With Lent just around the corner, you may be thinking about what to give up. Want to pair that up with your health goals? Here's a list of nutrition ideas for Lent to give up (and add) this season! 

To Remove:


A 2012 research study at Harvard University found that sugary drinks increased a person’s risk of Chronic Heart Disease. Participants who drank soda were 20% more likely to have a heart attack and increased blood pressure. So next time you want to reach for the Diet Coke, try moving on to water instead. 

coke, soda, Coca-Cola, City, Skyline
Tess Tarantino

French Fries

It is almost impossible to turn down a side of fries at a restaurant, but they are high in unhealthy fat and sodium, which spike blood sugar with their high glycemic index. Even a small serving from a fast food chain may contain 9 to 20 grams of unhealthy fat, and over 160 mg of sodium. If giving up french fries seems impossible to do, opt for sweet potatoes instead. These carry a lower glycemic load than the white potato, and boast high doses of potassium and vitamin K. 

french fries, salt, ketchup, potato, chips, fish and chips, fries
Amelia Hitchens

Ice Cream

Ice cream is a high-fat food, since it must contain greater than 10 percent milk fat to be considered “ice cream”. Milk fat is extremely high in cholesterol, which can cause plaque (a fatty deposit in your arteries that interferes with blood flow) to raise your risk of heart disease and stroke. Cutting out ice cream can benefit your health not only for these 40 days- but in the long run as well. If this sounds beyond your ability, you may have a sugar addiction (yes, that’s a real thing)! Many nutritional sites promote ways to ween off the sugar, including this one linked here

ice, cream, ice cream, waffle, strawberry
Amelia Hitchens


Besides the known negative effects, alcohol may also be the culprit of your weight gain. Alcohol is a high-calorie food and typically contains a great deal of sugar. At the same time, it also slows your metabolism. Not only is your body consuming more empty calories, but it has a harder time processing them while intoxicated. Laying off the beers for 40 days may be just what your metabolic systems need to get back up and running.

juice, beer, alcohol, lemon, liquor, ice, lime
Melissa Miller

Fast Food

We’ve all been there. In a pinch and needing a quick meal before class or work. But fast food may be doing more damage than you think. What exactly defines fast food? “Fast food” is food that is prepared quickly and is eaten quickly or taken out. A review of studies on fast food and heart health found having fast food more than once a week was linked to a higher risk of obesity, while eating fast food more than twice a week was associated with a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and death from coronary heart disease. Maybe just pack a snack instead. 

Alex Frank

Potato Chips

Chips are deep-fried, causing them to be full of trans fat. High levels of trans fats in the bloodstream are associated with high cholesterol, similar to that of french fries, and an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Try to take on veggies as a healthier crunch on the go instead of reaching for that bag of Lays.

salt, chips, potato, corn, french fries
Emily Palmer


You’ve heard about the antioxidant benefits of dark chocolate, but is there more to this fairy tale of a delicious-dietitian approved sweet? A March 2015 paper in Obesity looked at the correlation between eating chocolate candy and gaining weight. Researchers surveyed postmenopausal women over a three-year period. The results showed that women who had a higher intake of chocolate were more likely to gain weight.  

chocolate on wood, chocolate in shade, desert moods, dark chocolate, chocolate
Cory Cole

To add: 

Three Servings of Fruits a Day

Fruits are perhaps the only sweet you never have to feel guilty about. Most fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories. None have cholesterol. Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke. Lent is all about becoming a better you, so let’s start on the inside out, beginning with a great addition to our diet.

apples, crate, Wood, Fruit, apple, farmer's market
Caroline Ingalls

64 oz. of Water

There are so many benefits water can have on our mind and body. Our brain is strongly influences by hydration, so 8 glasses of water a day will increase energy and brain function (step aside coffee). Water also boosts satiety and metabolic rate, which helps with weight loss. Having trouble getting started? Check out this link.

water, citrus, strawberry, cucumber, lime, Infused Water
Jordi Almeida

Now that you have a great list of nutrition ideas this Lent, let's get ready to enjoy the season and carry these habits with us the rest of the year! Have a healthy idea for lent? Let us known on Instagram @Spoon_Bulldogs