St. Patrick’s Day is this weekend, an automatic day of celebration for those of us who enjoy going green, right? Let’s just say, it can be—especially if you avoid diving headfirst into that river of green beer. In truth, Irish fare has its share of health benefits. Here are some tips and tricks for making the most of your St. Paddy’s celebration.

Potatoes: Spuds have been getting a bad rep lately, but, actually, they can be good for you. Potatoes are filled with bloat-reducing potassium, antioxidants, fiber, iron, zinc and energy-boosting carbs; a medium-sized offering has about 160 calories and boasts 4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. Word to the wise: Skip the big-calorie offenders like sour cream, butter and cheese; this is what contributes to weight gain and lethargy. Instead, sprinkle your potato with some metabolism-boosting hot sauce—and enjoy it with a side of green veggies.

Cabbage: Low in calories and high in fiber (only 22 calories per cup), this Irish staple can help satisfy your hunger for hours. Best of all, cabbage is a part of the famous cruciferous vegetables that help protect the body from cancer. When I’m at an Irish pub, and there are no good vegetarian dishes, I always order a side of cabbage, one baked potato and a green salad.

Guinness: Research has shown that dark beer like Guinness is packed with antioxidants. Just remember that it still has liver-suppressing alcohol, so limit your drink to one glass, which is about 125 calories.

Go Green in Boca: One of my favorite Irish pubs in Boca is The Dubliner at Mizner Park (435 Plaza Real, 561/620-2540). If you truly want to go green this St. Paddy’s Day, try the spinach and kale salad, artichoke salad or the vegetarian shepherd’s pie. The Dubliner also has good side-dish options, from roasted vegetables, sautéed spinach and vegetarian beans.

The east and west Boca locations of Holloway’s Irish Pub (504 Via de Palmas, 561/361-8445; 6909 S.W. 18th St., 561/620-2318) offer grilled veggie wraps with zucchini, squash, roasted peppers, red onions and sun-dried tomato spread. For a healthy St. Paddy’s option in Delray, try the house salad, cabbage and baked potato at Tim Finnegan’s Irish Pub (2885 S. Federal Highway, 561/330-3153).


About Alina Z.

Alina Z., aka “The Green Goddess,” is a certified holistic health coach, detox specialist and raw-food chef (she conducts occasional classes at Whole Foods in Boca). Prior to moving to Florida, Alina hosted her own TV show in Maryland—“Entertaining A to Z”—for people who didn’t have time to cook but wanted to eat healthy. Catch one of her web episodes at eHow.com, visit Alina’s website at alinazhealthcoach.com, or follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/fabulousfoodAZ) or Twitter (@FabulousFood). The Green Goddess blog runs every other Wednesday at bocamag.com.