Easy Lent lunch ideas the whole family can eat while observing the rules of Lenten fasting. Pack these healthy meals to take to school or work or enjoy at home.
For our family, eating lunch on Fridays in Lent seems to be the biggest struggle.
When we're at home for breakfast or dinner, I have a meatless meal ready to go.
But out in the world at lunchtime? It is so much easier to forget that it is Friday, especially if you're dining with friends or co-workers who are not Catholic.
If you're looking for clarification on what you're allowed to eat for lunch during Lent and want some fresh inspiration for Lent-friendly lunch recipes, I've gathered together everything you need.
Lent Rules for Lunch
On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, fasting rules allow Catholics to eat only one full meal and two smaller meals which, combined, would not equal a single normal meal.
In practice, this generally looks like a normal evening dinner with your family but then breakfast and lunch should be very light and give you just enough fuel to get through your day.
The fasting requirements apply to those ages 18 - 59 so your teens and kids do not need to follow the observance of those smaller meals.
However, as a family we've decided that there's nothing wrong with our kids participating in abstaining from meat on Fridays right from the get go.
There are so many fantastic dinner ideas for Lent your kid can still enjoy even without meat.
Fast or Eat a Very Simple Lunch
At my Catholic high school, we frequently were asked to eat a very basic lunch on Fridays in Lent even though we were not in the age range for required participation.
The money we saved from the more expensive lunches was collected to donate to the food bank.
This is the kind of Lenten sacrifice that truly makes a difference.
Lunch was often just a small bowl of plain white rice with a little pat of butter. You could also try a simple protein smoothie with fruit and yogurt.
Lenten Snack Plates
Another simple way to give your body some fuel while also trying to observe a Lenten fast would be to keep a batch of hard boiled eggs in the fridge or a batch of my peanut butter apple dip that you could make a small snack plate with some fresh fruit and a small serving of pretzels.
Soup is one of the easiest lunch ideas for Lent because so many recipes are naturally meat-free.
You could make a big batch of sweet and sour cabbage soup on a Sunday and heat it up for lunches all week long.
The best news is that soups made from chicken broth or beef broth are not forbidden during Lent. You simply have to choose soups that don't have solid portions of meat in the mix like shredded chicken or ground meats.
There are plenty of Lent-friendly meatless salads that have extra bulk from chopped nuts or crumbled cheese.
My crispy wild rice salad uses leftover cooked rice and tasty sweet roasted carrots in the mix, too.
If you're in a deli meat sandwich rut, you may be feeling stumped on planning your Lent lunch selections.
Egg salad sandwiches are a classic lunch during Lent, as are grilled cheese sandwiches.
Not in the mood for a grilled cheese? A plain cheese quesadilla with salsa would be an excellent alternative.
For a special lunch, you could also make my favorite cheesy crab melts and serve them with a light green salad on the side.