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Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Holidays


Trim fat and calories from St. Patrick’s Day feast

Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Bates County, University of Missouri Extension


Corned beef and cabbage is a favorite meal on St. Patrick’s Day, but some may want to cut back on the fat and calories.


Brisket is naturally high in fat, but there are ways to reduce some of the fat. Cook the meat a day ahead of time and put the pot in the refrigerator. Once the meat cools the fat will harden and can be skimmed off. Another way to reduce the fat is to cut it off the meat before it is cooked.


According to Bowes and Church’s Food Values of Portions Commonly Used, the lowest calorie brisket is the one in which all the fat is trimmed. The type of brisket you buy also makes a difference. The flat half brisket has 191 calories and 6 grams of fat per 3.5-ounce serving. The same amount of the point half brisket prepared the same way has 244 calories and nearly 14 grams of fat. Whole brisket has 218 calories and 10 grams of fat. Leaving -inch trim of fat almost doubles the calories in all of the brisket cuts.


Potatoes are another favorite Irish food. Potatoes are not very high in calories and have no fat, but making them with lots of butter and high-fat milk adds fat. Save calories by baking two large potatoes in the oven or microwave, then quartering and peeling them (or leave the skins on if you’d like). Place the potatoes in a deep bowl and add 2 tablespoons of butter and 2/3 cup of 1/2% or 1% fat buttermilk. Use a potato masher or mixer to blend the potatoes. The buttermilk is the secret to this recipe — it adds a creamy texture and buttery flavor. You can use powdered buttermilk, which can be purchased in the baking section of the grocery store, so that you can use what you need without wasting the rest. 


Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day with a tasty but reduced fat meal!


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