Intermittent fasting is popular in part because of its flexibility (not to mention the many benefits). In addition to allowing individuals to choose the fasting window that works best with their lifestyle, it doesn’t restrict what they eat either, making it a popular strategy for weight management and supporting overall health.
However, the foods you eat immediately after ending a fast can affect you differently than if you eat them later in the day.
Why what you eat after fasting matters
After taking a longer break from eating (16 hours is ideal), it’s important to gently ease your body back into digestion. If you dive right into a large, highly processed meal, it can be a real shock to your gut, causing tummy troubles that can take a few hours to resolve.
5 foods not to eat after fasting
Let’s start by talking about what not to eat after fasting. In general, you’ll want to avoid ultra-processed foods, foods high in saturated fats, and other hard-to-digest foods.
Sugary treats and drinks. Any high-carb food will make your blood sugar spike, and if you haven’t eaten for a while, this spike will be more dramatic. You’ll probably find yourself hungry again in a few hours, too, as well as lacking in energy.
Red meat. Foods high in saturated fat, like beef and pork, are harder to digest. Breaking your fast with a thick, juicy steak might delight the taste buds, but it’ll send your digestive system into overtime and may cause digestive upset for a while.
Raw veggies. Raw, cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are excellent sources of fiber and essential nutrients—but can cause bloating and other digestive troubles if eaten too soon after breaking a fast.
Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are a good source of healthy fat, but may cause temporary discomfort due to the fact that they’re harder to digest. Like raw veggies, it’s best to wait a few hours after you break your fast to eat a lot of nuts and seeds.
Legumes. Another food you might want to save for your second meal of the day. Legumes are a good source of protein, complex carbs, and fiber, but those with sensitive stomachs might have trouble digesting them right after a fast.
Tip: It may be tempting to overindulge when breaking a fast, especially if you’re hungry. Oftentimes we see this as a reward for fasting in the first place. Try to avoid this line of thinking, though. Overindulging after a fast can not only cause digestive upset, but also lessen—or even negate—some of the benefits you gained by fasting.
7 foods to eat after fasting
Each person is different and each body’s response to breaking a fast will vary, but a good rule of thumb is to start with easy-to-digest and rehydrating foods.
Bone broth. One of the best macronutrients to consume after a fast is protein, and you’ll find plenty of that in an easy-to-digest form in bone broth. It’ll also help you rehydrate and replenish your electrolytes.
Fish. Fish is easier to digest than most other animal-based proteins. It may seem strange to chow down on fish for a late breakfast or early lunch, but it’s actually a great way to ease your body back into digestion mode—and comes with lots of omega-3s and other important nutrients to fuel your body the right way.
Whole fruit. Fruits are high in water content and contain carbs that are easy to digest. Whole fruits with skin on have a good amount of fiber too, which helps support normal, healthy blood sugar levels. Berries, melons, and bananas are especially good for breaking your fast because they are high in water, fiber, and vitamins.
Avocados. Most high-fat and high-fiber foods aren’t ideal right after fasting, but avocados are the exception to the rule. In addition to unsaturated fat and dietary fiber, avocados also contain a high amount of nutrients—potassium, magnesium, several vitamins—all good things to resupply your body with after breaking a fast.
Yogurt. Fermented foods like Greek yogurt are a natural source of probiotics, the good kind of bacteria that supports the gut microbiome. Probiotic-rich foods can help get things moving again, making them a smart choice when breaking your fast.
Eggs. Eggs are a complete source of protein (meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids), and contain several essential vitamins and minerals. Starting your day with eggs ensures you’re getting the nutrients your body needs most after a long fast.
Cooked green veggies. While raw veggies can cause digestive issues right after a fast, cooked veggies are one of the best foods to eat after fasting. The cooking process breaks down the cellulose, making them easier to digest without losing the vitamins and minerals.
Tip: Remember, it’s important to hydrate regularly, both while you’re fasting and during your eating window, especially right after breaking your fast. If at any time you need a little bit of a boost, Unimate is always a great option because it supports mental stamina, focus, and satiety without breaking your fast. If you need more variety, check out these drinks that will and won’t break your fast.
An important way to improve your intermittent fasting results
Intermittent fasting can take a while to get right, and knowing which foods to eat and which to avoid at the end of your fast is one of the tricks that will help you succeed. For more intermittent fasting help, visit ufeelgreat.com.