Healthified Shamrock Shake

First things first.  I have to admit... I've never had a Shamrock Shake. Not because I eat a perfect, 100% healthy diet, but I do believe in clean, healthful eating.  I enjoy dessert and have been known to eat a french fry (or two) in my time, but I do try to eat food that comes as close to it's purest form as possible. The reason is an entirely different post and I've gotten a bit off topic, so, back to the seasonal treat. 

Every year, around St. Patrick's Day, a fast food restaurant launches their "Shamrock Shake," which is essentially a mint milk shake.  While the history behind the shake is quite compelling and sweet (pun intended), I've never had one and after reading this article, it's safe to say that I never will.

"In 1974, after years of watching his 3-year-old daughter undergo treatment for leukemia and effectively living at St. Christopher's Hospital For Children, Philadelphia Eagles player Fred Hill thought there should be a better way. He reached out to the community to raise money for families that couldn't afford hotel rooms while their sick children were being treated. The Eagles' GM connected with a local McDonald's ad agency and the restaurant's regional manager, and together they created the St. Patrick's Day Green Milkshake promotion. Proceeds from the seasonal promotion sales went to purchase a house in Philadelphia, a "home away from home" for families dealing with a sick child. The first Ronald McDonald House was born." (via Huffington Post)

Corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and preservatives that I can't even pronounce, make up the list of ingredients along with 115 grams of sugar. Without even a hint of nutrition found in the 800 calorie shake (approximately 1.5 Big Macs), I was pretty sure that I could make something that tasted great AND provided some nutrition.  So, into the kitchen I went.

Obviously, you could do something as simple as mint flavored ice cream or yogurt, but I wanted to do something a bit more creative. I used So Delicious Coconut Milk Vanilla and homemade almond milk, but if you prefer frozen Greek Yogurt and skim milk, you could use that as well.  But, even if you don't "like" spinach, you seriously can't taste it, so give it a try.  It adds Vitamins A, K and C, as well as foliate, magnesium and iron. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 cup Almond milk (coconut milk would be delicious as well)
  • 1/2 tsp Mint extract
  • 1 large handful Organic spinach
  • 1/4 large or 1/2 small Avocado
  • Sweetener to taste: I used one date, but you can use agave, honey or maple syrup.  Start out with one tsp and add more as needed. 
  • Ice

Directions:

  1. In your blender, add all of the ingredients (except the ice) and blend.
  2. You may need more liquid, depending on how thick you like your shake.  Add more milk or coconut water (which I did) to thin it out a bit if needed.
  3. Taste the shake and see if you need more sweetener.  I don't like mine super sweet, so I was good with one date. Remember, you can always add more sweetener, but you can't take it out, so start with a little and add as needed.
  4. I added the ice last, because I wanted mine icy.  If you prefer to have it smooth and creamy, simply omit the ice.
  5. As you can see, the recipe is pretty fluid, but don't leave out the spinach and avocado, which gives the shake it's nutrition.  This also gives you the green color without adding food dye to the shake. 

I added some non-dairy chocolate chips to mine, to make it more of a mint chocolate chip shake -- not exactly the shamrock shake, but close enough and it was delicious! The avocado adds creaminess and by making it at home, I decreased the sugar, nixed the preservatives and added some healthy nutrients and fats.  

Sampling the recipe: these Strawesome Glass straws are great for getting the last bits of deliciousness from the blender

Enjoy!