With St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around the corner, you’re likely to encounter a number of mouth-watering beverage temptations. And if green beer and Irish coffee aren’t in line with your diet and fitness goals, 24Life has you covered today with a few healthier, yet still festive, options.
Matcha Tea Latte – nonalcoholic
Go green with a matcha tea latte. Matcha is high in antioxidants and chlorophyll (which is responsible for the bright color). It also has L-theanine, an essential amino acid that promotes relaxation.
To make your own: Add one teaspoon of matcha tea powder to hot water to make a paste. Then, pour half a cup of milk (you can substitute with almond or coconut milk) and half a cup of hot water into a bowl with the paste. Mix, froth the milk and sweeten to taste.
Lucky Four Leaf – nonalcoholic
This beverage packs in the protein so you get your daily recommended allowance of leafy greens. And leafy greens are about more than just good luck, they’re also full of cancer-fighting, bone-strengthening, inflammation-reducing and blood-sugar-stabilizing nutrients.
To make your own: Blend two cups of greens in a blender. Try a combination of these four: spinach, kale, dandelion and mint. Add unsweetened coconut water and an avocado, as well as your protein powder of choice. Sweeten with one cup each of pineapple, apple and banana. Serve and enjoy.
Cilantro Limeade – nonalcoholic
Whip up a glass of this refreshing concoction from the ladies over at Simple Green Smoothies, which will make you want to lay by the pool. This one features potassium-loaded bananas, which prevent muscle cramps during and after workouts.
To make your own: Blend spinach, cilantro and water. When smooth, add three bananas, a lime and some fresh ginger. Sip and savor.
Cucumber-Basil Spritzer – nonalcoholic
When it comes to drinks, fancy and sophisticated often trumps simple. But sometimes simplicity is the secret ingredient in this hydrating beverage, which will have you sipping all afternoon.
To make your own: Muddle a sprig of basil leaves in a splash of lime juice. Fill the glass with club soda or sparkling water. Throw in a slice of cucumber, some ice and a colorful straw.
When it comes to alcohol, most fitness gurus and nutritionists don’t recommend it, especially to serious athletes. It can sabotage your hard work at the gym and pack on extra pounds if you’re not careful. But if you must imbibe this holiday, try these low-cal libations in moderation.
Kiss Me Irish Cream – with alcohol
Who doesn’t love Irish coffee? Though it looks innocent, a jigger of Baileys alone is loaded with 150 calories. Turn down the calorie punch without turning down the flavor. Oh She Glows has a 5-ingredient recipe for vegan Irish Cream worth checking out.
To make your own: Combine one can of light coconut milk and one can of full-fat coconut milk. Add half cup of brown sugar or Sucanat. Bring to a low boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken. Remove from heat and stir in ¾ cup of coffee, ¾ cup of whiskey and a pinch of salt. Serve it over ice. Enjoy.
Short and Stout – with alcohol
Guinness, the Irish dry stout, has been around since the 18th-century in Dublin and is still the best-selling alcoholic drink in Ireland. Known for its creamy head and rich, smooth taste, its heaviness is deceptive. It has a relatively low alcohol content (5 percent) and is one of the lowest calorie beers available (about 120 calories per 12 ounce serving). Order a half-pint instead of the default pint size so you can sip socially, without the guilt.
A Wee Dram – with alcohol
It looks minimal, those two measly fingers of whiskey… A dram — or single one-ounce serving — of whiskey only boasts about 100 calories, but at 40 percent alcohol content, a little goes a long way. Whatever you do, drink responsibly.
Nothing says happy St. Patty’s Day like clinking glasses with friends. Whether it’s with a green smoothie or a creamy beer, be sure to take your nutrition goals with you for the celebration. (And in case you need them, here are some cures for a hangover.)