“But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way… ‘Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.’ At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food” (Daniel 1:8, 12,13,15, NIV).
The Bible story of Daniel teaches us the importance of eating the right foods. Daniel had been taken from his own country as a young boy. He remembered the teachings of his parents even in a foreign country as he refused to eat the foods that he had been taught were unhealthy.
It was around 600 BC when Daniel challenged his captors to study the effects of healthy eating. In June 2004, researchers at the University of Southampton did a similar study of the effects of healthy eating in over 1800 three-year-old children. After initial behavioral testing, all of the children got one week of a healthy diet without artificial food colorings and without any chemical preservatives. The results were that the children’s behaviors noticeably improved during this week.
What is a healthy diet for our children?
Children need whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins from fish, poultry, eggs, meat, or from plant sources.
Children do not need to eat large amounts of sugar. In the 1800s, the average American consumed 12 pounds of sugar per year. By 1997, it jumped to 154 pounds per year. This amounts to 53 teaspoonfuls of added sugar per day (6-18 teaspoonfuls per day is the recommended amount).
Dr. Alan Greene of Children’s Hospital of Northern California says: “Giving your child a breakfast that contains fiber (such as oatmeal, shredded wheat, berries, bananas, or whole-grain pancakes) should keep adrenaline levels more constant and make the school day a more wondrous experience. Packing her or his lunch box with delicious, fiber-containing treats (such as whole-grain breads, peaches, grapes, or any other fresh fruits) may turn afternoons at home into a delight.”
According to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, our bodies are Temples for Jesus to live in. Until our children are old enough to take care of their own Temples, God entrusts us with their care spiritually and physically. Daily ask Him for guidance as you gently and lovingly guide them to make wise choices in every area of their lives.