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So here’s the deal. In case you live in a bubble, McDonald’s adds a seasonal shake to their menu every St. Patrick’s Day. It is minty. It is enticingly green. And it is also 820 calories with 115 grams of sugar for the large, and 530 calories with 73 grams of sugar for the small. If that doesn’t give you brain-freeze, perhaps this will. There are 54 ingredients lurking inside that Shamrock Shake. Seriously! Many far from healthy, like carrageenan (a possible human carcinogen). Says Huffington Post, 14 ingredients alone are just from the cherry they put on top. How is that even possible? 14 ingredients in one cherry?! That’s one scary cherry. (HA!)
I’ll admit it. Back in my less healthy days, I sucked a few (hundred) of these down myself, and I know what type of heavenly experience they bring about for the taste buds. So, in an attempt to get my St. Patty’s Day fix AND stay healthy, I make a protein shake that’s inspired by the MickyD’s Shamrock Shake.
Now don’t get me wrong. This protein shake isn’t a “copycat” recipe that tastes just like the original. Bananas and spinach do not magically come together to make an exact replica of McD’s cup of minty carcinogen wonderfulness. But, this homemade shake is pretty tasty in that healthy sort of way, and WILL take away your urge to hit the drive-through this March. Plus, it’s a perfect protein packed post workout treat (ah, alliteration!).
Shamrock Protein Shake Recipe
Serves 2 with 215 calories and 11g sugars (take that, McDonalds!) per serving:
- 1 ripe medium banana
- 1 ½ cups almond milk (unsweetened vanilla tastes best, but plain works too)
- 1/2 cup fresh spinach
- 1 TBS chocolate chips
- 1-2 scoops vanilla protein powder* (depending on brand; shoot for adding about 200 calories)
- ½ tsp pure peppermint extract
- 10 ice cubes
Throw everything in a blender and enjoy!
*A Tangent About Protein Powders:
I usually avoid protein powders and try to get my protein from more natural sources. Many protein powders have extra ingredients, are over-processed, and are far from natural. But there are a few that are actually clean and wholesome, and make a great addition to a healthful lifestyle. One of my favorites is by Garden of Life (no, I’m not sponsored or paid by them). It is an organic plant-based complete protein powder that’s grain free. Its main ingredients are peas, flax, cranberries, baobab fruit, moringa leaf, chia, and pumpkin. What a healthful list! I especially like that it has a probiotics blend on top of all those natural food sources. It ain’t cheap, but I kinda think my body’s worth the extra few bucks. Plus, it tastes like cake.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, all! And may the luck of the Irish be with you…