What to eat after fasting

If you aren't sure what to eat after fasting, this article will help you figure it out.

A lady eating a plate of pasta and vegetables after fasting

Key takeaways:

  • What to eat after fasting will depend on the reason for your fast, the duration of the fast, and your body system.
  • The best types of food to eat after fasting should include soups, soft fruits, vegetables, and smoothies.
  • In order to get the most out of your fast, avoid some common fasting mistakes, such as overeating after fasting, breaking a fast with junk foods, and choosing the wrong fasting plan.

There are no "standardized" best foods to eat after fasting. However, some experts recommend that people break their fast with a Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet includes foods like whole grains, seafood, fruits, and vegetables, which are all healthy foods a person can eat after fasting.

One of the major reasons people fast is to restrict the body's ability to get energy from food. This forces the body to switch to using stored fats and ketones (which the liver produces when it breaks down fat) to generate energy.

After the fasting period, the body switches back to carbohydrates for fuel as the body’s glucose level increases. So, what is consumed at that point matters, too, depending on the fasting goals. According to a 2019 study, eating more refined carbs may contribute to obesity. Therefore, it may be best to eat fewer refined carbs after fasting if you aim to achieve weight loss

Also, some people's bodies find it difficult to break down foods high in sugar, fats, or fiber after a fast, leading to bloating, indigestion, and general discomfort. Therefore, after hours of fasting, it would be best to eat small amounts of foods that are easy to digest. 

What to eat after fasting include:

  • Soups: Soups are great food options to consume after a fast. Try soups that contain easily digestible carbs and proteins, like tofu, lentils, and pasta, after your fast.
  • Dried and soft fruits: After fasting, you can go for soft fruits like mango, blackberries, and bananas and dried fruits like dates, which are rich in nutrients.
  • Vegetables: Vegetables are great food options for breaking a fast. You can choose soft vegetables with less fiber, such as tomatoes, asparagus, cucumber, and soft white potatoes, after your fast.
  • Smoothies: Blended drinks often contain less fiber than raw fruits and whole vegetables. Therefore, smoothies may be good for breaking a fast.
  • Lean proteins: You can start your post-fasting meals with soft lean proteins like fish, shellfish, and lentils. Plain yogurt is also a healthy protein choice that can help you stay fuller after fasting.

Foods to avoid after fasting

Here are some examples of foods you may want to avoid after fasting:

  • Cruciferous vegetables: When breaking a fast, you might want to avoid cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage if you often have stomach or digestive problems. Cruciferous vegetables are major sources of dietary sulfur, and according to a study, exposure to sulfites induced some adverse clinical effects, such as abdominal pain and diarrhea, in some consumers.
  • Refined carbohydrates: Meals that contain highly refined carbs may not be the best foods to eat after fasting. Eating foods that contain high refined sugars or carbs with low protein can cause a spike in blood sugar and increase hunger pangs, causing you to consume more foods later.
  • Processed protein foods: It might also help to avoid processed protein foods, e.g., ham, sausage, and pepperoni, after fasting, as studies show that processed protein is associated with increased systemic inflammation, higher fasting insulin, and HbA1c. They may not be ideal foods to eat after fasting.
  • Alcohol: It is best to avoid alcohol after fasting. Excess alcohol consumption can lead to alcoholic ketoacidosis, a metabolic problem that can happen when you drink a lot and don't eat enough. In this condition, alcohol turns into acid in the body. Alcoholic ketoacidosis is characterized by a buildup of ketones in the body and extremely low blood sugar levels.

There is no consensus on foods to avoid after a fast. This will typically depend on an individual's body system.

5 Common fasting mistakes to avoid

It is important to do fasting the right way, regardless of the reason behind the fast.

Here are some common fasting mistakes to avoid:

1. Overeating after a fast

Overeating after a fast is easy because, at that point, you are famished and feeling ravenous. However, overeating would cause you to accumulate excess calories, which is not what your body needs.

Start with eating light foods like fruits and vegetables and slowly ease into the heavier foods. You can also dish food on a small plate and eat at a slower pace to gain better control over the amount of food you consume. 

2. Choosing the wrong fast plan

There are different types of fasting, such as complete fasting, partial fasting, nutrient restriction, calorie restriction, and seasonal fasting. 

Before starting a fast, it is important to review the reason for the fast. Are you fasting to lose weight? In that case, a calorie restriction might work better for you than a nutrient restriction. Avoid the mistake of choosing the wrong type of fasting.

3. Fasting when you are not meant to

Fasting is not advisable for some people. For instance, it is not ideal for pregnant women or nursing mothers to fast because they need enough nutrients for themselves and their babies.

Fasting may also not be ideal for:

  • People doing intensive training
  • People with a history of eating disorders
  • People who have type 2 diabetes
  • People who are on medication that requires eating before taking them
  • People with cancer
  • People with a weak immune system
  • Children
  • Older adults and people with chronic health conditions that require that they don’t go without food

Unless your doctor recommends fasting, it is best to avoid it. You still need your healthcare team to keep an eye on you while taking it, even when a doctor recommends it.

4. Eating junk during your fast break

A partial fast permits you to eat selected foods. Ensure that the foods you choose to eat are not high-calorie junk. Junk foods are unhealthy and should not be consumed before, during, or after your fast. 

Your fast-break period is when you should consume the right nutrients to power up your fast. Eat whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and proteins to stock up on nutrients and help curb hunger.

5. Not drinking water

Up to 60% of the body is composed of water, so you need to consume water to stay hydrated even when fasting. 

Another great source of water is fruit. For a fasting session that permits taking fruits, choose fruits that contain enough water, such as watermelon.

During intermittent fasting, resist the urge to reach out for coffee when you feel like having a drink. Coffee and other caffeinated drinks are diuretics. This means they help the kidneys get rid of water and urine from the body (in the form of urine). Increased urination drains more water from the body, leading to dehydration.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it okay to eat rice after fasting?

It is not bad to eat rice after fasting. But keep in mind that brown rice is considered a healthier option than white rice as it contains more nutrients and fiber. Brown rice also has a lower glycemic index, which means it does not spike sugar levels as fast as white rice and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.

What are the best foods to eat after fasting for weight loss?

If your fasting goal is to lose weight, it is important that you break your fast with foods that are not calorie-dense but are instead highly nutritious. Some of the best foods to eat after fasting to promote weight loss include fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat, and eggs.