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What foods do Amish not eat?

The Amish are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships that formed during the late 17th century in Switzerland, Alsace, and southern Germany. The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress, and a reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology. This extends to their dietary habits, where they avoid many modern processed foods.

Meat and Animal Products

While the Amish do eat meat and other animal products like eggs and dairy, there are some restrictions around these foods:

  • The Amish avoid eating wild game or meat from carnivorous animals like bear, fox, or alligator. They believe animals that eat other animals are unclean.
  • Most Amish will not eat pork or pork products like bacon, ham, or sausage. This comes from biblical teaching that the pig is an unclean animal.
  • Blood sausage or blood-based foods are avoided since the Amish interpret the Bible to prohibit consuming blood.
  • Raw seafood like sushi, oysters, and ceviche is generally not eaten.
  • Fast food hamburgers are avoided since the beef source is unknown and likely comes from mass slaughterhouses.
  • Feedlot-raised conventional meats are often rejected in favor of pasture-raised meat from local farms.

So while the Amish do include meat and animal products like eggs and milk in their diets, they try to source it from reputable local producers and adhere to certain biblical restrictions.

Junk and Processed Foods

The Amish avoid most modern processed foods, especially ones with chemical additives:

  • Pre-packaged snacks like potato chips, cheese puffs, and cookies.
  • Candy bars, sweets, and desserts with artificial colors and flavors.
  • Soft drinks like cola, Mountain Dew, or energy drinks.
  • Processed luncheon meats like bologna or ham.
  • Fast food like McDonald’s, Burger King, etc.
  • Boxes macaroni and cheese or instant ramen noodles.
  • Frozen meals or instant microwavable foods.
  • Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, or sucralose.

The Amish avoid these as they did not exist when their religious tradition formed. They also feel these items undermine health.

New World Foods

Some foods that originated in the Americas are not traditionally part of Amish cuisine:

  • Potatoes were once avoided but are now accepted by many Amish.
  • Tomatoes were originally viewed with suspicion but are now common.
  • Corn is not typically used.
  • Peppers, pumpkin, squash, and other New World crops are rarely found.

In traditional Amish diets, Old World staples like wheat, rye, beans, cabbage, carrots, and onions dominate.

Excessive Sugar

While the Amish eat desserts and sweets, they try to limit sugar intake:

  • Home-baked pies, custards, and cakes are acceptable in moderation.
  • Candy is allowed on special occasions like weddings or barn raisings.
  • Heavily sweet foods like donuts, ice cream sundaes, or milkshakes are avoided.
  • Sugary breakfast cereals are rejected for oatmeal or eggs.
  • Fruit juice and soda is limited, water is the preferred drink.
  • Preserves and honey are used but in small quantities.

The Amish promote a healthy lifestyle so try to limit empty sugar calories whenever possible.


Drinking alcohol is forbidden by the Amish religion, so they avoid:

  • Beer, wine, liquors – none are allowed.
  • Rum-soaked holiday cakes.
  • Foods cooked with wine like coq au vin.
  • Vanilla extract and food flavorings containing alcohol.

Since alcohol consumption is banned, it is never part of an Amish diet.


Caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea are avoided:

  • Coffee and specialty coffee drinks.
  • Tea, iced tea, chai tea.
  • Cola and other caffeinated sodas.
  • Chocolate, since it naturally contains caffeine.
  • Energy drinks.

Stimulants like caffeine are seen as an unhealthy addiction so are excluded from Amish diets.

Snack and Convenience Foods

The Amish don’t eat modern snack or convenience foods like:

  • Potato chips, corn chips, tortilla chips.
  • Microwave popcorn, movie theater popcorn.
  • Pretzels, cheese puffs, snack crackers.
  • Granola bars, breakfast bars, protein bars.
  • Dried fruit rolls, fruit leather.
  • Trail mix, nuts with tropical flavors.
  • Microwavable meals, frozen pizza, Hot Pockets.

These are seen as indulgences that undermine health and self-discipline.

Eating Out

Eating at restaurants is generally avoided:

  • Fast food like McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC.
  • Pizza chains like Domino’s or Papa John’s.
  • Sit-down chain restaurants like Applebee’s, TGIFriday’s.
  • Cafes, diners, and coffee shops.
  • Gourmet restaurants. Fine dining.
  • Food courts, concessions, and amusement park food.

Since they cannot control ingredients, eating out violates Amish values of simplicity and health.

Superfoods and Health Foods

Trendy health foods are generally avoided by the Amish:

  • Kale, quinoa, chia seeds, goji berries.
  • Kombucha, coconut water, protein shakes.
  • Seaweed snacks, edamame.
  • Acai bowls, green smoothies.
  • Vitamins and supplements.

The Amish stick to traditional staples and do not trust in fad superfoods.

Strict Vegan Diets

Strict veganism is rare since:

  • Eggs and dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese are permitted.
  • Hunting wild game is allowed in some communities.
  • Beef, chicken, lamb are eaten by most.
  • Leather goods are used.
  • Wool clothing is common.
  • Bees are kept for honey and wax.

While the Amish respect and care for animals, complete avoidance of animal products is unusual.

Kosher or Halal Foods

The Jewish kosher and Muslim halal dietary laws are not observed:

  • Pork is prohibited by those faiths but allowed for Amish.
  • Mixing meat and dairy is avoided in kosher/halal but not by Amish.
  • Special ritual animal slaughter is not used by the Amish.
  • Alcohol is prohibited by Muslims but not the Amish.

The Amish follow traditional Christian food practices, not Jewish or Muslim law.

Genetically Modified Foods

Genetically engineered or modified crops tend to be avoided:

  • GMO corn, soybeans, canola – less likely to be grown.
  • Processed foods with GMO ingredients are rejected.
  • Heirloom seeds are preferred for home gardening.
  • Herbicides and pesticides are rarely used.

The Amish prefer natural farming methods to genetically altered crops.

Trendy Diets

Fad diets have little appeal to the Amish:

  • Low fat or low carb diets are seen as unbalanced.
  • Intermittent fasting, 5:2 diet don’t mesh with Amish mealtimes.
  • High protein diets conflict with Amish emphasis on natural carbs.
  • Gluten-free is ignored unless medically needed.
  • Detox cleanses are viewed as unnecessary.

The Amish eating pattern satisfies without trendy diets.


The Amish diet avoids many aspects of modern eating seen to promote vice and undermine health. Restrictions on tech, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar align with Amish values of simplicity, temperance, and self-control. Sticking to traditional Biblical foods and fresh produce from the farm provides balanced nutrition. While seen by outsiders as depriving, the typical Amish diet offers harmony with faith, family, community, and land.