Lent is a holiday traditionally observed by Christians. However, many non-Christians choose to observe Lent also as a way to kick start their health goals, or as a practice in self-control for six weeks.
The things that people give up for Lent tend to go in trends, with food items being more popular in 2016 than in previous years, as noted by The Independent. With a bit of planning and creativity, surviving 40 days without your favorite things should be a breeze with these substitutions.
1. Chocolate and Sweets
Turning to fruit is a great way to curb those sugar cravings and tame your sweet tooth. However, if it's chocolate you're looking for, try incorporating cacao powder into your diet. Cacao powder is a good source of magnesium, iron, flavonoids, and other nutrients, according to Women's Health. Cacao is the chocolate part of a chocolate bar. It contains all of the good things. The refined sugar, oil, and fat added to the candy bar are what make it unhealthy.
Alcohol is one of the top Lenten sacrifices year after year. You don't have to stay away from social gatherings just because you're not partaking. Mix up your favorite drinks without the alcohol. Mocktails like Cuddles on the Beach, Nojito, and Virgin Mary are all tasty enough to make you forget that they don't contain alcohol.
Meat is off the plate on Fridays, but many people choose to extend this through the entire 40 days of Lent. If this is you, have no fear. Making flavorful meatless dishes is easier than ever. With the increase in vegetarian and vegan products in the store, you can enjoy meatless meatballs, chik'n nuggets, and veggie burgers. However, it's also a good time to explore new culinary creations. Swap ground beef for roasted veggies in your spaghetti, or roast cauliflower in buffalo sauce for a meatless version of buffalo wings.
4. Takeout Food
It's hard to pass up the convenience of going through the drive-thru or having pizza delivered to your front door right at dinner time. But while eating takeout food is easy on time, it's not easy on your wallet or your health. Many meals cooked at home can go from the fridge to the table in 30 minutes or less. On hectic days, grab a roast chicken from the deli and serve steamed veggies and a fresh salad on the side for a quick and easy meal.
Giving up coffee and other caffeinated beverages is truly a test in willpower. If you don't think you can make it through the day without your morning cup of java, consider brewing a cup of green tea, peppermint tea, or licorice tea as a healthy alternative. Each of these has health benefits, and helps to ease the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. If it's the creamy taste of a latte that you're missing, try a hot cup of chai tea made from black tea, milk, and fragrant spices.