Plant-focused Shamrock Shake

Copy cat Shamrock Shake…

Copy cat Shamrock Shake…

It’s that time of year when McDonald’s rolls out the famous green Shamrock Shake. According to their website, it looks like they have revamped the St Patty’s Day treat by replacing regular vanilla ice cream with reduced fat and regular whipped cream with light.

While I teach and practice mindful and intuitive eating, if a client really, really WANTED a Shamrock Shake or anything else they might label as “unhealthy” or questionable, then we discuss how to approach it from a mindful perspective. Once they start practicing the tools I teach them, clients are able to recognize how food makes them feel and they can easily identify foods that do and don’t agree with their body.

Part of the mindful and intuitive eating journey is to stop labeling food as “good/clean” or “bad/toxic” which can cause fear of food. Clients start to pay attention to how food affects their digestion, energy, mood, motivation and sleep then make the decision to eat (or in this case, drink) anything that might cause guilt that might be high in sugar, calories, fat, sodium, or ingredients they can’t pronounce without judgment, shame, or guilt. It takes time but your relationship with food can absolutely evolve in a healthy way.

Now that being said, if a diabetic client with elevated A1c levels wanted to drink a large 800-calorie Shamrock shake with 113 grams of added sugar, we might discuss swapping to a small to significantly slash not only the calories but also the added sugar. A small Shamrock Shake is 460 calories 8 grams of saturated fat, 74 grams of carbohydrates with 63 grams of carbs coming from added sugar which is still more than double the amount of added sugar the American Heart Association recommends to limit daily (children or women are recommended to keep added sugar intake to <24 grams of added sugar a day and men <36 grams of added sugar). So mindful eating can be a case by case situation depending on your individual health condition, doctors recommendations and wellness goals.

McDonald’s LARGE Shamrock Shake Nutrition Summary screenshot from McDonald’s website on March 13, 2019.

McDonald’s LARGE Shamrock Shake Nutrition Summary screenshot from McDonald’s website on March 13, 2019.

Another option would be to make a similar plant-focused version, loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and nutrition your body craves. Let’s be honest the McD Shamrock Smoothie made with ice cream, Shamrock syrup and whipped cream isn’t scoring high on the nutrition scale. But if you drank the Mcd version and my Shamrock Smoothie swap below but don’t notice a difference between the two in how you felt afterwards, then you can make a decision based on what works for YOU.

Nutrition Atlanta Shamrock Smoothie


3/4 cup unsweetened almond, cashew or coconut milk (or other milk)

1 ripe banana, frozen

1/2 cup frozen riced cauliflower or frozen chopped zucchini (I promise you won’t taste it!"}

handful fresh baby spinach

1 scoop vanilla protein powder of choice

1 Tablespoon cashew butter

1/4 cup fresh mint, about 10 leaves OR 3-5 drops peppermint oil/extract

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (I actually make my own with vodka + split vanilla bean)

1/2 cup crushed ice, optional

optional topping: whipping cream and mini chocolate chips


  1. In a blender add milk then banana, cauliflower or zucchini, spinach and cashew butter. Blend until mixed well then add remaining ingredients and blend again.

  2. Add crushed ice for desired consistency, add a splash of milk if need be.

Bottom line is this: the reason I love a plant-heavy diet is because I discovered that my body thrives, I mean thrives on green leafy veggies, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, and all the plants. Plants just work for my system. Sure, I still eat foods that diet culture labels as “unhealthy” like pizza, French fries, cookies, cupcakes and other foods that aren’t categorized as “clean” or “Whole30 approved” when I want to {mindfully of course}. And the majority of the time my body prefers plants and very balanced choices, but I also eat fun foods whenever I want them without guilt, shame, or labeling them as “bad”. This is a 180 degree turn from my past. Food is a very individual choice and varies for every person based on tastebuds, time, and other resources.

If you decide to make this tag #NutritionAtlanta on social media and I’ll give you a shout out! I love hearing about how it works out for you!

kale kisses


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Legal disclaimer for all supplements: these statements have not be evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Nutrition Atlanta and Jennifer Hnat RDN are not responsible for any misuse of the information contained in this article or website.