Some pretty remarkable things happen inside your body when you fast, including cellular renewal, detoxification and positive changes to your gut microbiome. Digestion is put on hold during a fast, and resources go towards functions such as tissue repair and hormone optimization.
Intermittent fasting is very easy to do, and most people actually report feeling better and having more energy during their fast. You already fast every day while you sleep. Intermittent fasting simply extends that fast a little bit longer.
For people new to intermittent fasting, the 16/8 method is recommended. In this eating pattern, you consume all your calories between noon and 8PM.
One of the most common questions about intermittent fasting is what’s the best way to break your fast? As covered below, you’ll want to refuel with nutrient dense foods and beverages that are easy to digest. Additionally, planning your meals ahead of time and practicing “mindful eating” can help prevent you from overeating.
Best Foods to Break a Fast
Not surprisingly, you can expect to feel pretty hungry when it’s time to break your fast. This is why it’s best to focus on eating filling and satiating whole foods during your eating window — especially those that provide protein, healthy fats and fiber.
Some of the best foods to have immediately after breaking a fast include:
- Raw fruits and vegetables
- Bone broth
- Fermented foods such as coconut yogurt (opt for unsweetened) and sauerkraut
- Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale.
- Cooked vegetables including cooked root vegetables like squash
- Vegetable soups
- Heathy fats like coconut oil, olive oil and avocado
The foods listed above are easy to digest, plus they are a great source of minerals and electrolytes. Additional foods are listed below, although these may be better suited for your second or third meal, due to them being a bit tougher to digest:
- Whole grains and beans (soaked/sprouted is best for improving digestion)
- Nuts and seeds such as chia, flax, hemp, and almonds
- Pasture raised eggs
- Grass-fed or pasture-raised meat and poultry
- Wild-caught fish
Intermittent Fasting and Keto
If you’re doing intermittent fasting and the ketogenic diet simultaneously, you’ll want to keep your carb intake very low. This means eating plenty of healthy fats, along with protein and non-starchy vegetables. Ketogenic dieting and intermittent fasting work very well together because fasting helps you get into ketosis, allowing you to burn fat for energy.
Timing of Eating
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how often you should eat during your eating window. In order to keep your hunger in check and to consume enough calories, a good rule of thumb is to eat frequently, about every 2-4 hours, although this is highly individual and varies from person to person.
What Not to Do When Breaking A Fast
If you find that you’re tempted to over-eat during your fasting window, especially if you’re filling up on high-calorie processed foods, then take a step back and make a plan.
Try planning your meals ahead of time by meal-prepping in bulk a couple times per week, and also stocking your fridge with your favorite healthy meals. This way you don’t go overboard once you break your fast.
Fasting can take some time to get used to and finding your “sweet spot” in terms of the length of your fasts may require some trial and error. If you find that your hunger and cravings are out of control after fasting, consider shortening the amount of time you fast.
Above all else, listen to your body and make adjustments based on how you’re feeling. Practice mindful eating by paying close attention to sensations of hunger and fullness. Eat slowly, don’t eat while distracted, and chew your food thoroughly.