There is a difference in giving God thanks for our meals and asking God to bless our meals.
Blessing Food in the Bible
In the New Testament, there are only two accounts of food being blessed before a meal.
The first account is when Jesus feeds 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish (John 6:11). The second account is when Jesus institutes Communion at the last supper (Matthew 26:26).
Neither of these accounts are your typical meals.
Giving Thanks for Food in the Bible
Apart from the previously mentioned accounts, the only other New Testament account that we have of food being prayed over is when the Apostle Paul began a meal by giving God thanks in front of everybody (Acts 27:35).
We do not know if Paul prayed regularly before every meal or if it was something he did only over this specific meal. Nevertheless, Paul didn’t pray and ask for a blessing over the meal, but he simply thanked God for providing the meal.
When to Bless Our Food
The only time that it is necessary to bless a meal, is when we need the meal to serve an abnormal function.
If we are in a situation where food is scarce and we need a meal to sustain us longer than normal, then we should ask God to bless our food.
If we are sharing a meal where there could be hostility with the people present, perhaps an upcoming family/holiday dinner, then we could pray for a blessing that unity would be brought out of the meal.
However, most of the time, we shouldn’t ask God for a blessing over our meals.
A Prayer of Thanksgiving
Does it really make sense to eat jelly-filled donuts or a greasy slice of pizza and ask God to bless the meal? I’m not saying that it’s not okay to eat these foods, but I believe that a simple prayer of thanksgiving will suffice.
Most of the time we should be like the Apostle Paul – we should simply pray and thank God for our meals without praying for Him to “bless them so that they can nourish our bodies.”