Nourishment During Lent: A Parent’s Guide to Meatless Fridays

Jan 23, 2024 | Seasonal

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During the sacred season of Lent, many families in south Louisiana are faced with the challenge of ensuring their children receive proper nutrition even when abstaining from meat on Fridays.

Explore these tips from ParentingU as we share ideas for delicious meat alternatives that not only adhere to Lenten practices but also promote a healthy and balanced diet any time of the year.

Delight with Red Beans & Rice

Red beans and rice have long been a staple in Louisiana cuisine, and when you leave out any ham hock or other meat, they make for a nutritious and hearty meatless meal. Packed with protein, fiber and essential nutrients, this classic dish not only satisfies taste buds but also provides a wholesome source of energy for growing kids.

Packing it in a thermos for a Friday school lunch? Heat up the thermos first with boiling water before drying it out, then fill with the warm beans and rice.

Seafood Extravaganza

Living on the Gulf Coast, we are blessed with an abundance of fresh seafood options. Incorporating fish, shrimp and other seafood into your child’s diet during Lent – and always – can ensure they receive essential omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

From grilled fish tacos to shrimp gumbo (swap veggie or fish stock for chicken), the possibilities are endless, offering both variety and nutritional benefits.

Peanut Butter Power

A versatile and protein-rich option, peanut butter can be a game-changer during Lent. Whether spread on whole-grain bread for a classic PB&J or peanut butter and honey sandwich, creating an Asian-inspired sauce for noodles, paired with fruits or blended into smoothies, peanut butter provides a tasty and nutritious protein alternative kids already love.

Plant-Based Proteins

Explore the world of plant-based proteins such as lentils, chickpeas and tofu. These options are not only rich in protein but also offer a diverse array of flavors. Consider incorporating them into soups, salads or stir-fries to keep your child’s diet interesting and nourishing.

Connect Further with the Story of Lent

As a Catholic health system, we understand that Lent is more than just a period of abstaining from certain foods. It’s an opportunity for families to come together and deepen their understanding of the Lenten story. Rob Tasman, vice president of mission integration and formation, shares insights into the meaning of Lent and offers ideas for families to engage more deeply in the Lenten season.

Embrace the rich culinary traditions of south Louisiana, and may this Lent be a time of both spiritual reflection and culinary exploration for your family.

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