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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Dr Eki Wari on March 24, 2023

Best Good Friday Foods To Enjoy This Lent

Are you avoiding meat this Good Friday? Most Catholics are. Here are some healthy ways to flavor your fish - and some yummy vegetarian sides you need to try!

Healthy fish meal min scaled

During lent, Catholics are not allowed to eat meat on Fridays. This is often referred to as “Good Friday,” although the actual day for Good Friday is the last Friday before Easter Sunday.

As a result, many churches offer fish fries on Fridays. If you’ve ever been to one, you know that the food served includes fried fish, mashed potatoes or coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, and a roll. This can be problematic if you’re trying to eat healthy this Lent!

However, you don’t have to throw your diet out the window this Lent. In this guide, we’ll provide some healthy vegetarian options to try on Good Friday.

Healthy Ways To Enjoy Fish On Good Friday

An image of fish fry foods such as fried fish, coleslaw, French fries and bread
Most fish fries at your local church will contain fried fish and unhealthy side dishes.

This year, skip the fish fries at your local church and make your own fish at home instead. Oh, you’re bored with eating fish? No problem! There are plenty of preparations you can do to switch things up each Friday.

The herbs you use on your fish can drastically change the flavor. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), herbs are often used as medicine to treat underlying causes of many health problems.

In addition to tasting good, they provide a wide variety of health benefits. Here are some you can try on your fish this Good Friday:

  • Mustard seeds
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic
  • Tarragon
  • Oregano
  • Black pepper
  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Thyme

Go Vegetarian This Good Friday!

Along with finding fun new ways to prepare fish, try incorporating a few vegetarian meals into your Good Friday. Doing so has numerous health benefits.

Research shows that vegetarian diets decrease the risks of some people developing certain ailments, such as high cholesterol and diabetes.

A 2018 study found that vegetarians tend to have a lower risk of unhealthy body fat percentage and abdominal obesity. The study also confirms that, for the most part, vegetarians consume sufficient calories, as do non-vegetarians.

Here are some vegetarian-friendly foods to try this Lent:

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are an excellent vegan food to add to your menu this Good Friday. They have many health benefits. For example, they can help to improve blood sugar levels and ease depression symptoms.

They also contain beta-glucans to help boost immunity. In addition, the high antioxidant levels found in mushrooms help to reduce inflammation.

Plus, mushrooms are the only natural plant source of vitamin D. This vitamin helps to strengthen your bones as well as improve your immunity.

Here are some you can try:

  • Cordyceps has been shown to reduce fatigue, boost energy levels, support immune and respiratory health, and alleviate sexual dysfunction.
  • Lion’s mane or monkey head mushroom is sweet and neutral tasting, strengthens the 5 vital organs, and promotes digestion.
  • Black fungus is high in nutrients like calcium, iron, and vitamins B1, B2 (riboflavin), D, and K. In TCM, it is believed to promote positive emotions and improve liver, lung, and stomach conditions. It can also help avert hemorrhoids, remedy Dryness, encourage blood circulation and reduce cholesterol levels.
  • Shiitake mushrooms contain compounds that inhibit the absorption and production of cholesterol in the liver. Research shows that shiitakes lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in mice. In addition, another study proves that polysaccharides in shiitakes helped inhibit the growth of leukemia cells.

You can enjoy Cordyceps in soup. Meanwhile, lion’s mane, black fungus, and shiitake mushrooms can be added to stir-fry dishes.

Goji berries

Considered a superfood, the goji berry, also called the Chinese wolfberry, is native to China and synonymous with the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region — famous for good quality goji berries — that tastes sweet and neutral in nature.

Wolfberry or Goji berry is not just a staple of TCM but has an array of uses in Ayurvedic and Western treatments. They are an excellent source of polysaccharides, a type of carbohydrate that helps colonize healthy bacteria in the gut to support immune, digestive, and detoxification processes.

You can enjoy them as a healthy snack or add them to other vegetarian foods, such as rice, oats, nuts (trail mix), and even fish.

Chinese Yam 

An image of Chinese yams on a purple colored plate
This Good Friday, stir-fried chinese yams with celery, wood-ear mushroom, lily bulb and wolfberry for a healthier choice.

Chinese yam (Shan Yao) is another wonder food that you can easily consume for its nutritional and medicinal benefits. It’s high in polysaccharides and helps improve insulin resistance and obesity.

Meanwhile, sapogenins found in Chinese yams are a key ingredient in formulating creams for healing wounds and reducing skin inflammation. In TCM, the plant is known to: 

  • Revitalize the Spleen and stomach for better digestion and bowels 
  • Replenish fluid to nourish the Lungs and relieve dry cough 
  • Strengthen the Kidneys to help with frequent urination, enuresis, nocturnal emission, premature ejaculation, and leukorrhea (abnormal vaginal discharge)

How do you plan on celebrating Good Friday this year? Let us know in the comments below.

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