Bring on the Fish

Grilled salmon

Instead of thinking about what you can't eat this Lent season, focus on what you can have. "Lent can be a time of year to crawl out of a food rut and explore new foods," said Molly Sleger, registered dietitian with Swedes.

In fact, there are some solid health reasons to decrease meat in your diet. Molly says that some studies show that cancer risk decreases with less meat intake. Also, an increase in vegetables can help with cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and weight loss. Lent can be a great time to jump-start some healthy eating habits that feature veggies in a star role at your meals. Molly offers these tips for reducing red meat intake:

  • Get creative with seafood! Don't forget that there is such a variety of seafood, including shrimp, crab, mussels and scallops. Or, try out some of the less common fish varieties, such as arctic char and mahi mahi.
  • Break out the beans. Try your hand at homemade black bean burgers or hummus.
  • Crack an egg. This is one of the most versatile foods out there," Sleger said. "Bake a frittata or quiche for dinner. Use eggs as a topper. I like to top an over-medium egg on risotto, bean burgers and salads."
  • Tap into your vegetarian side. Try tofu, tempeh and seitan as meat substitutes.
  • When in doubt, make a taco. You can fill it with just about anything! Black beans, roasted chickpeas, baked tilapia, scrambled eggs, shrimp or tempeh.