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How To Have a Healthy Lent?

How To Have a Healthy Lent?

The 40-day Lenten season starts with Ash Monday and ends on Easter Sunday. During these 40 days, following a healthy eating plan and exercising properly becomes challenging.
How can you eat healthy during lent and avoid foods such as fried fish, fried vegetables, pizza, and pasta? How can you maintain your energy? How can you avoid losing your muscles during this season?

1.Some people choose to give up a food or beverage they enjoy such as chocolate, cookies, doughnuts, coffee, soda, tobacco, alcohol or ice cream. In this situation, there are no risk for nutritional deficiencies
2.If you are fasting till noon, don’t forget to have your breakfast and then continue with your regular meals lunch, snack and dinner. This will help you eat several meals and keep your metabolism up
3.If you are avoiding chicken, meat, dairy products and eggs, make healthy choices and don’t use Lent as an excuse to become unhealthy, there are thousands of healthy fish and vegetarian recipes to choose from.

Healthy Tips to follow during Lenten season:

•Choose grilled fish instead of deep fried fish that contains unhealthy fat
•Choose baked vegetables instead of the fried ones such as eggplant, zucchini, cauliflower, potatoes
•Avoid fried falafel and have them baked
•Make sure to include proteins every day. Proteins help you avoid muscle mass loss: fish, seafood, legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, fava beans, soya
•Vary your fish and seafood sources and take advantage of the opportunity to try out some new recipes.: fish filet, tuna in water, grilled or steamed shrimps, grilled calamari, raw or grilled salmon, sardines…
•If you are not avoiding eggs and dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt and labneh): these foods can be a great source of protein to replace chicken and meat. You can have a grilled halloumi sandwich with vegetables for breakfast, a skimmed yogurt for snack, 2 boiled eggs for lunch and a salad with feta cheese for dinner
•Vegetarian recipes tend to be healthy, with low levels of cholesterol and saturated fat. In addition, they feature some new and exciting flavors that you do not experience in your regular diet
•Salads with different exotic ingredients, that contain tropical fruits, veggies, and nuts, can be filling and satisfying to your palate.
•Get inventive in the kitchen and use soy products to have a complete source of protein: soy patty burger, miso soup, tofu in salads, soybean nuts as a snack
•Make sure to have a few simple, filling snacks during the fasting days to keep your energy and metabolism up.
•If you need healthy snacks rich in protein, try having edamame and soybean nuts.
•Unsalted nuts and seeds like sunflower or chia can be filling as a snack full of protein and healthy fat; you can also add them to your salads
•You can keep up your energy during Lent and get the protein you need specially if you exercise and lift weights by drinking protein drinks made with whey or soy. Protein bars serve the same purpose (make sure they don’t contain eggs and dairy products)

Lent is a great time to challenge yourself,Make sure to benefit from it physically and spiritually.

Christelle Bedrossian
Dietitian-Nutritionist
Beirut, Lebanon

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Christelle Bedrossian