2 power-packed fasting recipes

Try these hunger-controlling tips and ideas for Lent, another religious observance, or anytime you want to reduce portions without sacrificing energy.

Power Quinoa Bowl. Photo courtesy of Cara Busson-Clark. Peaches. Maksym Poriechkin | Shutterstock

It’s that time of year again! Ash Wednesday is the official start of Lent, which means 40 days of sacrifice, abstaining and prayer. And it begins on March 1.

As a lifelong Catholic, I’m very accustomed to fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. (Though, for the past few years, I’ve been “off the hook” because I’ve either been nursing a small baby or pregnant, which gave me exemption in the church. This year I plan to abide again.) By fasting, I really mean reduced portions: two small meals and one regular size meal, and filling the times of hunger I experience with prayer instead.

WE RECOMMEND: Fast food Lenten lunch options

Mind you, fasting totally goes against the usual philosophy of my health and nutrition business. We practically preach to our clients that a healthy diet includes eating every two to four hours in order to keep blood sugar stable and meals sizes consistent. We also teach that it’s important to eat enough food to fuel your mind and body for activity, not starve yourself to be thin. So, naturally, my die hard clients become very concerned with their health objectives during the upcoming days of fasting.

So I try to give everyone these tips for getting through a day of fasting, done with your best health in mind:

Drink up. You’re allowed to have water and it will be extremely beneficial for you while fasting. Start your day with room temperature and about 20 oz.

Eat a small breakfast. Eat your breakfast, but keep this meal smaller, as one of your snacks. I would suggest a piece of nut butter toast (use sprouted grain bread of course). Have a small orange with it.

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Kate Remmer | Unplash

Eat a larger lunch. The midday is the hardest, in my opinion for hunger, so I would suggest your larger meal at lunch. My personal favorite would be a quinoa salad, which I’ll post the recipe for below.

Eat a snack for dinner. A smoothie is a good option for dinner because it’s lighter, but still nutritious and satisfying. Look for a smoothie recipe below.

WE RECOMMEND: Lent is not a New Year’s resolution do over

Don’t forget that avoiding meat on these Holy Days and on Fridays during Lent is strongly encouraged. As I said, I know that fasting is difficult from a will power perspective, but also quite hard on your body physically. Still, it’s an important few days that we can use to meet the Lord in prayer.

Which brings me to my last piece of Lenten advice (and, yes, I’ll admit, it’s kind of preachy): One of my biggest pet peeves is when adults give up some sort of food that will make them closer to their Summer bathing suit goal instead of God. If you’re going to give up bread or sugar or chocolate (or whatever it is that you struggle with), please ask yourself if it’s something you’re doing selfishly or to make your Lent more holy. For these unique days of the year, we fast because we’re trying to earn favor with God’s attention and get our ourselves spiritually ready for His coming … not to drop a pant size.

So I urge you to follow the church’s teachings on fasting in a mindful way. This is part of our Lenten penance, which will strengthen you, more so than eating every few hours will. Think of the ultimate sacrifice that ends Lent and ask yourself, what luxury can you go without to create a stronger bond between you and the cross.

In my ripe age of 32, I find that adding something like a daily mass, rosary, quiet reflection, or holy hour is much more effective and also a huge sacrifice in my already hectic schedule. I challenge you to make this your best Lent ever! But, don’t worry, I’ve also got two healthy recipes to get you through it with minimal hunger pangs, too:

Power Quinoa Bowl

Power Quinoa Bowl recipe by Cara Busson-Clark. Photo courtesy of Cara Busson-Clark

Serves: 4

Prep time: 15 min

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked quinoa
1 diced bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup cooked black beans
1 chopped room tomato
1 sliced avocado
¼ cup roasted slivered almonds
¼ cup feta cheese
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Juice & zest of 1 lime
Fresh cilantro, sea salt & black pepper, to taste

Method:

In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, lime juice, and lime zest. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour in the balsamic mixture and gently toss to combine.

Peach Cobbler Smoothie Bowl

Maksym Poriechkin | Shutterstock

Serves: 4

Prep time: 15 min

Ingredients:

½ frozen banana
¾ medium pitted peach
¼ cup shredded carrots
¼ cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons pecans (soaked overnight in filtered water, if possible)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
2-4 oz unsweetened coconut or nut milk
Ice

Method:

Blend the above ingredients, then pour into a bowl & top with:

¼ pitted peach, sliced or diced
1 tablespoon chia seeds
¼ cup clean low sugar granola
2 tablespoons pecans
A sprinkle of cinnamon

Cara Busson-Clark
Cara Busson-Clark

Cara Busson-Clark is a Certified Sports and Clinical Nutritionist and runs Cara Clark Nutrition. Her “non-dieting” approach to health and wellness, attracts a wide range of clients, including Hollywood celebrities. In addition to her passion for helping others live their best lives, her world revolves around her faith and family. She is mother to four daughters, ages one to six and lives in southern California.

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