START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

Diet-Friendly Shamrock Shake Recipe

  • 1 of 2
Diet-Friendly Shamrock Shake Recipe

In March of 1970, McDonald’s introduced the world to its homage to St. Patrick’s Day, a pale green potion of mouthwatering magnificence, known as the Shamrock Shake.

Since its creation, the Shamrock Shake has morphed into a seasonal icon, spawning countless copy cats and generating an avid fan following.

The problem is that, like many things fast food, the beverage isn’t especially healthy.

According to nutrition information found on the McDonald’s website, a 12 ounce Shamrock Shake contains 530 calories, 15 grams of fat (10 of them saturated fat), 73 grams of sugar, and 160 milligrams of sodium.

But, that doesn’t mean that the nutritionally-conscious among us must be forced to forgo one of the springtime’s most anticipated culinary creations. You can unleash your inner Irishman with a healthier, homemade version of this iconic drink.

The secret to a diet-friendly Shamrock Shake

Typically, pre-packaged, highly-processed shakes aren’t very healthy, especially for the elderly. But, a homemade smoothie is a wonderful way to enjoy a snack that is both tasty and nutritious.

The key is to make sure you only use all-natural ingredients. “Making your own shakes can also save a lot of money,”¯ says Ruth Frechman, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Here’s a senior-safe recipe based on McDonald’s minty creation:

  • 6 ounces plain, low fat yogurt
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ tsp. peppermint extract
  • All-natural sweetener to taste
  • 2-3 drops green food coloring
  • 5-7 ice cubes

Directions: Toss all of the above ingredients into a blender, press “blend,” and wait until the mixture has achieved the right thickness. Pour into a glass, or, if you really want to get into the spirit, a drinking horn, and enjoy.

Healthful modifications

Of course, there’s no guarantee that a homemade shake will taste the same as the fast-food version, but it’s certainly a healthier option.

Replacing the reduced fat vanilla ice cream used by McDonald’s with a yogurt and milk combination cuts down on the fat and may up the amount of bone-strengthening calcium and digestion-regulating probiotics in the drink. Opting for fat free or 1 percent milk can save even more calories, according to Frechman, author of, “The Food is My Friend Diet.”¯

Using a small amount of natural sweetener such as raw honey, agave nectar, or Stevia (a calorie-free natural sweetener derived from the stevia plant) significantly reduces the shake’s sugar amount and calorie count. It also makes the drink more diabetes-friendly because these sweeteners have low glycemic indexes, which means that, while they will raise blood sugar some, they won’t cause dangerous blood sugar spikes.

Of course, this recipe (while healthy and yummy) is still somewhat plain. There are ways to customize this basic formula to better fit your specific nutritional needs.

Keep reading to discover ideas for add-ins that can boost the health benefits of your homemade Shamrock Shake

10 Things That Make You Feel Old–And What to do About Them
A Heart-Healthy Diet
3 Food Preparation Mistakes That Can Make You Sick

How to Make a Senior-Friendly Shamrock Shake originally appeared on

  • 1 of 2

Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Drinks, Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Health, Holidays, Osteoporosis, Other Holidays, , , , , , ,

By Anne-Marie Botek, Editor

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love connects family caregivers and provides support, resources, expert advice and senior housing options for people caring for their elderly parents. is a trusted resource that visitors rely on every day to find inspiration, make informed decisions, and ease the stress of caregiving.


+ add your own
3:42AM PDT on May 7, 2013

nice color thanks

4:32PM PDT on Apr 21, 2013

Nice, vibrant green colour!

1:49PM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

Looks good ~ I love the idea of making my own, at least I know what's in it.

7:22PM PDT on Mar 25, 2013


12:32PM PDT on Mar 21, 2013


8:44AM PDT on Mar 17, 2013


5:31PM PDT on Mar 16, 2013


3:48PM PDT on Mar 16, 2013


1:00PM PDT on Mar 16, 2013

Check out this place we get our Shakeology. My girlfriend found it here cheapest. Man I love these things. Pretty cool little website with awesome reviews.

4:03PM PDT on Mar 15, 2013

Thanks for sharing.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

These sound delicious! Will have to try making them sometime.

Plus, all those adorable pix with cats or dogs with birds, mice, etc. SO not a good idea...yes yo…

Eliminating all of any food group is not healthy. We all need a balanced diet of a wide variety of …

Thanks. Yes, we get some good color in California, too.

I try to eat right, yet my memory still isn't the best. Of course, I have been this way since I wa…


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!