It’s that time of year again. Spring is near, and lucky clovers, pots of gold, and shamrock shakes are back. A shake full of minty, creamy vanilla deliciousness with a hint of chocolate and topped with a rich dollop of whipped cream sounds like exactly what I need. However, if you have taken a peek at the nutritional facts on the famous shamrock shakes, they are far from health conscious. A small shake has roughly three times the amount of our daily recommended sugar intake! That is close to three candy bars in one small shake with very minimal nutritional value. As far as consuming one occasionally, I think I would rather fill my cup with the same amazing taste with some added health boosting benefits and a mom-approved stamp. Not to mention, I don’t have to wait in line while my kids yell at me for chicken nuggets and a toy to go with it!
My family and I love to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as we have Irish decent in our family tree. I vividly remember every year I would make sure to wear something green to elementary school so I wouldn’t be chased all day getting pinched. Now that my oldest son has reached the fun age where he likes to participate in all of the fun holidays, I am eager to take the celebrating to a whole new level. Childhood memories last a whole lifetime, and I hope that my kids will carry on all of the fun traditions we end up doing. Sipping on a shamrock shake and finding a four-leaf clover sounds like a wonderful time to me. It is also super reassuring that my kids are learning to choose healthier options, and I can celebrate fueling their brain development.
St. Patrick’s Day
March 17 is celebrated as a feast in honor of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, who converted the Irish to Christianity. He was born in Roman Britain in the fifth century, and he was later captured and enslaved at the age of 16 while taken to Ireland. He eventually escaped, but he returned to Ireland to establish monasteries, churches, and schools before dying on March 17, 461. Since around the ninth or tenth century, people in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast day. St. Patrick’s Day falls during the Christian Lent, and Irish families would attend church in the morning then celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against consuming meat were waived, and they would dance, drink, and feast on traditional Irish bacon and cabbage.
St. Patrick symbolized the shamrock to represent the holy trinity, each leaf representing the Father, the Son, and the Holy spirit. The word shamrock comes from the Gaelic word Seamrog, meaning, “little clover.” The three leaves of the shamrock were also known to stand for faith, hope, and love; whereas, if the fourth leaf were found, it was known to be good luck. The shamrock is now used to represent an iconic symbol of Irish heritage and culture. It appears on the flag of Erin Go Bragh, meaning, “Ireland Forever,” along with sports jerseys and even on an airline.
What is a shamrock shake?
It is a minty, soft-serve, vanilla-based drink that is bright green and served with whipped topping and a cherry on top. It has a taste of old school butter mints and can be perfectly paired with just about anything.
Benefits of the healthy shamrock shake
This healthy shamrock shake is significantly more nutrient dense and stays within the limits of the recommended daily sugar intake. It is also a great pre- and post-workout meal plus contains some amazing health benefits.
- Full of antioxidants
- Contains many essential vitamins and minerals
- Aids in muscle recovery and cramping
- Known to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
AMPD Nutrition Pro Vanilla Plant Protein
AMPD Nutrition’s Pro Vanilla is the ultimate plant-based protein. It is made from a unique combination of specialized proteins, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that work synergistically to support our body’s systems at the cellular level. It provides a wide range of vitamins and minerals for comprehensive support and helps maintain a healthy metabolism with B vitamins, zinc, and chromium. It also enhances weight management, body composition, and bone health with calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium. It is easy to digest as plants are much easier on the digestive system, which greatly reduces negative side effects such as gas and discomfort or pain.
Spinach is an extremely nutrient rich vegetable and an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. It is full of vitamins and minerals such as A, C, K1, folic acid, iron, and calcium. Spinach is also a wonderful antioxidant which fights off oxidative stress that causes premature aging, diabetes, and the increased risk of cancer. One small study shows spinach greatly prevents oxidative damage in humans and animals. Spinach is also rich in zeaxanthin and lutein which give it its deep hue. They work hard to prevent damage to the eye from sunlight along with macular degeneration cataracts. It has even been known to reverse some of the damage! It is also known to help reduce the growth of some cancers such as prostate, cervical, and breast cancer while also lowering blood pressure.
Bananas are one of the most popular consumed fruit. They are delicious and also have some amazing health benefits. They are full of nutrient-rich vitamins and minerals, along with several antioxidants which hold great anti-aging properties. They contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. They contain pectin, which is soluble fiber that escapes digestion, along with resistant starch that slows digestion and helps moderate blood glucose levels in healthy individuals. Bananas also contain higher levels of potassium which can greatly reduce the chances of heart disease and lower blood pressure. They are also known to help reduce cramping and muscle soreness in active athletes and great fuel for endurance athletes.
Coconut milk is a great alternative to dairy products for those who are lactose intolerant or have food allergies and intolerances. It has a mild sweet flavor and is thick enough to replace dairy milk in any shake!
Cacoa nibs are small pieces of crushed cacoa beans that are packed with powerful nutrients and plant compounds. They are full of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Unlike many chocolate products, cacoa nibs are very low in sugar and are the least processed, making these a wonderful health conscious alternative for chocolate lovers. They have wonderful anti-inflammatory properties and have a high flavonoid content. Due their anti-inflammatory and high antioxidant benefits, it greatly increases the body’s immune system. They have also been known to increase insulin sensitivity which helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
1 cup washed spinach
1 small banana
½ cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp peppermint extract (more for acquired taste)
Pinch of cacoa nibs
Whipped cream and sprinkles (optional)
Mix AMPD Nutrition Pro Vanilla Protein, spinach, banana, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract in blender. Add ice if thicker consistency is desired. Garnish with cacoa nibs and mint. Whipped cream and sprinkles are optional.
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