If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re gearing up for your big holiday feast with a big fast. Whether your fast lasts a few hours or a few days, you’re already being deliberate about your eating choices, and that’s commendable. You’re making a declaration that food serves you, not the other way around.
Now, it’s time for some tough choices: How are you going to break your fast? You’re probably anxiously awaiting your Thanksgiving feast; however, you also know you want to be kind to your body, and break your fast with a little tenderness and care. Our recommendation? Choose a Fast-Breaker meal that’s gentle on your stomach and kind to your metabolism.
Here are the key things to look out for in Fast-Breaker foods.
What Foods Should You Avoid?
#1. Processed, High-Glycemic Carbs
Look for foods that are whole or minimally-processed. As you’re exiting a fast, consider your blood sugar, and avoid big blood-sugar spikes. Your body can be extra sensitive to carbohydrates immediately following a fast, so excessive added sugars or processed carbohydrates could send your insulin spiking through the roof.
Highly-processed and glycemic carbohydrates, such as those found in pastries, crackers, pastas, chips, and candy, provide minimal health benefits, and can trigger events in our bodies that may eventually lead to chronic disease. These types of foods can lead to post-prandial spikes in blood sugar and lipids, which have been shown to elevate markers of disease such as oxidative stress and inflammation, as well as increase your risk for heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
You’ll probably want to avoid high-lactose dairy immediately following a fast. This includes milk, yogurt, and ice cream. Lactose is already difficult for a lot of people to digest, especially with aging, and may be more troublesome following a longer fast. So, start with dairy-free products, or at least low-lactose dairy such as butter, hard cheeses, and lactose-free milk.
#3. Cruciferous Vegetables
Health-food staples like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts may actually make you unnecessarily uncomfortable immediately following a fast. These veggies contain plenty of fiber, plus a trisaccharide called raffinose that humans have difficulty digesting. Our small intestines lack the a-Gal enzyme needed to break it down, so all that vegetable matter ends up in the large intestine where it ferments. This can cause gas and bloating, which might be especially uncomfortable following a fast. Raw cruciferous vegetables will be especially difficult to digest, so consider steaming or sautéing the veggies first, which may be a little easier on your gut.
Now, fermentation of these veggies in the large intestine can ultimately promote a healthy microflora, so once you’ve returned to your normal diet, they should be back on the menu. Just make sure to re-introduce slowly to avoid gas and bloating.
What Foods Should You Eat?
Poultry, fish, tofu, and tempeh are both excellent Fast-Breaker foods. Having a small portion of protein at your first meal can be a good option because it provides essential amino acids to help rebuild and repair the body. When you fast, growth pathways such as IGF-1 and mTOR are suppressed. Amino acids stimulate both of these, so once you reintroduce amino acids from protein sources post-fast, you can then activate this beneficial growth period.
Just be careful not to overdo it! Your stomach will have decreased in size over the course of your fast, so you’ll want to make sure you don’t eat so much food that you stretch out your stomach. This can be very uncomfortable.
Aim for dark leafy greens and less-starchy vegetables, and cook them in healthy fats (avocado oil, grass-fed butter, etc). You’re bound to to be in ketosis after a longer fast, so these fats will serve as fuel, and the sautéing will break down the structural elements of the vegetables, making them easier to digest.
Although it has plenty of fiber, an avocado also has plenty of fat for your fat-adapted body to dig into following your fast. Go easy on the avocado so you don’t overload yourself on fiber, but incorporating it is great way to get healthy fats and keep yourself feeling full and energized.
#4. Bone Broth and Miso Soup
Bone broth can be a tasty addition to incorporate on your first day breaking the fast. Bone broth contains numerous vitamins and minerals, as well as amino acids and other components that can help the body and gut function optimally post-fast. Bone broth contains the essential nutrients calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and sodium, as well as gelatin, which has been shown to improve intestinal permeability and provide anti-inflammatory effects.
A vegan or vegetarian alternative to bone broth would be miso soup, which has similar benefits to bone broth and, as a fermented food, has the added bonus of containing probiotics.
Bonus: Staying Hydrated
You know your body needs water, but did you know it also needs electrolytes to stay hydrated and function properly? Sodium, calcium, zinc, and magnesium are electrolytes our bodies rely on for everything from muscle contractions (including heart beats) to blood clotting and nerve function. Signs and symptoms that electrolytes are low include: headaches, muscle cramps, lightheadedness, and fatigue.
A meal of either sautéed vegetables with some protein or bone broth/miso soup with vegetables and protein are two great ways to ease your body back into eating — and don’t forget to hydrate properly, both throughout and after a fast!
Lastly, there’s one more thing you can do to help your digestive system get back into the food groove: Chew, chew, chew. The act of chewing food activates enzymes in your mouth that begin breaking down your food. So, do your GI tract a favor, and get some of the digesting done before that food even enters your stomach.
The longer you fast, the longer you’ll want to take it easy. Experts in the field generally recommend starting at about 500 kcal or 50% of your normal intake and working your way up from there.
The further out you get from your fast, the more you can relax these rules and return to your diet of choice — whether its keto, paleo, low-carb, Mediterranean, vegan, or low-fat. Your diet choices are up to you, but however you eat, it’s smart to ease back into post-fast feeding with easier-to-digest foods.
Def keep the sautéed veggies and you could change the second option to bone broth or veggie/chicken bullion based soup with veggies and protein.
- Will It Break My Fast? - January 17, 2023
- Meet the New Zero: Fasting, but Better - January 3, 2023
- 4 Tips for Mindful Holiday Eating - December 5, 2022
Can I gave a big glass of wine? Can I break my fast with alcohol safely?
Good question, but I wonder how that’s going to affect your stomach.
It will spike sugar levels. So I’d say no.
I’ve read no regarding alcohol immediately following a fast, but hopefully an expert will weigh in. I can say for certain I got pretty snockered after drinking following a 60 hour fast. I’m glad I Ubered that night.
I broke a fast once with a glass of wine. I felt awful for a full day after. Wine is keto friendly. But alcohol dose cause your cortisol levels to spike. I’d recommend going easy on the alcohol at first. But you can always try a little and see how it effects you.
How is wine Keto friendly when it’s pure sugar? I’d say no to alcohol to break a fast.
Julia, wine is NOT pure sugar… An average glass of red wine is 125 calories, 4g carbs, of which 1g is sugar.
I know this is a late reply but breaking ones fast with alcohol is not wise. Alcohol is considered an irritant to the body, it will metabolize it before anything else there by kicking you out of Ketosis. Not to mention; all the hard work put into your fast, do You really want all your efforts to be in vein?
I lasted until 11:30am today and broke my fast with a Almond Maca and cinnamon smoothie. For anyone interested in the recipe: http://wallflowerkitchen.com/hormone-balancing-almond-maca-cinnamon-smoothie/
Great thanks for this– doing it after my 48 hour fast
Beer for me, but this was my question as well.
Thanks for the blog post! I’ll be breaking my fast tonight with a salmon salad 🙂 I’m excited about that!
I’m gonna have a salad, bacon and egg, a green veggie, and a glass of wine to celebrate my longest fast to date ~68 hours.
I feel really good at around 62 hours in. This gives me confidence to go longer.
Today was my longest fast too at 65 hours! I just was going crazy at the end after I tortured myself by smelling cookies. I did have a salad though.
I started my 72 hour fast at 7:45 on Sunday and I have been fine up until this morning. I woke up with a terrible headache.
Does anyone else workout on a long fast like this?
My 72 hr fast will be over in a 2 hours. Did fine but woke up this morning feeling light headed and weak in the knees. But after about 1/2 mile walking I felt better but did not push the workout. FWIW I’m 65.
No way could I work out
You need electrolytes, especially if you’re working out. Google snake juice recipe. I pound that stuff back and fly through 5 day fasts. I would recommend a bowl of broth (1 bullion cube) with potassium chloride post workout. But only one billion cube, I had 3 in an evening once and had to retire to the toilet for a good portion of the night.
I’m starting my snake juice fast tonight for 72 hours 💃🏼💃🏼Get that fat in ya!
During my first 72hr fast b4 the feast I did do my daily workout (light swimming, yoga with resistance bands) and felt wonderful.
After 41 consecutive intermittent fasting days of 20:4, I’ve competed my first 72hr water fast, dropping the 2kg I most wanted and giving my gut, liver & kidneys a much needed break. My fasting glucose dropped from a normal 5.2 to a low 3.6. During the 3 fasting days I had an abundance of energy, caught up with 3 deep sleep nights, felt perfectly healthy. I’m 56yrs young.
Typo: “competed” = completed.
I have fasted for 120 and exercised at cardio level for two of those days and felt great. Go for it! I’m 57
I usually work out 5-6 days a week but during my 6 days of fasting I cut down to 3 days. I felt good duet the fast after 3 days and had a good amount of energy to workout the last 4 days but a kept the fluids in/ Bone broth and water water. Slowly coming off with soft vegetables cooked in bone and small green salad. Good luck.
Nice job everyone that participated!
I’m still going strong. I did have a kombucha late yesterday afternoon, but otherwise water and caffeine only since Sunday evening. 🙂
I’m considering having a small salad shortly so I can ease my digestive system back into play before an evening meal tonight.
I started my Fast 11:30 Sunday until 11:30 today. I broke the Fast with a spinach salad with no dressing. Will eat grilled chicken and vegetables early evening. Feeling great!
I am going with eggs over easy with a whole avocado sliced on top with hot sauce.
There is a significant amount of misinformation above. Anyone who advises others to consume animal products now days will eventually feel as great about themselves as the doctors who advised their patients and the public to smoke cigarettes in the 1950s. With all of the easily accessible and free medical studies (See NutritionFacts.org to get the facts) that aren’t funded by animal product industries showing there is only harm to be had by, and nothing healthy about, consuming animal flesh, liquid flesh (milk that contains morphine and turns into a stronger opiate once processes into cheese) or embryos (eggs), there’s no reason to negate our health and well being for a few moments of mouth pleasure. I understand this fasting app doesn’t want alienate users, but if they are going to post information on nutrition and health, please make sure it’s not based a decade or more old report that was bought and paid for by the animal product industry that’s been recently disproven.
Couldn’t disagree more. I’m 69 and have been all meat and no barbs fir over 30 years. The no meat prophets are wrong about it. BTW I lift weighs and run sprints during The week. Blood work is perfect and at 5’9” and 163 I feel and move like I’m in my 20’s. People do not need carbs of any kind to survive. I’m not against vegetarians or those who eat very little animal protein. Happy thanksgiving.
Err make that carbs not barbs!
Awesome. What do your blood pressure, blood glucose HDL/LDL and triglyceride levels look like if you don’t mind?
If you want your 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, non-alcoholic cirrhosis, or any other of a myriad of medical issues the sad diet as well as a vegetarian diet will cause be my guest. But keep your pseudo science veggie bullshit to yourself. Oh yes by the way, Have a nice day.
Thank God somebody pointed that out! Totally agree same thing when doctors in the 50’s advising smoking was good for you. Intermittent fasting on a plant base diet is phenomenal. Thank you for your post.
A significant amount of misinformation??
What a load of codswallop, F.
Anyone who doesn’t eat animal products ‘now days’ is free to do so, but equating consuming animal products with cigarette smoking sounds quite desperate!
It is great to observe the improvements in health that come with fasting. NutritionFacts.org’s “plant-based diet facts” are lop-sided.
Give me Zero’s up to date advice any day ♥︎
Yes, thank you for pointing this out as that suggestion seemed surprising to see to me, as well. Breaking a fast with animal protein/fat sounds awful and potentially counter productive. I think Longo has discussed the benefits that can be had during post-fast refeeding as including some protein (and I believe he is generally a fan of fish like salmon), but I prefer to get my amino acids from non-animal sources that don’t come packaged with all the adverse stuff you get consuming animal products (including “grass fed,” antibiotic free, pasture raised, etc. and self-hunted)–especially post fast. Vegan athlete for decades here.
I agree at least in that breaking a fast with animal protein and fat when they are high in elements which strongly increase stuff we are trying to reduce during fasting (IGF-1, cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammatory and dysbiotic gut bacteria strains). It just seems extremely counterintuitive to introduce foods which increase these things we are fasting to reduce or avoid which are contributing to the disease states in the first place.
Now the gelatin studies are interesting, but the first one is an animal model, and secondly the two use gelatin tannate which involves binding of gelatin to a form of tannic acid. Its not said whether these bone broths people are making has the same benefits. Furthermore there is no word here on how these affect the gut microbiome. Animal foods promote dysbiosis and inflammatory TMAO formation, there is no doubt about it. It takes fiber-rich diet to promote good gut flora which produce large quantities of short chain fatty acids that nourish the endothelium and work as powerful anti-inflammatoriea and force out TMAO-producing and dysbiotic bacteria strains.
On a side note there is an interesting case study published in the BMJ in 2015 which involves a woman who had a type of low grade lymphoma which was sent into remission on a 21 day water fast followed by a plant based diet. Drs. Joel Fuhrman and Neal Barnard authored a book in the 90s which spoke to the benefits of fasting wherein they had CVD patients fast for extended periods to reverse heart disease, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis, all while following a whole food plant based diet. The science is not as up to date as what we have now, but it’s pretty clear we should definitely be eating more plants and less animals following a fast and in general.
I plan to break my fast with some almonds and some miso soup.
I ended a 48 hour fast last night with dinner of sautéed kale, avocado, and a chicken “patty”. It was my longest fast to date and I felt great while fasting. Water only. The moment I broke it I felt exhausted. And my ketone readings are still in the “8” range.
I’d like to go longer but would love hearing from those who do 48-72 or longer on any concerns.
Has anyone else been drinking Coca-Cola-Zero during their fast? I was told it’s fine and helps actually fast longer without te headaches.
The aspartame in the Coke Zero is toxic to your good gut bacteria as shown in a couple recent studies. If there is a Stevia alternative, that would likely be a better option, although going without soda is probably even better. 😉
Fasting can be beneficial for any person as it involves the necessary purification of the soul and experience a healthy body fast, and it is important that it is fasted as long as it is intended and celebrated.
I currently do a variety of fasts, from 72 hours to 10 days. My fasts are water only with electrolytes added in. I work out 3 – 4 days a week and function normally throughout the day each day. I supplement while fasting, including activated charcoal, which prevents adverse effects from detoxing during my fasts. I feel amazing and will continue doing extended fasts until my body is completely healed and whole. Once that is done, I will continue living a fasted lifestyle.
I break my fasts with bone broth, followed by eggs and avocado, then a small meal. My current regiment is to fast for 3 days and eat for 1day. 3:1 cycles. During these I take in the bone broth, eggs and avocado together, then eat regularly after that until I’m comfortably full.
I only started fasting yesterday !
We have some serious professionals on here, well done everyone. 🙌🏽
May I ask … black coffee, of which I usually have 2 in the morning when I wake before exercise.
Is this ok ?
Water with Fresh Lemon and ginger ? To sip throughout the day
Is this ok ?
Thank you in advance 🙏🏽
According to Dr Jason Fung when initially starting a fasting regimen black coffee without creamer or sweetener is preferred but if yoy need some help weaning off the additives then you could also try bullet coffee which is coffee with butter. Same goes for water. Better to drink plain water. Or you could do unsweetened ice teas. Dr Fung has videos on fasting on YouTube. I’ve watched them all when I first began fasting this past Aug. since then I’ve lost 50lbs and reversed my new diagnosis of T2DM and hypertension. My doctor is ecstatic at my progress as he was the one who encouraged me to fast. Good luck in your fasting journey I wish you all the best.
Does anyone know whether nutritional yeast like a engevita tea will count as breaking a fast?
I always break my fast early morning with A big bowl of oats, with a banana, and chocolate nesquik mix in it. Is this good? Or Ill just cut out the nesquik?
Would it be ideal to break a fast with a protein shake? The only ingredients are literally one banana and 32g’s of high quality whey.
I usually have a banana in porridge / oatmeal is this ok do you think?
I’ve been doing 20:4 IF for a couple months with a few longer fasts up to 44 hours. Had some rumbling stomach issues when breaking my fast for a while. I’ve been recommended 1 cup to 1-1/2 cups of kettle & Fire bone broth, a couple organic rice cakes and a little lean protein, I’ve been using tuna. It’s worked great, good luck!