If You Are Over 60 Can You Eat Meat On Fridays During Lent? (The Definitive Answer)

Jose "Jay" Carrillo

Your question is very common and I’m going to answer it right away . . .

So, “If you are over 60 can you eat meat on Fridays during Lent?”

Everyone person 14 years of age or older must abstain from eating red meat or white meat on Ash Wednesday, and all Fridays during Lent. Meat from the animal flesh of warm-blooded animals such as cows, pigs, lambs, chickens and turkeys are prohibited by the Catholic Church.

Orthodox Christians take it one step further and prohibit meat from all animals with a backbone.

But, you don’t have to worry.

I’ll cover some alternatives in this article that you probably haven’t thought about. Hopefully it will help you overcome your craving for meat, and avoid sin too!

Plus, the definitive answer on fasting during Lent . . .

Types Of Meat That You Can Eat During Lent

Now that I’ve covered the types of meat that you can’t eat during Lent, it’s time to cover the type of meat that you can eat.

It’s important to note again that there’s a difference depending on whether or not you are Catholic or Orthodox Christian.

Catholic

You are allowed to eat meat from cold-blooded animals such as fish or reptiles. This includes all your favorite seafood such as Alaskan king crab, freshwater species of fish and exotic meat such as frog legs or alligator.

Orthodox Christians

You are allowed to eat meat from cold-blooded animals without a backbone. This means you cannot eat fish but you are allowed to eat other seafood without a backbone including scallops, shrimp, clams, oysters, squid, octopus, etc.

Alternatives To Eating Red Or White Meat On Fridays During Lent

There are a number of options available to you if you choose to not to eat meat during Lent. Some of the choices below are called meat today but aren’t actually considered “meat” since they are not derived from animals.

Sure, it may not be a tasty steak or fried chicken, but these choices will definitely curb your appetite . . . at least for a little while:

  1. Eggs
  2. Plant-based meat (e.g. burger patties, chicken strips, meatballs, chorizo, etc.)
  3. Lab-grown or cultured meat (e.g. chicken nuggets)
  4. Veggie burgers
  5. Bean burgers
  6. Tofu
  7. Beans (e.g. kidney beans, lentils, etc.)
  8. Fruit (e.g. jackfruit, etc.)
  9. Vegetables
  10. Salads

The best thing to do before Lent is to print-out a wide-variety of meatless meals so that you can plan and prepare for those days where you can’t eat meat.

Exceptions

Some people do abstain from eating “all” animal-derived products including dairy products, eggs, meat gravies and even cooking in animal fat and meat juices (e.g. chicken broth). Some go as far as not eating any such foods that have a meat taste (e.g. plant-based meat) to them. This is mostly driven by a person’s religion but can also be driven by personal choice.

For example, the Catholic Church does allow you to eat both dairy and eggs during all of Lent.

On the other hand, Orthodox Christians abstain from eating all animal products including dairy and eggs.

It’s not too confusing, I hope . . .

Who Is Exempt From Eating Meat On Fridays?

There are a few exceptions to the rule to this often-asked question, which takes us back to the original question:

“If you are over 60 can you eat meat on Fridays during Lent?”

Yes, possibly . . . if you fall within one of the exceptions below.

Those aged under 14 years old, the sick, pregnant women, elderly, manual workers and seafarers do not have to abstain from eating meat. Furthermore, other people that have a moral or physical reason for eating meat, do not have to abstain from eating meat.

Elderly

This does raise some more questions such as, “At what age does the church consider someone elderly?”

This is driven by where you live or even your culture in some cases. This is because every country sets a different age for retirement and senior citizens, which determines whether or not you are considered elderly. This could vary anywhere from 60, 62 or even 65 years of age to name a few.

Culture

Culturally, the age of an elderly person can also vary. This is most commonly seen in different tribes around the world where the elderly are sacred and revered. Typically, the age is much lower, as low as 50 years old.

Moral or Physical Reason

The other question is, “What is an acceptable moral or physical reason for eating meat?”

This question is much trickier and requires you to be honest about your physical and moral well-being. The answer is, it’s really up to you because only you know your situation best. At the end of the day, abstaining from eating meat during Lent is completely on the honor system.

Whether or not you sin is solely between you and God.

Why Do People Give Up Meat For Lent?

The practice of giving up meat for Lent is a long-standing Catholic tradition as well as other Christian religions. There are a few different reasons why people may choose to do this.

Some people do it as a form of self-denial, as a way to discipline themselves and grow closer to God. Others do it out of respect for the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on our behalf when Jesus died on the cross. Others do it for health reasons, as a way to cleanse their bodies and reset their diets.

Whatever the reason, giving up meat for Lent is a personal choice that each person has to make for themselves. Even if people are exempt, many people still choose to do so out of personal conviction or preference. To them, there is no upper age limit to show their devotion to God and is a form of penance. For many, this is the true meaning of penance and one way to avoid mortal sin.

Fasting During Lent

Although it is widely know that Christians do not eat meat on Fridays during Lent (Lenten Fridays or Fridays of Lent), many people forget that there is an additional fasting requirement as well.

The current practice is for everyone between the age of 18 and 59. The requirement is that you must fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The only exception to this is if you have a medical reason or medical condition (e.g. Type 2 diabetes, etc.) where fasting for extended periods of time could be detrimental to your health. This includes chronic illnesses as well.

When people ask, “If you are over 60 can you eat meat on Fridays during Lent?”, they also generally ask about fasting as well. I’m glad we covered here since it flies by most people.

FAQs

What is Lent?

Lent is a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and reflection preceding Easter Sunday. The 40 days of penance or days of abstinence does not include Sundays since it is the holy day of the week. Lent is observed by Christians as a time to prepare for Christ’s resurrection. Lent or Lenten begins on Ash Wednesday, goes through Palm Sunday, and ends on Holy Saturday the day before Easter Sunday during Holy Week.

Who observes Lent?

Many Christians observe Lent including Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians and some Protestant denominations.

Why do Christians observe Lent?

The purpose of Lent is to prepare Christians for Easter through prayer, penance and almsgiving. A simple answer is that Lent is also another opportunity to get closer to God and a great time to implement the practice of self-denial.

What can’t I do during Lent?

The traditional practice of fasting during the season of Lent prohibits eating meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays. One key aspect is that some Christians also choose to give up their favorite indulgences such as alcohol, sweets, soda, watching television or eating meat altogether. The range is so broad because it’s a personal choice and there is no right or wrong.

If you are over 60 can you eat meat on Fridays during Lent?

See above . . .