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 as well as your body system.
  • The best types of food to eat after fasting should include soups, soft fruits, vegetables, and smoothies.
  • In order to gain the best out of your fast, you should avoid some common fasting mistakes, such as overeating after fasting, using junk to break your fast, and choosing the wrong fasting plan.

Different kinds of fasting, such as intermittent fasting, have gained popularity over recent years. While some kinds of fasting restrict all types of food, others only limit certain types of food. After hours of fasting, you may be stuck figuring out the best meal for your body's recovery and for your digestive system.

There are no conclusive 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. These Mediterranean foods are examples of healthy foods to eat after fasting.

There are many reasons people fast. Yet, the main point is to restrict the body from getting energy from food. This forces the body to switch to using stored fats and ketones, which are chemicals made by the liver when it breaks down fat.

When you start eating again after fasting, your body switches back to carbohydrates for fuel as your body’s glucose level increases. So, what you eat when breaking a fast may matter depending on your body system and the aim of your fast.

According to a 2019 study, eating more refined carbs may contribute to obesity. Therefore, it may be best to eat fewer refined carbs after your 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: 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 date, which is 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 potato after your fast.
  • Smoothies: Blended drinks often contain less fiber than raw fruits and whole vegetables. Therefore, taking smoothies may be the best food option 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.

Foods to avoid after a fast

It is best to avoid certain foods like cruciferous vegetables and alcohol after fasting

There is no consensus on foods to avoid after a fast, but this will also depend on your body system. 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 has reportedly induced some adverse clinical effects such as abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Also, meals that contain highly refined carbs may not be the best foods for you to eat after fasting. Eating foods that contain high refined sugars or carbs with low protein can cause a spike in your blood sugar and increase hunger pangs, causing you to consume more foods later on. So, it will be best to avoid those sugars.

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.

It is also important to avoid alcohol when coming out of a fast. When you drink a lot of alcohol, you can get alcoholic ketoacidosis, which is 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. It is also marked by a buildup of ketones in the body and a blood sugar level that is very low.

5 Common fasting mistakes you should avoid

If you must fast for any reason, you should do it right. Here are some common fasting mistakes people make that you should avoid.

1.Overeating after a fast

Overeating after a fast is easy because, at that point, you are famished and feeling ravenous. However, it would be best not to fall for that temptation. 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. It might also help to dish food with a small plate and eat at a slower pace so that you can better control the amount of food you consume. 

2.You chose the wrong fast plan

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

Before you start a fast, you must review why you are fasting. Are you fasting to lose weight? Then calorie restriction might work better for you than nutrient restriction. Some people make the mistake of choosing the wrong type of fasting.

3.Fasting when you are not meant to

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Fasting is not advisable for some people, and if you belong to those categories of people that should not fast, you should not make the mistake of fasting.

For instance, pregnant women or nursing mothers should not fast because they need to eat for two (themselves and their babies).

Other people that should not fast include:

  • People doing intensive training
  • People with a history of eating disorders
  • People that have diabetes
  • People who are on medication that requires eating before taking them
  • People with cancer
  • People with a weak immune system
  • Children
  • The elderly 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. Even when recommended by a doctor, you still need your healthcare team to monitor you while on 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.You forget about water

Your fasting plan should include water because water is essential for cell function. Up to 60% of the body is composed of water, so you need to consume water to stay hydrated. 

Another great source of water is fruit. If your fasting permits taking fruits, then, by all means, choose fruits that contain enough water, such as watermelon and water.

If you are doing 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.