With Lent just a week away, now is the time to start thinking about what you are going to give up this year. Taking part in Lent regardless of your faith is a great way to get back on the health and fitness wagon you were on at the start of the year (that perhaps you have fallen off!)
Below are a few suggestions of things you could give up for Lent – and the healthy alternatives you can replace them with!
Crisps, chocolate, sweets, cake, biscuits; give yourself a break from the nutritionally void junk food for a few weeks, your body will thank you for it! Replace crisps with a handful of unsalted nuts such as almonds or make your own crispy snacks with iron-rich veggies such as Kale. Kale chips are a great replacement and are easy to make at home. Simply separate the leaves from the stalks and wash the leaves well, pat try and toss in olive oil before transferring to a baking sheet and popping in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for around 10 minutes, until the leaves are crisp at the edges!
For a sweet treat on your junk food hiatus, try strawberries dipped in low fat yoghurt or enjoy an American classic in the form of a peanut butter and jam sandwich! Half a sandwich (so one slice of wholemeal bread folded in half) with a PBJ filling is sweet enough to satisfy cravings whilst providing a little protein and fibre boost!
Cutting out red meat for lent is a great way to discover recipes away from the traditional two meat and veg meals. Take on meat free Monday as part of the challenge (there are some amazing recipes on meatfreemondays.com) and you’ll soon discover that meat doesn’t have to be the basis of every meal. Try out meat substitutes too, they’ve come a long way in both taste and texture! Add in a portion of chicken and a portion of fish to your meal plan each week if you don’t want to take on a full vegetarian challenge.
Okay, it may be a tad extreme to say that the television will not go on once during Lent, but how about a ban on anything other than catch up TV if you have it? This means you are only watching the programmes you really want to see, rather than zoning out in front of the telly each night when you could be doing something active! Replace with an evening walk to stretch the legs and grab some fresh air after dinner as a family. You can also cram a few extra sessions in at the gym and reward yourself with your favourite TV programme on catch up afterwards!
Whatever you’re giving up for Lent, we wish you the best of luck! Remember, Lent starts of 5th March this year and ends on 17th April.