How to keep meals exciting during Lent (even if you hate fish)


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For those who believe that Jesus died for all human sins, this is the most sobering time of the year. 

Yes, we’re talking about those 40 days and 40 nights that make up Lent. This is a time leading up to the death of Jesus that is meant for Christians to make sacrifices in their own lives as a remembrance of how God’s son did the same for them. Hardcore Christians choose something to give up for the whole Lenten season and fast on Fridays. Those still strewn with Catholic guilt but who like their blood sugar at good levels do variations of giving up something and then forgoing the eating of meat on Fridays. 

Just because it’s a sacrifice, doesn’t mean you have to go the Passover route by eating flat crackers (although we are obsessed with matzo ball soup and chocolate-covered matzo, for the record). So for those seeking meatless options on your Friday, let’s take a look at how to deliciously survive Lent when…


…you live for meat. 

Hello, Ron Swanson wannabe! Unfortunately, this may be the time where you have to draw from that Catholic guilt and suck it up. But fear not! There are ways to fill that beef broth-smelling void for a few weeks. Fish, of course is the Christian norm during Lent, but many families make Friday meals fun by making casseroles, pasta dishes, breakfast for dinner, bean burritos or pizza-making parties.


…you hate fish. 

First of all, that’s tragic because seafood is delicious. Second, we get it — some people just don’t like the taste, smell or texture. For you fish-haters, you have alternatives of the vegan and vegetarian variety, such as spinach lasagnas or vegetable soups.


…you’re trying to eat healthy. 

For the health-conscious, eating meat is more about consuming protein than about sucking down a fatty rack of ribs. Switch the chicken in a salad with hardboiled egg. For those simply trying to avoid the unhealthiness of fried fish and pizza week after week, there are ways to make those items better for you.
“Fish” doesn’t have to mean heading to McDonald’s for a Filet ‘O Fish. There are shrimp, scallops, crab, lobster, prawns, crawfish, tilapia and scrod and on that you can bake, boil, steam, grill, broil in ways that make them less fattening.

Pizza is a food that we’re always trying to make healthier, and there are wondrous ways to do so: simply adding vegetables; fresh, not canned, tomatoes or sauce; using fresh, not prepackaged, cheese; or making whole-wheat, cauliflower, kale or other inventive crusts.

Lent can be as easy or hard on your diet, depending on how much you plan ahead for each meal. But above all, remember that Lent is a time to think about the sacrifices. Sacrifices are truly realized when we have to give up something we really, really want to do. Also, it’s only 40 days. Man up!