For practicing Catholics this week marks the first week of Lent. Growing up, this meant PIZZA FRIDAYS, and no candy for 40 days. It’s the Catholic version of Meatless Mondays and over the years it went from every Friday to only the Fridays during Lent. Some of my fondest Lent memories include arguing with my grandmother’s that I didn’t have to fast until I turned 12, watching my dad give up Iced tea and soda, and reminding my sister it was Friday in Lent RIGHT before she took a bite out of a chicken nugget.
Nowadays, I’m a proud Cafeteria Catholic, and while I never miss a Christmas Mass (except that one yeah I messed up the times causing my dad to miss his Christmas mass for the first time in his life, sorry dad!) I haven’t gone meatless on Fridays during Lent since I’ve switched to counting macros.
This year, I’m going to adhere and document how I make these Meatless Fridays work.
To get started, here’s a list of different meatless protein options:
This is a no brainer. In Lent, fish & shellfish are allowed and a source of high quality protein. There’s benefits to fatty fish and also leaner fish available.
I’ve been working to include fish into my diet at least 1-2x a week. Fatty fishes are LOADED with fat soluble vitamin D protein, iodine, and omega-3 fatty acids. These fish include salmon, trout, sardines, tuna and mackerel. If you’re worried about the fat in these, I’d say the vitamin d and omega-3s alone make it way more nutrient valuable than fitting butter into your day.
If you still rather not sacrifice your normal fats for a fattier fish, there’s also a number of leaner proteins such as cod, flounder, haddock, orange roughy, grouper, tilapia, mahi mahi, tuna (yellowfin steak or canned in water), wild catfish. Shellfish is also fine on lent and includes crab, scallop, shrimp, and lobster.
One of the most popular fish based lunches during Lent is Tuna Fish. Growing up this came in the form of a tuna fish hoagie. According to my dad, the only “safe” time to order tuna hoagies were Fridays during Lent. Tuna hoagies or sandwiches can be delicious and LOADED with saturated fat from the mayonnaise they are mixed with. Be wary.
Try subbing mayo for a low-fat mayo or avocado as your fat base.
Recipe: Open Faced Tuna Fish with Mayo & Avocado
Canned Tuna Ceviche
Alright, so fish isn’t your thing, or that takes care of your Lunch & Dinner but what about the rest of the day?
These are so easy to add with an egg to up the protein content or in an oatmeal. They can easily bump your breakfast to 15- 20gs of protein.
Legumes are a great source of fiber AND contain some protein as well.
Stats per 100g cooked (fat is usually 0-1g)
When it comes to legumes, don’t forget you can always half or quarter the serving. I’ll often add 50gs of black beans to my peppers, onions and eggs in the morning.
Whole grains also include fiber and protein as well. You won’t usually find as much protein as you would in legumes, but it’s worth mentioning and they are solid component of a balanced diet.
Stats per 100g cooked:
These vary per product. Usually you can find breads with added protein give you around 5-10g per serving
Cereal & Granola
There’s a ton out there. Almost every brand has a protein enhanced version. If anyone finds Protein Lucky Charms, let me KNOW. Look for one that gives you 10g per serving with fiber as well.
Greek yogurts, yogurts, light sour cream, reduced fat milk, and cheese are all packed with protein. For a Light Cheese stick, you’ll get 7g of protein alone.
Of course we want the majority of our protein coming from complete sources that include a variety of vitamins and minerals like your meats,fish, legumes, whole grains, dairy, and some veggies, but powders can be a helpful supplement. SUPPLEMENT is the key word here.
If I’m not adding protein to a shake I’ll add it to yogurt, sweet potato mash, oatmeal, applesauce as an easy boost. If you haven’t had vanilla protein and sweet potato puree post workout, you haven’t lived.
I’ll use whey to add to foods or a shake and save casein for a post dinner snack. I’ll make this into a hot chocolate or a chocolate pudding with PB2. It’s a easy snack and helps me feel more recovered.
I’m not sponsored or affiliated with any protein brand. If you have a brand you like, you’re getting 18-25g+, and it’s affordable, rock on. Personally, I use MYPROTEIN™ their quality is great and their prices are amazing.
OK! Here’s where I’ll be doing a ton more experimenting over the next few weeks. Some of you may not know but back in the day I went vegan for a bit of time. Mostly to see what it was about and take myself out of the whole conventional meat production process. Long story short, my workouts went to hell, my hair and skin hated me, my body composition was “fluffy” I accidently bought a mango thinking it was an avocado.It wasn’t for me, I wasn’t tracking macros and it was a hot mess. However, I did start to cook with way more veggies and found some great products.
That’s what I have for you, so far. Keep your eye out on our IG for product highlights, recipes, and First Bites. The Grit Collective Instagram.
KTo picks up heavy objects, makes sense of macros, provides simple meal prep plans, advises on flexible dieting solutions, celebrates strength, and occasionally overdoses on pizza.