01 MAR 2023

Tip o’ the Hat to Healthy Stew

Close up of Irish stew where chunks of browned meat and thick cut vegetables can be seen. A soup ladle cuts through the middle, showing it's rich broth.
Tips for making Corned Beef healthier for your body, and a great Irish stew recipe.

March always brings out the Irish in people, even if they aren’t Irish, especially when it comes to enjoying traditional dishes such as Irish stew or corned beef and cabbage.

Unfortunately, those annual favorites are not typically healthy choices because of high salt and fats. There is an alternative to corned beef, however.

Turkey Corned Beef

“Believe it or not, there is actually turkey corned beef, which would be leaner than corned beef but it is made using the same spices, so the flavor is similar,” noted Laura O’Mary, Registered Dietitian  for NorthBay Health.

Can’t find turkey corned beef? You can still indulge in traditional corned beef dishes for March celebrations, but remember that moderation is key.

“There is nothing wrong with enjoying special foods that only come around once a year, but keep your portion small, about the size of the palm of your hand,” Laura advised.

You can also trim off all the visible fat on traditional corned beef, or chose to brine the beef yourself, using less sodium.

“You can add extra cabbage and other veggies to increase the nutritional value and fiber content of any dish,” Laura added.

Another Option: Irish Stew

What if you’re thinking of making a stew, but aren’t sure what the difference is between Irish stew and regular beef stew?

The major difference is between the broth and the choice of meat. Beef stew uses cubed pieces of beef, such as a stew meat or a chuck roast. Irish stew traditionally uses mutton or lamb, as well as potatoes, onions and carrots and a rich, thick beer-based broth.

You can eliminate the beer in the broth, replace the lamb with beef and add more vegetables, such as parsnips, turnips and extra carrots.

There are several good recipes available for “skinny” stews, including one here:

Irish Stew Recipe

If you'd like more guidance on incorporating nutritious recipes and other healthy choices into your life, you can schedule an appointment with NorthBay Health dietitian, Laura O’Mary at (707) 624-7900.

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