How should I approach this?

Hey there! I’m a 16-year-old girl and I’d like to give up meat for Lent. I did it two years ago and it was really hard for me, but I really felt Christ’s suffering during those 40 days. The problem is, I didn’t really eat too well… lots of quesadillas and such. :o

I also don’t want to inconvenience my mom. I don’t want her to feel obligated to make me special food or buy me things the rest of the family normally wouldn’t eat. She’s not Catholic, so I’m not positive how she would react to my wishes.

Do you think I should do this? If so, do you have any advice? If not, is there something else you think I could give up that would be equally difficult?

Thanks very much in advance!

Since you’re young and growing, maybe eating poorly is not the best way to go about it.

How about giving up TV, or doing more around the house, or volunteering?

Well at 16 your certainly of age to make food for your self. You can look up recipes online to make easy things and are a couple of my favorite sites. There are plenty of everyday foods shouldn’t be too much trouble for your mother to have in the house. Spaghetti or pasta dishes are easy, tuna from the can be made into a tuna salad sandwich or tuna casserole, peanut butter is an easy way to get meatless protein, eggs can be made in many ways. Since you’re a teen nutrition is especially important. Nuts another way to get protein. Almonds are an especially good choice.

I’ve given up meat for lent before of course I don’t impose this on my family who give up other things but it hasn’t been to difficult to work around it. Whatever you mom makes for dinner that doesn’t have meat in it you can get and just add protein from another source.

i wouldnt inconvenience your mother. After all, its supposed to be your penance, not your mother`s. Having her get special food would make you look a bit selfish, defeating the whole purpose of your Lenten penance.

Flyingfish`s advice is the go.

And rayne`s

I wouldn’t give up meat without having a good knowledge of how to eat a healthful vegetarian diet, and the confidence that you will be able to cook those recipes. But even if you had a great cookbook, and could cook healthful meals for yourself, so as not to put out your mom, you have to consider the other members of your family as well. Do you eat together with your family? Will it seem weird that you always have a special meal? Will they think you’re trying too hard to be holy (do they understand your faith), or will you take pleasure in being different (pride is a pitfall we all have to beware of)? Or will it simply cause stress at the dinner table? I wonder if this is really the right sort of “penance” at this stage in your life. Something as big as this would probably be more suited to a person who doesn’t live with family (like college/young adulthood).

If you still want to stick with a food thing, what about lunch time? Do you go to school? Does your mom pack your lunches for you, or do you buy hot lunches? What if you make your lunch every day instead, and if you want to make your lunches meatless (healthfully of course), then you could probably do it without imposing on your mom - in fact if you take over the making of the lunch, she just might appreciate this Catholic thing.

At 16 if you’re in any sort of sports it can be very destructive to your body to not eat meat without having a reasonable dietary plan in place. You have to eat alot of beans!!!

It would be a good idea to sit down with a dr or nutritionist first and then talk to your mom. If she does cooking for the family perhaps you could come up with simple, vegeterian meals that you can cook 1-2 nights per week for the family. The rest of the week should be a dialogue with her about how you can make this as least disruptive as possible.

You can make a ton of delicious vegetarian meals:) Try Rachael Ray’s Vegetarian cookbook:) And just make sure you get some protein.

Also, for girls, 16 usually means we’re done growing. We usually stop after our menses start. Boys are still growing. So sixteen maybe young, but it doesn’t always mean still growing. I was finished at fourteen.

your instincts are right. no you should not put your mother to extra trouble, and no you should not change your diet to an unhealthy manner of eating. Until you know enough about diet, nutrition, cooking etc. you should eat what your mother prepares for the family, since she does know these things. What you can do is learn from her and other good resources as these are essential life skills you will need in a short time when you leave home. Why not make your discipline helping her in the kitchen, planning meals, shopping etc.? Tell her why you want to do this and ask how you can both help and learn at the same time.

Pick up a copy of this booklet. We give it out to the teens in our Parish during Lent:

“Safe Fasting For Teens”

I agree, what about texting…that is if you have a mobile phone.
Also myspace, ipods, maybe saying the Rosary? you would be giving up other thing to say the Rosary.

Hi Spelling girl, if you want to give up some sort of food, maybe it would be more convenient for you and your mother if you gave up cheese? You can meet all of your calcium needs by drinking milk and eating dark green vegetables.

Some more things about me:

I do not text (never needed to, thank goodness).

I am done growing and have been for about a year.

I don’t play any sports or watch a lot of TV. All we watch is sports in my house. :thumbsup:

I’d just like to have some advice about how to approach my parents about my wishes, and then how to go about it in a safe, healthy way during Lent.

If you do, however, have any other ideas for something I could give up for Lent, I would appreciate them. :slight_smile:

Perhaps you could eat the non-meat side dishes your mom prepares for the family. You could prepare yourself in advance, say on the weekends, some vegetarian main dishes that you could warm up to replace any meat dishes. It really shouldn’t be too rough. My daughter did it at your age. It just requires thinking about it a bit, which is great because it then reminds you why you are thinking about it.

Give up some of your free time and use it for the benefit of others.

Eat the veg, salad, sides that your mom fixes.

Boil up a dozen eggs and keep them in the fridge. Have one each morning for protein.

Just because I don’t play a sport, text, or watch much TV doesn’t mean I have a lot of free time.

I am an AP student and an editor on my school newspaper. That takes up almost all of my “free” time.

It was just a suggestion, and I wasn’t suggesting that you do something insane and give up a lot of your free time. I was thinking more along the lines of an hour or two a week volunteering at a soup kitchen or a nursing home.

I think that kind of a sacrifice would benefit you spiritually and would benefit those you are helping. :shrug: It’s really up to you.

Spellinggirl, I don’t eat domestic meat, so I understand how family members see the choice as an inconvenience to them. If you really want to do it, start taking a multivitamin and do some research on vegetarianism so you are able to make safe dietary choices. Maybe you can start cooking a few meatless dishes a week for your family. Just because you won’t be eating meat doesn’t mean you and your family can’t eat well!

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