There are some who are returning, bit by bit, to a more austere observance of Lent and finding there real spiritual benefit. One family I know began some years ago to eliminate meat from their entire Lent, starting with Fridays and adding one additional meatless weekday each year until the entire season is meatless. Sweets are eschewed throughout Lent as well. More of the fast days are observed. They say that the children (and the parents!) truly yearn for Easter, the Feast that breaks the fast, and I can well believe it.
Certainly there is a carnal aspect to this—I suppose it could be reduced only to that and one doesn't want to yearn for Easter merely because one gets chocolate and ham. But grace builds upon nature. With an empty stomach it is much easier to resonate spiritually with the Psalmist who proclaims, "For He satisfies him who is thirsty, and the hungry He fills with good things" ( Psalm 107:9) It is easier to identify, at least in a small way, with our Lord's heroic fasting: "And He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry" (Matt 4:2). It is easier to enter into the spirit of penitence and yearn for the much needed mercy of the Lord: "'Yet even now,' says the LORD, 'return to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.' Return to the LORD, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love" (Joel 2:12-13).
Great Lent is upon us. God be with you all.