“Corned beef isn’t one of the most nutritious beef cuts,” said Connie Crawley, anutrition and health specialist with the University of Georgia Extension Service. “How much fat and sodium are transferred is hard to say,” Crawley said. “Of course,if a person only has corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day and eats a low-fat, low-sodiumdiet the rest of the time, the traditional meal is no big deal.” A 3.5-ounce serving, she said, has 251 calories, 19 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturatedfat, 98 mg. of cholesterol and 1134 mg. of sodium. On St. Patrick’s Day, Irish descendents around the world come together to celebratetheir heritage. The festivities usually center around the traditional feast. Cook the cabbage separately in low-sodium beef broth with peppercorns. The cabbage, however, has no cholesterol and is low in fat, calories and sodium. Well,it is until it’s cooked for hours with the corned beef. If you want to minimize the damage, Crawley suggests cooking the beef ahead withoutthe cabbage. Then chill it so some of the fat comes to the surface and can be lifted offbefore reheating. Pouring off the cooking water and reheating in fresh water will cutout some of the sodium. In America, a typical St. Patrick’s Day menu includes corned beef and cabbage, champ(mashed potatoes with cream and scallions) and brown bread. Salmon has 40-50 mg. of cholesterol and 40-50 mg. of sodium unless you addingredients like soy sauce or salt that raise the sodium level. It can be grilled or bakedwithout added fat. If the fat is needed, brush the salmon with a little olive oil. You can keep the traditional flavor of the St. Patrick’s Day meal by substitutingsalmon, another traditional Irish dish, for corned beef. Put the potatoes in a bowl, add butter, cream or the water the potatoes were cooked in,and mash well. Add the green tips of the scallions, and salt and pepper to taste. Stiruntil smooth. Serve hot. “Certainly this is a better choice for someone concerned about cardiovascular disease,”Crawley said. “Plus, salmon is more economical. It has less shrinkage than the cornedbeef and often is a very good price.” To cut the fat from the potatoes, cook them in the skin, then cool slightly and peel.Mash them with warmed skim or evaporated skim milk and a little diet margarine or abutter-flavored substitute. “Salmon is one of the fattier fish,” Crawley said. “However, the fat can range,depending on the type of salmon, from 3 to 9 grams per 3-ounce serving. It’s very lowin saturated fat, with only 1-2 grams. Some of the fat is the polyunsaturated omega-3fatty acids that may reduce the risk of heart attack.” It may be a nostalgic meal for the Irish at heart, but not for the heart-conscious. To prepare champ, just peel and cube enough potatoes to feed your family. Add themto a boiler of water with sliced scallions (just the bulb). Boil until tender. Drain well.