What are the first things that come to mind when you think of St. Patrick’s Day? Probably something along the lines of eating food dyed a ghastly green, heavy meals like corned beef and potatoes, and drinking lots of beer and Irish spirits. There’s a very good chance you don’t think of celebrating this holiday in healthy ways, but that’s exactly what we’re here to help you with.
There are ways to get into the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day and not do major damage to your healthy lifestyle. The key is to focus on the fun atmosphere of the day and find ways to swap out some of the more detrimental options. Read on for a few celebration ideas.
1. Get Your Green On
Start the day off with a burst of green in your outfit—rather than by adding chemical dyes to your food—to bring out your inner Irish. If your wardrobe is light on green items and you’d rather not invest in something you’re not sure you’d wear again, look for accents instead. A green ribbon for your hair, a green beaded necklace, or a green baseball cap (think Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles or Boston Celtics, guys) will add just the right touch.
2. Do a Little Dance
Few things will get you into a festive mood like the right music, and there are certainly some great Irish tunes to be played for St. Patrick’s Day! Whether you like traditional bagpipe songs, classic Irish folk tunes, or more modern bands from the Emerald Isle like U2 or the Cranberries, load up your playlist and turn up the volume. Then, grab your partner or a friend and dance up a storm. Try your hand at an Irish jig or just enjoy yourself with your regular dance moves—and burn approximately 460 calories in an hour.
3. Host a Party
St. Patrick’s Day happens to fall on a Saturday this year, so take full advantage of that fact by having a bunch of friends over to celebrate. This will give you quite a bit more control over the food and drinks being served, allowing you to offer lots of healthy options rather than heavy meat-based dishes. Make sure to provide lots of light appetizers that are fun, if not Irish to their core. You can have green spinach or kale chips with a hummus dip, sliced cucumber organized into a shamrock shape, bowls of edamame, and fruit salad heavy on the kiwi and green grapes. While you might want to have beer on hand for your guests, you can also offer sparkling water with lime slices or mint leaves and green tea as alternatives.
4. Make it a Family Day
If you’ve got children, take your celebration in a different direction. You can teach them a little about the holiday and have a fun time doing it. For younger kids, tell them about leprechauns searching for the gold at the end of the rainbow. You can create a fun scavenger hunt taking them throughout your house or around your backyard if the weather is nice. They’ll find clue after clue until they reach the grand finale of discovering the pot of gold, which might really be gold metallic markers surrounded by a rainbow of crayons.
5. Walk the Parade Route
Instead of sitting on the couch watching a St. Patrick’s Day parade remotely, go see one in person. You can pick a spot early on the route to watch for a bit, then start walking along on the side. You might not see quite as many different floats, but you’ll certainly catch the spirit and get a little cardiovascular exercise in while you’re at it. No parade nearby? No worries, take a nature walk reminiscent of the rolling hills of Ireland. (Okay, maybe a bit of a challenge if you live in the Southwest.)
6. Find a Fun Run
Turkey Trots aren’t the only holiday 5K’s created to give an active option. Lots of cities now host fun runs with equally cute names such as Leprechaun Lope and Shamrock ‘N Run in towns across the U.S. from Washington State to Florida. Try to find one near you or contact your local runners’ club to get the ball rolling to organize one for next year.
And if, after some healthy celebrating, you do belly up to a bar with a few pints, don’t beat yourself up in the morning. Help your body recover with a five-day liver detox and juice fast to get right back on track.