10 Unhealthy Foods to Give Up For Lent – and the Calories You’ll Save

10 Unhealthy Foods to Give Up For Lent u2014 and the Calories You’ll Save

After all the gluttonous Mardi Gras celebrations comes Lent| the Catholic season of penance that starts on Ash Wednesday. Many Catholics give up a vice for Lent| but even if you don’t do it for religious reasons| you may find that giving something up for the same 40-day period is a good way to kick-start a healthy habit or lose weight.

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. You might be shocked at how many calories you can save in a little over a month from just giving up your favorite junk food.

| Soda

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 to 189 calories a day.

Total amount: 40 sodas

Total calories saved: 4|960 to 7|560 calories

| French Fries

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 350 calories a week.

Total amount: Six medium orders of fries

Total calories saved: 2|190 calories

| Ice Cream

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 or 3|000 for chocolate ice cream

| Alcohol

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

| Fast Food

Want to go for the whole meal? If you normally pick up fast food once a week| skipping out on a typical fast-food meal will save you 1|200 calories a week.

Total amount: Six fast-food meals

Total calories saved: 7|200 calories

| Potato Chips

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

| Lattes

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)

| Meat

Meat can be an important part of your diet if you choose lean protein options| but too much red and processed meat is bad news for your health.

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| giving up a once-a-day red meat habit for Lent could save you anywhere from 207 calories per serving for one four-ounce steak to 184 calories for four slices of bacon.

Total amount: 20 servings of red meat and 20 servings of bacon

Total calories saved:7|820 calories

| Chocolate

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 or 8|400 for milk chocolate

| Carby Snacks

Snacking can be a dieter’s best friend| but only if you choose the right kind u2014 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 one-ounce serving of Cheez-Its every day (about 27 crackers) will save you 150 calories per serving.

Total amount: 40 servings of crackers

Total calories saved: 6|400 calories for Ritz or 6|000 calories for Cheez-Its