Children sometimes get an exemption from their families from the traditional fasting and abstinence during the Lenten season not because of any health or religious reasons, but because it’s hard to get them excited about meatless meals. Lately, however, there have been families who’ve begun to train their kids to uphold these practices at a young age—meaning they also have to stick to fish, fruit, and veggies on Lenten Fridays.

This can become a problem for parents, who may find their children eating less during these days because kids love meat! And if you’re a carnivore yourself, you may even find yourself in the same predicament! But worry no more—this is exactly the reason why we’ve gathered some delish meatless dishes you and your kids will surely love.


Don’t even attempt to go through the day without breakfast just because you can’t have your fave ham or hotdogs. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; this fact has been stressed over and over again. Don’t put your kids’ nutrition at risk while in observance of the Lenten season, and instead try these similarly healthy breakfast indulgences. In lieu of hotdogs and ham in the morning, why not make some chocolate swirl mini pancakes or classic cinnamon rolls to satisfy a sweet tooth or two? On other days, you can also enjoy equally satisfying breakfast choices, such as healthy carrot muffins or Nutella French toast. Muffins and pancakes, like donuts, go over great with kids.

(Photo by David Hanson, styling by Elaine P. Lim and Sharlene Tan)

healthy_lent_cheesy_chestnut_spread.jpgSOUPS AND STARTERS

For a little pre-entree pica-pica, why not serve up some stuffed mushrooms or baked cheesy chestnut spread with bread sticks or crostinis? Your kids may even have some mealtime fun spearing the last few mushrooms with forks or toothpicks or trying to get as much spread on their breadsticks as they possibly can. If you'd prefer to start with some comfort food, you can dish out a seafood cream soup or a hearty hold-me-now squash soup—these are as healthy as they are delicious. Just be sure to serve soup on cooler evenings; while the tummy-warming effects of soup can be very soothing, they may not be great for the appetite on hot summer days.

(Photo by Patrick Martires, styling by Elaine P. Lim)

healthy_lent_salt_baked_fish.jpgMAIN COURSE

So it’s lunchtime or dinnertime, and you’re a bit lost for new meatless recipes you can use as your entrees. Put a new spin on your fish recipes with these choices: salt-baked whole fish and breaded fish fillet with mornay sauce—different, for sure, but flavorful enough that, with any luck, your kids will find themselves thinking about fish more favorably from now on. Or are your kids already crazy over seafood? Wow your kids with crunchy or crispy garlic prawns or parmesan prawns and breaded calamari with cocktail sauce. Considering the Philippines is an archipelago and we have more ocean than dry land, it's never too soon to teach them to appreciate the bounties of the sea.

(Photo by David Hanson, styling by Elaine Lim)

healthy_lent_tuna_fetuccine.jpgMAMMA MIA, IT’S PASTA!

Why not go Italian this Lent, but without the meat? These great meatless pasta recipes are just perfect. Make your kids eat veggies while still enjoying their favorite lasagna by making veggie lasagna. They probably won’t even notice the lack of meat with the lasagna’s fantastic taste. Also, mommies can make a new pasta dish every Friday with pasta al cartoccio with puttanesca sauce, tuna fettucine in brown butter sauce, or linguine with seafood saffron crème. If your kids have fun twirling spaghetti round their forks, they may also enjoy trying different kinds of noodles like fettucine or angel-hair pasta—otherwise, change up a recipe with some fun-shaped pasta like farfalle (bow-ties) or fusilli (spirals).

(Photo by Erwin Obcemea, styling by Angelo Comsti)

healthy_lent_bread_sticks.jpgSNACKS OR MERIENDA TREATS

It’s a must! Merienda or snacks in the afternoon, we mean. You don’t want your kids hungry after school or after they’ve spent the afternoon making the most of the sunny outdoors, do you? Why not go for the super simple classic hand-cut fries? You can also try serving snack on stick with these fish cake balls or let them munch on coco popcorn. And who can say no to pizza? Get rid of those meaty ingredients and share a bite of this seafood pizza while watching the Lenten ceremonies on TV. You can also try the cinnamon-sugar bread sticks for a bit of sugar n’ spice.

(Photo by Ryan Fernandez, styling by Angelo Comsti)

Lent doesn’t have to be a drag for you and your family just because you have to limit your favorite daily servings of meaty stuff. You can respect the Catholic traditions as well as enjoy the season with these delectable recipe finds.

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