What Would Jesus Eat?
The type of diet Jesus followed was based in Jewish dietary law and what was available from the land and sea. There has been great speculation about what he would eat and not eat and about his overall physical health. Since he was fully human as well as fully divine, his diet and the diet of others would have been important to him.
The significance of meals in the bible is a constant theme. Celebrations, tragedies, house guests, lunch breaks, snacks etc. may have been simple but no less important. As much then as now the act eating together solidifies the bonds of family, friends, and community.
Let's take a look at what Jesus' diet may have consisted of based on Jewish law.
Clean animals that could be eaten were cattle, sheep, goats, and fowl. however this meat was usually reserved for special occasions. Also, since the only ways to preserve meat was through salt or smoke this would be quite a feat in preparation. Fish with scales and fins were also considered clean. Fish is much easier to prepare and cook/preserve, therefore fish was likely eaten everyday.
Unclean animals that were forbidden were pigs, catfish, crustaceans, and mollusks.
Foods based on the availability from the land:
Grains such as wheat, barley, and sorghum were used to make breads.(Complex carbohydrates)
Various beans (lentils, chickpeas etc) were roasted and made into pastes and purees used on bread and vegetables. (Protein).
Vegetables were somewhat limited but the most popular were eggplant, cucumber, olives, garlic, leeks, and onion.
Fruits and nuts that were eaten were figs, dates, grapes, melon, pomegranates, walnuts, pistachios, almonds and any of their by-products like syrups, wine, raisins etc.
Spices of all kinds were readily available. (cumin, dill, cinnamon, mint, hyssop, chicory, salt)
Milk and Meat related foods allowed and available were butter, yogurt, cheese, eggs, and meat by-products (gravy).
Meals were usually eaten twice a day with "snacks" in between. Those meals would feature some sort of protein like salted fish with bread and butter (hummus), a few walnuts and a handful of dates. Of course celebrations were much more extravagant and lasted days (probably just to help get rid of the food before it spoiled).
Portion sizes were much less. Food was prepared and had to serve several family members throughout the day, so a handful of nuts was all you may been allowed, or 2-3 figs may have to last all day. Physical labor was much harder and all travel was done mostly by foot, except long distances.
This was a very healthy daily diet but this way of life required much more physical labor than anything we could imagine in this day and age. No processed, pre-packaged, pre-mixed food was available. Everything was truly organic and all-natural.