To see just how effective avoiding an unhealthy food for 40 days can be, we've rounded up 10 popular foods that many people choose to give up for Lent, along with the total calories you'll save if you avoid them. Read on for the 10 foods and the calorie counts, based on typical eating habits.
Soda is the source of hundreds of unneeded calories, so now's the time to make the switch to water. Forgoing a soda a day for 40 days will save you 124-189 calories a day.
Total amount: 40 sodas
Total calories saved: 4,960-7,560 calories
They're salty, fried, and addictive, and it's hard to stop at just a few. Giving up your normal once-a-week order of medium fries for the Lent period will save you 539 calories a week.
Total amount: Six medium fries
Total calories saved: 3,234 calories
Want to go for the whole meal? If you normally pick up fast food once a week, skipping out on a typical meal of a hamburger and medium fries will save you 1,097 calories a week.
Total amount: Six fast-food meals
Total calories saved: 6,582 calories
If Lent means giving up your twice-a-week bowl of vanilla ice cream in front of the TV, you'll be saving 460 calories a week (more, of course, if you go for the fancier flavors).
Total amount: 12 bowls of ice cream (1/2 cup each)
Total calories saved: 2,760 for vanilla ice cream, 3,000 for chocolate ice cream
A glass of red wine a day can be beneficial to your health, but if you normally drink a glass of red wine with dinner, you'll be saving 127 calories a day if you stop for Lent.
Total amount: 40 glasses of red wine (five ounces each)
Total calories saved: 5,080 calories
Many people choose to give up coffee for Lent, whether it's because they want to wean themselves off their caffeine dependence or just because that daily Starbucks run can add up money-wise. Giving up your daily Starbucks grande latte made with two percent milk will save you 190 calories a day.
Total amount: 40 grande Starbucks lattes (16 ounces each)
Total calories saved: 7,600 calories (if you normally buy nonfat milk lattes you'll save 5,200 calories)
Whether you want to see what it's like to go vegetarian for a while or you realize that your diet contains too much saturated fat for your liking, if you give up a twice-a-day meat habit for Lent, you could be saving anywhere from 230 calories a day (for two three-ounce servings of roasted turkey breast) to 318 calories a day for two three-ounce steaks.
Total amount: 80 small servings of meat
Total calories saved: 9,200 to 12,720 calories
A piece of dark chocolate every day can quell sweet cravings while still providing you with a long list of benefits, but if your daily chocolate habit is getting out of control then what better time to give it up for a few weeks? For example, not eating three squares of dark chocolate a day will save you 170 calories. You'll save 210 calories a day if you eat one serving of milk chocolate Hershey's Bliss squares (six pieces).
Total amount: 40 servings of chocolate
Total calories saved: 6,800 for dark chocolate, 8,400 for milk chocolate
Snacking can be a dieter's best friend, but only if you choose the right kind — ones that are filling and nutritious, without all those empty calories. Avoiding a serving a day (10 crackers) of Ritz crackers, for example, will save you 160 calories a day. Forgoing a 1.5-ounce serving of Cheez-Its every day will save you 225 calories per serving.
Total amount: 40 servings of crackers
Total calories saved: 6,400 calories for Ritz, 8,800 calories for Cheez-Its
These unhealthy snacks deserve their own category! If you're giving up that twice-a-week potato-chip habit for Lent, you'll be saving 153 calories per bag (306 calories a week).
Total amount: 12 bags of chips
Total calories saved: 1,836 calories