Many Catholics give up a vice for Lent, but even if you’re not religious, giving something up for the same 40-day period is a good way to kick-start a healthy habit or lose weight. Take a look at the calories you could save by giving up these 10 popular foods.

Soda / Pop

Soda is the source of hundreds of unneeded calories. Forgoing one 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. Giving up your normal once-a-week order of medium fries for Lent 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 save 460 calories a week (more if you go for like some of the other 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


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 save 127 calories a day if you stop for Lent.

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

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 give up that twice-a-week potato-chip habit for Lent, you’ll save 153 calories per bag (306 calories a week). 

Total amount: 12 bags of chips

Total calories saved: 1,836 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 2% 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 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


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 can 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

Carb Snacks

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 (that’s 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

Source: Popsugar, The Calories You’ll Save Giving Up These 10 Foods for Lent