Guide To The Daniel Fast: Prayer, Benefits, & Diet

Guide to the Daniel Fast: Prayer, Benefits, & Diet

For most of us, regardless of the type of fast we do, we aim to have an ultimate relationship with our God and seek His divine help in matters of life. For others, it's all about losing weight and having a healthier body. Either way, Daniel's fast is beneficial to both Christians and non-believers.

The rules of Daniel's fast include restricting yourself from all delicacies such as meat, dairy products, wine, and sweeteners. During the fasting of Daniel, you should only drink filtered or spring water and eat vegetables, fruits, and pulses. 

This article will focus on Daniel's fast food list, its benefits, and more.

Who Is Daniel?

King Nebuchadnezzar had selected Daniel, an Israelite, and his friends (Azariah, Mishael, and Hananiah) to serve in his court. In the Babylonian court, Daniel and his friends were to learn court etiquette, literature of the Chaldeans, and other skills so as to serve as per the set standards. 

Apart from changing their names, the king also ordered that they be given a special meal to make their appearance great. 

So, the king commanded Ashpenaz, the chief of the court’s officials, to set apart wine and royal food for Daniel and his friends.

The king didn’t know that God had warned the Israelites from eating some foods. Hence, Daniel knew that eating the king’s food and drinking the royal wine would cost him his intimate relationship with his God. 

Therefore, he completely refrained from drinking the king’s wine and eating the royal food. 

What Is Daniel Fast?

Daniel Fast abstains from other food choices besides vegetables, pulses, and water. 

Let’s go to the history of this fast for a moment. When Daniel resolved not to eat the King’s choicest foods, he noticed that Ashpenaz was afraid of disobeying the King’s command. 

Now God made Daniel find kindness and compassion in the sight of the prince of the eunuchs. The prince of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink. For why should he see your faces worse looking than the youths who are of your own age? Then you would endanger my head with the king.” 

Daniel 1:9-10, WEB

Consequently, Daniel told him to test them for 10 days, under which they would only drink water and eat vegetables. The King James Bible talks of pulses, not vegetables.

Then Daniel said to the steward whom the prince of the eunuchs had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: “Test your servants, I beg you, ten days; and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our faces be examined before you, and the face of the youths who eat of the king’s delicacies; and as you see, deal with your servants.”So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days.

Daniel 1:11-13, WEB

Since Daniel refrained from the King’s royal food and only ate vegetables and drank water, seemingly a ‘low-quality’ diet in the King’s court, those who do Daniel’s fast today strictly follow the same dietary guidelines.

Daniel followed God’s law, which restricted him from eating certain foods as they could defile him. Contrary to his faith, the King wanted them to eat the ‘rich foods’ and drink wine to look better. 

In contrast, Daniel believed that his countenance wasn’t dependent on that type of food but on finding favor before His God. It turns out that the fasting didn’t only benefit Daniel spiritually but also physically.

After ten days, Daniel and his friends looked better than everyone who ate the choice foods! Hence, Ashpenaz eliminated wine and the King’s choicest foods from their diet. 

At the end of ten days, their faces appeared fairer and they were fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate of the king’s delicacies. So the steward took away their delicacies and the wine that they were given to drink, and gave them vegetables.

Daniel 1:15-16, WEB

In Daniel 10: 2-3, we also see Daniel doing another fast and restricting himself from drinking wine and eating any luxurious-like food, for example, baked bread and meat. He was in prayers and fasting, repenting for 21 days. 

In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three whole weeks. I ate no pleasant food. No meat or wine came into my mouth. I didn’t anoint myself at all, until three whole weeks were fulfilled.

Daniel 10: 2-3, WEB

So, unlike the Esther Fast, which restricts you from eating food and drinking water for several days, the Daniel Fast involves eating veggies and drinking water.

Let’s get into the list of food to eat and what to avoid during the Fasting of Daniel. 

What Do You Eat and Drink on a Daniel Fast?

Since Daniel only drank water and ate vegetables/pulses, the Daniel fast should only consist of vegetables, pulses, and water. That’s why it may be called a vegetarian type of fasting and is excellent for people with chronic diseases but still want to fast and draw closer to God. 

People doing heavy jobs requiring a lot of energy can do this fast instead of going without food.

According to the Daniel Fast, here’s the list of what to eat during the fasting of Daniel. 


Besides vegetable juice, below are some veggies and pulses (legumes) you can include in your diet during a Daniel fast. Canned vegetables are also good if they have no added salt or preservatives. 

  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Sesame seeds
  • Celery
  • Yam
  • Lettuce
  • Silverbeet
  • Potatoes
  • Split peas
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Soy nuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pinto beans
  • Nut butters
  • Black beans
  • Cannellini beans
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Black-eyed peas

Whole Grains

While raised whole wheat bread and whole grain pasta aren’t permitted in the fasting of Daniel, unleavened bread is allowed.

So, millet, sorghum, and barley brown rice are some foods you can include in the Daniel Fast diet plan.

Herbs and Spices

You can include cinnamon, ginger, and basil to improve the taste of your meal. Species and herbs are free of salt, and calories are permissible. However, if you have to add salt to your meals, it should be in moderation. 

Since herbs are permitted in the Daniel Fast, you can drink herbal teas, too, but don’t add any sweeteners. 


You can eat bananas, apples, grapes, berries, dates, melons, oranges, among others. Only avoid canned fruits if they have added sugar and preservatives.


You can eat healthy fats during the Daniel Fast. So, include avocado, olive oil, and grapeseed oil, among other healthy oils. 


Daniel chose to drink water exclusively.

His fast did not include other beverages like wine, coffee, or sodas. Although some people say it’s okay to take 100% fruit juice, the bible only records that Daniel took water.  

What Not To Eat During a Daniel Fast

According to the rules of Daniel Fast, you should never eat animal products, including eggs, meats, seafood, and dairy, during the seemingly ‘vegan diet’ Daniel Fast. 

Also, as previously stated, avoid leavened bread, processed and refined foods, for example, white rice, white flour, and other foods with artificial flavorings and preservatives. 

Cacao, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, sweetened sugar cane juice, and deep-fried foods such as potato chips, corn chips, or french fries are restricted.

Don’t include solid fats such as margarine, butter, and lard. 

Artificial sweeteners such as malt syrup, agave nectar, and sugar are equally restricted in the Daniel Fast. 

Definitely, as mentioned in this article, you should never take wine, which means you should avoid alcoholic beverages.

Caffeine, energy drinks, and coffee shouldn’t be included in the Daniel Fast diet either.

Potential Spiritual and Health Benefits of the Daniel Fast

There are several benefits of doing the Biblical Daniel fasting. For example, you strictly switch to a healthy vegetarian diet during fasting and prayer. 

Not only does this promote weight loss, but it is great for people with chronic diseases. Besides, it also minimizes the risk of heart disease because it only allows the use of heart-healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil. 

Below, I'll discuss more benefits of Daniel's fast diet. 

Weight Loss

Weight loss is the number one reason a registered dietitian or Biblical wellness coach may recommend the Daniel fast to anyone wanting to lose weight. Since the fast only allows a plant-based diet and water, your diet is low in calories and additives due to the absence of unhealthy fats and raw sugar. 

Moreover, pulses are high in dietary fiber. Hence, they keep you fuller longer, making you less hungry throughout the day. 

Because this fast lasts only three weeks, if you're looking for long-term weight loss methods, this may not be ideal to continue for longer amounts of time. However, it can help you kickstart cleansing and spark healthier eating habits that can usher in long-term weight loss.

Lowered Risk of Heart Disease  

According to the scripture, prophet Daniel only ate vegetables or (according to the King James Bible) pulses and water. This means he ate a plant-based diet. 

According to research, vegan diets, which consist of lentils, leafy vegetables, seeds, fruits, carrots, and beans, among others, help lower the risk of getting cancer, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart diseases. 

Often, when you eat beans and unsweetened foods and abstain from processed foods and refined grains, your health improves, especially your gut and heart health. Beans are rich in dietary fiber, zinc, iron, protein, and other vital nutrients. 

So, the Daniel fast has physical and spiritual blessings: You get closer to God and guard your health against deadly diseases. 

Builds You Spiritually

Not just the Daniel and Esther fasts; every Biblical fast draws you closer to God. One of the things that I'll forever thank God for is the alignment of my character, which came after I spent considerable time in prayers and fasting! 

If you haven't fasted, I highly encourage you to do so soon. 

During the fasting, your spiritual eyes enlighten, and you begin to view yourself as God does. This helps you to deal with every evil within you and live according to the biblical standards of a believer.  

It also helps you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit more clearly, directing you to the right path according to God's will. 


How Many Hours per Day Is Daniel Fast?

The Daniel fast lasts twenty-one days. That means you're fasting day and night for 21 days. Whether you eat once, twice, or thrice daily, it doesn't matter because this fast isn't about the quantity. Instead, it's about the type of foods you eat.

Daniel fast is one of the best fasts you can do, especially if you do heavy jobs or have a health problem that requires you to eat every day. It's a great fast for you if you want to lose a small amount of weight in only 21 days. 

Ensure that your diet is meatless and sugar-free. Avoid alcohol and high-calorie diets. Stick to fruits and vegetables, for example, broccoli, greens, and squash. Strive to eat more pulses like kidney beans. Also, avoid fast food during the Daniel Fast and drink plenty of water daily. 

While striving to eat minimally processed foods and stick to a healthy Daniel diet, remember that you aim to have an intimate relationship with God during this period. So, keep yourself more dedicated to prayers and fasting, read God's word, and constantly meditate on it.

Guide To The Daniel Fast: Prayer, Benefits, & Diet

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Author: Mary Peter

Title: Freelance Writer

Expertise: Christianity, Pets, Writing


Mary is a freelance writer whose written for over 2,000 clients covering a wide variety of topics. When she isn't freelance writing, she is participating in church events, managing her tea farm, walking to keep fit, or writing for her own websites: Daily Pets Care and Freelance Writer Spot.

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