Not McDonald’s Shamrock Shake

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As a Spartan and nature-enthusiast, I love everything green; so you can only imagine how much I love St. Patrick’s Day. While I particularly enjoy the green-dyed beer, it’s not the only holiday-inspired drink doused with artificial food coloring. Why yes, I am referring to the limited-time-only, fan-favorite Shamrock Shake offered at McDonald’s. The creamy drink has been filling tummies with massive amounts of sugar for almost 50 years now, and yet we still can’t get enough of it.

But do you really know just how much sugar is in a small Shamrock Shake? Seventy-three grams – not to mention the 530 calories and a whopping 15 grams of fat. And that is just the small; the large has 820 calories. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve fallen prey to this milkshake throughout my life, but that was before I learned it contains over 50 ingredients (most of which are obviously not healthy).

If you’re looking to curb your craving for a Shamrock Shake without the guilty heartache (and possible heart attack), try this at-home recipe that is less than 200 calories per serving*. It’s just as sweet and delicious, and you can’t even taste the spinach.

Yield: 1 serving 


  • 1 large, frozen, overripe banana 
  • ⅛ tsp pure peppermint extract (or more to taste; some prefer ¼ tsp)
  • Up to 1 cup milk of choice (almond, cashew, and coconut milks are my favorite)
  • ¼ cup baby spinach leaves
  • Optional: dark chocolate chips (as topping or blended in)
  • Optional: low-fat whipped cream as topping


Blend all ingredients in a blender until completely smooth. Start by using about ⅔ cup of the milk and add more depending on your desired thickness. You can add dark chocolate either before or after blending. Top with desired toppings and you’re done!

*Note: If you’re looking for something a little sweeter, add a cup of frozen vanilla yogurt for a richer, creamier milkshake! Though this option will add a few more calories, it is still much healthier than a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake – just be sure to use less milk if incorporating frozen yogurt.