcohol is 12 ounces for beer, 5 ounces for wine, or 1 shot of hard liquor.
In addition to watching your portions, keep these diet tips in mind when you are faced with pub grub.
- Fill up on fiber - opt for whole-grains, like brown rice and whole wheat bread, which will keep you fuller, longer.
- Forgo the fried foods – order dishes that are grilled, boiled, steamed or stir-fried because they typically have less fat.
- Eat your veggies – salads (with low-fat dressing) and vegetarian entrees are usually healthy options.
- Ask for a healthy substitution – if your entree comes with fries, ask for a salad or a side of vegetables instead.
St Patrick's Day recipes
Not into the bar scene? Invite your friends over for a St Patrick's Day celebration at home. Serve the following recipes, which are healthier renditions of the high-fat, high-sodium, high-calorie bar food you'd find downtown.
These low-fat poppers are baked not fried. Though not traditional St Patrick's Day Irish food, many bars serve them as appetizers. And, bonus, they are
2 sprays olive oil cooking spray, divided
2 ounces light cream cheese
1/2 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon fat-free mayonnaise
8 small jalapeno pepper
1/4 cup fat-free egg substitute
3/4 cup cornflake crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese and mayonnaise. Mix well and set aside.
2. Halve jalapenos lengthwise and remove seeds. Stuff jalapeno halves with cream cheese mixture.
3. Place egg substitute in a shallow dish. Place cornflake crumbs in a separate shallow dish. Dip stuffed jalapeno halves into egg substitute and then roll in cornflake crumbs to coat.
4. Transfer jalapenos to prepared baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Bake until filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.
Garlicky White Bean Dip with Crudites
What party or holiday doesn't have dip? Serve with a colorful array of fresh vegetables. You can even add a couple drops of green food coloring to give it a St Patrick's Day appeal.
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 medium garlic clove, minced
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon table salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika or chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1. To prepare dip, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring constantly, until garlic just begins to turn golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
2. In a food processor (or blender), combine oil mixture, beans and lemon juice. Process until smooth, slowly adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to obtain a thick yet creamy consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Transfer dip to a small bowl and garnish with paprika or chopped parsley, if desired. Serve with prepared vegetables.
Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip
Another bar food classic, Buffalo Wings get a healthy update in this recipe.
1 spray olive oil cooking spray, or enough to coat sheet
12 ounces uncooked skinless chicken wings
1 (1-1/4 ounce) package Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Mix, or similar product
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
2 tablespoons blue cheese, or gorgonzola, crumbled
2 tablespoons fat-free skim milk
4 medium stalk celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Place chicken wings in a zip-close plastic bag. Add taco seasoning, seal bag and shake to coat. Transfer wings to prepared baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 18 to 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, to prepare dip, whisk together sour cream, cheese and milk. Serve wings with dip and celery on the side.
Next page…Traditional Irish Dishes