So you may be here because you have just completed your very first fast, or maybe you have been fasting for several months, but don’t know the best foods to break your fast. Either way, you came to the right place. For those who don’t know, intermittent fasting or time restricted eating is a period of time where you restrict yourself of eating any food or calories. Fasting windows can range anywhere from 16 hours up to a few days. Most begin intermittent fasting due to the fat loss benefits it can provide. However, there are various other benefits that intermittent fasting can provide, check out my other articles on intermittent fasting.
Most people begin fasting, and do not consider what they eat to break the fast. They just fast for an extended period, and then break the fast with whatever they want. However, you may want to reconsider what you eat to break your fast. The food that you choose to break your fast has a huge impact on the overall results, and there are some foods you want to avoid. The same rules apply while fasting, you want to avoid any beverages that may break your fast. Check out my complete list of acceptable drinks while fasting. This article is going to be discussing why you should break your fast with certain foods, and specific foods you should eat to break your fast.
Break Your Fast Like A Caveman
Fasting is ancestral in nature. It is a very natural diet that dates back to the caveman days. If you think about it they had to hunt and find their next meal, so they would be unintentionally fasting. They would not be able to break their fast with a bag of chips or a soda! They would most likely break their fast with an animal they hunted, or nuts and berries they found. So intermittent fasting is mimicking the diet of our ancestors.
I recommend breaking your fast like a caveman would. This means break your fast with foods that would’ve been available for caveman. Basically any food that lives or grows on Earth. This includes most lean meats, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits. This is hands-down the best way to break your fast.
Eat Whole Foods
I recommend breaking your fast with natural organic whole foods. This means eating foods that are minimally processed. You do not want to break your fast with processed foods like chips, soda, candy, cookies, etc. You want to stick with natural whole foods. Whole foods are basically the foods that were available back in the caveman days.
Whole Foods Include:
- Nuts and Seeds
- Beef, Poultry, and Fish
- Vegetables and Fruits
- Beans and Legumes
- Some Dairy Products
- No Processed Foods
Should I Break My Fast With Protein?
I highly recommend breaking your fast with a high protein meal. While you are fasting your body switches over into a state of catabolism. Meaning it is using your body’s own resources of fat and muscle for fuel. Most people want to burn fat while fasting, so that is a good thing. However, you do not want to lose muscle mass. Shoot for a high quality source of at-least 20-30grams of protein.
So immediately after fasting I recommend a high protein meal. This will give your body an immediate source of protein/amino acids to build muscle, and prevent muscle breakdown. The protein immediately after fasting will switch your body into an anabolic state, meaning muscle building. Good sources of protein include lean meats, nuts and seeds, and even protein powders.
What About Carbohydrates?
I recommend avoiding a high carbohydrate meal while breaking your fast. This is for a few reasons. First, most high carbohydrate meals are foods you should not be consuming anyways. Especially after you completed a fast. These foods include sugary drinks, chips, etc. The best carbohydrates to consume are fruits and vegetables. However, I recommend sticking with a high protein and fat meal to break your fast.
Nothing is wrong with carbohydrates, especially good healthy carbohydrates like vegetables and fruits. However, to break your fast I recommend a good protein and fat source, it is best to save the fruits and veggies for later. Let me explain why. Research shows that when you break your fast with a high protein meal it actually extends your fast. Meaning the mechanisms and genes responsible for fat burning and increased metabolism stay activated. However, if you break your fast with a high carb meal the fat burning and metabolic genes are turned off. So if you are fasting for improved metabolism and fat loss reasons, then it is best to save the carbohydrates for later. Break your fast with a high protein and fat meal.
Break Your Fast With Small Portions
I recommend breaking your fast with small portions. You do not want to slam a bunch of food immediately after a period of fasting. During the fasting window all digestive systems were off and resting, so you do not want to wake them up with a double cheeseburger and fries! It is best to break your fast with a small portion of protein like 4-6oz of lean meat, and maybe some nuts or berries.
It does depend on how long you have been fasting. For example, if you are doing extended fasts, you will want to break your fast very lightly. I would classify an extended fast of anything longer than 24 hours. However, some extended fast can be a 5 day water only fast. For these extended fasts, I recommend gently breaking your fasts with foods that are easily digestible and gentle on the stomach. Those who choose to do a 5 day water only fast should break their fast with a small portion of lean meat and some nuts/seeds. You do not want to have a high carbohydrate sugary meal.
Examples of Meals to Break Your Fast
I often get asked about examples of meals to break a fast. Like I stated before, I recommend sticking with small portions of whole foods to break a fast. I suggest mostly protein and fat with low carbohydrates. This will extend your fast, prevent muscle breakdown, and keep your body burning fat.
Food to Break a Fast:
- 4oz Chicken Breast and Handful of Almonds
- Piece of Salmon with Asparagus
- 2-3 Eggs with an Avocado
- 4oz of Steak
Food to Break a Longer Fast:
- Handful of Almonds
- 2 Eggs
- Raspberries or Blackberries
- Handful of Pistachios
- Bone Broth
It is important to consider what foods you choose to break your fast. Certain foods are better than others when breaking your fast. Like I stated, it is best to consume a higher protein/fat meal as opposed to a higher carbohydrate meal when breaking a fast. The high protein/fat and low carb meal will extend the fat burning effects of fasting. So you essentially can eat, but some benefits of the fast will continue. Do not break your fast with sugary drinks or processed foods. Try your best to break your fast with whole foods! You will feel much better, believe me.