This Daniel Fast survival guide is full of satisfying recipes, helpful tips, and encouragement to help you succeed in the Daniel Fast, especially as you enter the New Year!
The beginning of a new year is always a great time to make meaningful changes and I'm grateful for the experiences I've had with fasting so thought now would be a great time to share everything I've learned about successfully completing the Daniel Fast, including 30 delicious recipes to build out your Daniel Fast menu.
What is the Daniel Fast?
The Daniel Fast is a partial fast typically lasting 21 days and done for a variety of spiritual and physical reasons. For me, it is a faith exercise and demonstration that has benefits in all areas--including the waistline.
During this fast, you avoid alcohol, sweeteners, caffeine, meat and animal products, fried foods, refined grains, and other processed foods. If you're used to shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, this won't be a massive adjustment for you.
Which scripture is it based on?
The Daniel Fast is based on two scriptures, Daniel 1:12, which reads:
2 “ 'Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.' "
And 10:2-3, which reads:
"2 At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. 3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over."
These scriptures define the typical duration of the fast, as well as what to eat or avoid during this time.
Variations of the Fast
I've seen different people and churches do the fast different ways: for shorter or longer lengths of time, with or without salt, drinking non-dairy milks and vegetable juices. Some do not use any oil. You just have to determine what is right for you. For example, my first time around, I heavily relied on this date honey recipe as a sugar substitute but now I'm just fine without it.
What should I eat during Daniel Fasting?
Focus on enjoying unprocessed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes. Derivatives of these, like plant-based milks, oils, broths, and spices are also permitted. You will be surprised by how many delicious meal options exist within these guidelines.
Here are some of my favorite Daniel Fast friendly recipes! Some are compliant as is and others require slight modification, which is noted below.
Pro Tip: Cook your oatmeal in unsweetened applesauce to add extra flavor and finish with a splash of plant-based milk for creaminess.
Lunch & Dinner Recipes
Looking for easy Daniel Fast dinner recipes? The list below includes something for every meal of the day, with several savory meal options for lunch and dinner.
Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes
Combine greens and other vegetables with whole grains, nuts, and plant proteins for hearty Daniel Fast meal salads. And don't forget the dressing to add flavor and improve nutrient absorption!
With the following dressings, omit any sweeteners or replace with date paste.
In addition to fruits and vegetables, unsweetened applesauce, roasted seeds, nuts, hummus, and even granola are great snack options while fasting. Here are a few recipe options.
What sweet snacks can you eat on Daniel Fast?
If you know me, you know that avoiding sweet things is the hardest part of the fast! Thankfully, God provides lots of natural sweetness in nature. Here are a few great recipes.
What can I drink on Daniel Fast?
Water is the only drink allowed during the fast. This means no tea, coffee, juice, alcohol, milk, or soda. Either still or sparkling water is acceptable but be sure to check out the label of your bubbly water to ensure it is naturally carbonated. Smoothies are permitted as meal replacements.
Applesauce and Apple Juice add natural sweetness to meals without refined sugar.
Citrus Fruits - lemons, limes, oranges, and even grapefruit add subtle flavor to water and are also great for finishing cooked dishes.
Cooking Oils like avocado, coconut, grape seed, olive, and sesame
Dates and Raisins for natural sweetness with fiber--I recommend organic medjool dates.
Plant-Based Milk from almonds, cashews, soybeans, macadamia, and even oats work. Just be sure to read the label for purity from unnecessary ingredients. I highly recommend MALK, which is just made from nuts and water with no fillers.
Plant-Based Proteins - black beans, black eyed peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, white beans, peanuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, and lentils. Pro Tip: I love these curry chickpeas for a great heat-and-eat option that's seasoned and fast compliant.
Plant Protein Powder to more add protein to meals like oatmeal, smoothies, and stews. I recommend PURIS because it's organic, unsweetened, and unflavored.
Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables - If you're fasting at the top of the year, this includes apples, avocado, beets, bok choy, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, citrus fruits, collards, kale, kiwi, passion fruit, pears, persimmons, pomegranates, and sweet potatoes.
Spices like black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, garlic powder, ginger, nutmeg, onion powder, sea salt, turmeric, and white pepper
Vegetable Broth and Juices to add flavor to soups and stews. These are easy to make at home but if you're looking for a fast compliant brand, I like Knudsen Organic Veggie Juice and Pacific Food Veggie Broth.
Vinegars including apple cider, balsamic, and white vinegar.
Whole Grains like old fashioned oats, brown rice, brown rice pasta, and chickpea pasta can provide the base for a hearty meal--sweet or savory.
Top 8 Tips for Success
1. Set a goal. Go into this fast with intention and talk to God about what it is you hope to accomplish or understand through the experience. The first time I did this fast, I was waiting to hear back about grad school admissions and wanted to demonstrate my commitment. I received an acceptance letter on the first or second day but continued through 30 days and it was so rewarding!
2. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Meal-prepping is an absolute must during something like the Daniel Fast since you can't run to a restaurant for lunch or buy something from a vending machine as easily. (Although, if you find yourself at Chipotle, you can get a salad bowl with lettuce, beans, corn, brown rice, and ALL the salsas!) On that topic, here are my secrets to building better salads at home.
3. Whether or not your diet change is spiritually linked, you'll need some structure to stay on track. I used this Daniel Fast devotional the first time around and it was so helpful. It is full of recipes, tips, and a scripture-based starting point for each day. You can also utilize online meal planners or worksheets. Google Sheets is good for that because you can access it on all of your devices.
4. Make sure you have an accountability/prayer partner. You might mess up...and that's ok! The first time I did the fast, I accidentally popped a peppermint into my mouth when I was in a meeting. I spat it out and felt so bad but had to bounce back. Calling up my sorority sister who had introduced me to the fast was beyond helpful. She was like "Girl. Get over it!"
5. Stock up on fresh lemons (not bottled lemon juice) for your water if you're used to drinking juice and other things. Just add a slice or wedge to your glass or bottle and you'll be good to go.
6. Oatmeal is a good catch-all dish. You can make it sweet or savory. I sometimes cook mine in unsweetened apple juice to add flavor right off the bat then mix in fresh fruit, cinnamon, nuts and other spices. Here are a ton of oatmeal recipes in every shape and form.
7. Let your friends and family know about this change...and expect to have to remind them a couple of times, haha! There's no need to make a PSA but you'll want people to understand why you're turning down certain foods or outings and be supportive.
8. Ease back into your regular diet. At the end of the fast, you might want to continue it (slightly likely), incorporate more plant-based foods on the regular (likely), or dive headfirst into a margarita and queso (highly likely). Try to go easy on your body. Just as it might have been a shock to your system in the beginning, there will probably also be an adjustment period at the end. My first post-fast meal was blueberry pancakes with blueberry compote and, while I felt fine, I have friends who totally gorged themselves the first moment they could and wound up feeling sick.
My encouragement to you is to use this time to explore. Rather than thinking of everything you can't eat (which will be hard until about three days in) think about all the variety that lies within what you can! Experiment with different spices. Try new fruits and veggies. Be thankful for the opportunity to try something new. I hope this Daniel Fast survival guide is helpful to you in any kind of diet change.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I'd love to hear about your experiences with the Daniel Fast, Whole 30, or anything else like that. And sharing is caring so be sure to pin this Daniel Fast guide for later and follow me over on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!