The fact that Lent and National Nutrition Month happen in March is maybe just a coincidence.
Fasting, abstinence from certain foods, and not eating between meals makes us aware of how important a nutritious diet is for our health. While we rarely focus on nutrition during our prayer life, let’s spend some time looking at the connection.
- It is tempting to make Lent a time of strenuous fasting and prayer, but keep it simple and focused. Each year the Church revisits the principle events of the life of Christ, and each year we will have time to ponder these mysteries. Don’t try to cram it all in one year.
- Try not to do two things at once. Don’t eat while watching TV or when driving. You will appreciate each bite even more…
- Keep a food diary noting what you eat, the kind and amount of food you eat, especially during different times of the day. You may be surprised!
- Lent is a time to remind us of our weaknesses. It may be painful to realize we are one meal away from hunger, but it helps recognize how helpless we are.
- Get active, take the dog for a walk, climb the stairs, take an extra lap around the store when grocery shopping.
- Flip the package over and really look at the nutritional label. It might be confusing at first, but look at the size of a serving, and the amount of calories, fat, sugar and salt. Look at the ingredients……can you even pronounce some of them?
- Reach out with charity. When we experience hunger during Lent we are able to understand those in need throughout the year. Almsgiving is more than throwing a few extra dollars in the collection plate, it’s about sharing God’s unconditional love and helping those in need, without judgement.
- Cook a meal and share it with someone. Prepare a special meal for somebody you care about, or better yet, for someone in need.
- Help out at a local food shelf or soup kitchen. You’ll reap many rewards of your labor!
- Love like Christ. Just as Jesus spent 40 days in the dessert, Lent brings us closer to asking for his help. It allows us to see how we can help others.
- Don’t have a side dish of guilt. If you eat too much at a meal, acknowledge it and move on.
- Reward yourself with something other than food. Celebrate accomplishments with a something that makes you smile, talking with a friend, seeing a movie.
When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?” MATTHEW 26:20-22
Elizabeth (Betsy) Clark is a Faith Community Nurse at the Church of Saint Andrew in Elk River, MN since August 2017. She earned her BSN from Iowa Wesleyan College and a Master’s Degree and DNP from the University of Minnesota. Betsy worked extensively in critical care as a staff nurse and advanced practice nurse before becoming a nurse educator. She has also worked in care transitions and care coordination. Betsy has been married to husband Bill for 20 years; they have a 19-year-old son, Brenton. “Faith Community Nursing allows, or sometimes challenges, me to use everything I have learned throughout my nursing career. There are so many opportunities to serve our communities and their varied populations, meeting spiritual, physical and behavioral health needs.”