The best foods to break a fast will vary according to your health goals. Consequently, I am giving you a list of 15 foods you can consume to break a fast and explaining a little bit about how it will help.
If you would like some further guidance regarding how to break your fast, read my post What to Eat to Break a Fast, where I explain how to pick the most nutrient-dense foods that will optimize your success.
Moreover, I have a whole post about What to Eat After a 24-Hour Fast.
General Guidelines for Breaking a Fast
When deciding on the best foods to break a fast, remember that there are very few black-and-white answers in the world of health in nutrition. Forget about rules and find what works for you.
It is wise to take it slowly when you are ready to reintroduce foods after a fast. A good rule of thumb is that the reintroduction phase should last half as long as the fasting phase. Moreover, don’t break your fast by combining fats and carbs. Mixing fats with carbs may give you a double insulin spike, and your body is more sensitive to insulin after a fast.
If you fast for less than 24 hours, you don’t need to be too concerned about consuming the best foods to break a fast. Instead, focus on fueling your body with nutrient-dense foods.
Digestive Function After Fasting
Fasting for over 36 hours will start decreasing your digestive enzyme production. Furthermore, the mucus lining that protects your stomach may be diminished. This means consuming the wrong foods to break a fast may cause discomfort. You may experience the following:
- Gas pain
Don’t worry! You can avoid these symptoms when you break your fast wisely. Moreover, a bonus of not having to digest during your fast is that your body directs all its energy to the healing and repair process. You will feel more energetic and more focused.
Some More Tips on Breaking a Fast
When you are just starting to eat again, start with fewer foods and gradually introduce more as you watch your body for reactions. Chew your food well and eat smaller meals (500 calories or less). Do not break your fast with junk food. Again, avoid combining fats with carbs on your first meal, which would cause a double insulin spike.
Breaking a Fast for Women
Women are more sensitive to cortisol than men (read Intermittent Fasting for Women: A Definitive Guide for more info). Fasting increases your cortisol level. Cortisol helps burn more fat when you fast. However, if your cortisol level is still high after you start eating again, it may cause you to store fat instead. There are a few things you can do before you break a fast to reduce your cortisol level:
- Have a glass of water with Himalayan salt (1 or 2 tsp).
- Break your fast with a cup of bone broth.
- Implement some lifestyle practices to reduce stress.
- Drink a cup of tea with cinnamon an hour or so before breaking fast. It will help prepare your cells for receiving food.
15 Best Foods to Break a Fast
When you decide what are the best foods to break a fast, remember to favor nutritious and easy-to-digest foods when you break a fast. Here are my top 15 recommendations:
Healthy fats are a good choice when it comes to breaking your fast. Fasting helps you achieve ketosis. When you break your fast with healthy fats, you maintain ketosis and keep your body in fat-burning mode.
2. Coconut Oil or MCT Oil
A fast makes you more insulin sensitive, so it’s a good idea to break your fast with fat first, particularly if your goal is weight loss. Moreover, coconut oil and MCT oil contain caprylic, capric, and caproic acid that bypasses the liver and are utilized fast. This quick fat infusion will prime your body to use more fat for fuel. It will also help you feel great, and you might decide to fast longer. Check out this raw coconut oil. You will get a $50 gift card with my code.
3. Lean Protein
Combining lean protein with some greens will constitute a good first meal. Make sure you keep your portions small and consume less than 500 calories. Or, you could choose to eat a pastured egg.
4. Nut Butter or Nuts
Nuts may be hard to digest after a fast. However, nut butter is easier to digest and provides a good source of healthy fats. Try breaking your fat with a tablespoon of almond butter. Or, better yet, make a salad with a nut butter-based dressing. Or, if you prefer, have a handful of nuts. My favorite nuts to break a fast are macadamia nuts, pistachios, and almonds.
5. Cooked Cruciferous Vegetables
Cooked vegetables tend to be easier to digest. Cruciferous vegetables are a powerhouse of nutrients. Try consuming 3 cups of cruciferous vegetables each day. Eating 2 cups of cooked cruciferous vegetables and some healthy fat will replenish your body with these essential nutrients when you break a fast.
6. Green Juices
Green juices provide your body with an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes without your body having to break down the fiber. Since your body is more insulin sensitive after a fast, make sure your juice is not too sweet, but freshly made green juices may be an excellent way to break your fast.
7. Bone Broth
Bone broth is easy to digest and filling. It is rich in calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It contains collagen and the amino acids your body will use to repair itself further. The amino acid glutamine found in bone broth may help heal your gut. A 2017 study found that glutamine supplementation contributed to healing the intestinal barrier of the subjects. Fasting breaks down the mucosal layer of your gut a little. Bone broth will help repair it. This helps prepare your gut to absorb the nutrients from your foods better. Adding apple cider vinegar to your bone broth will also increase mineral uptake. That’s why most bone broth recipes call for apple cider vinegar.
8. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are essential to consume to provide your body with the nutrients it needs. It’s a good practice to consume 3 cups of leafy greens daily. They also constitute a perfect food to break a fast. Make a salad with sprouted greens and lettuce with healthy fats like avocado and homemade dressing to break your fast.
Soups made from bone broth will provide you with all the benefits of bone broth and the added nutrition from other foods on this list. Make soup using cruciferous vegetables and some lean protein, for example.
Eating fruits to break a fast is an excellent option for athletes who want to get back into muscle-building mode. Melons, in particular, are rich in electrolytes and water. They promote healthy digestion and provide a boost of nutrition.
Bananas are another preferred option for athletes. They are easy to digest and nutritious. Moreover, they contain some key nutrients to modulate your insulin response.
12. Fermented Foods
Since fasting will decrease your digestive enzyme production, consuming fermented foods is a good idea to break your fast. An excellent option would be to combine a tablespoon of fermented sauerkraut with avocado. Since some people don’t do well with fermented foods, pay attention to your body. Whatever food you pick to break your fast should energize and satisfy you. If you are tired and crave sugar, it’s time to re-evaluate your food choices.
13. Wild-Caught Fish
Wild-caught fish is high in minerals, including potassium, zinc, and iron. Women are more prone to hypothyroidism, so fish is a particularly good option to provide the extra zinc needed by your cells for your body to utilize thyroid hormones better. Moreover, wild-caught fish is an excellent source of iodine, supporting thyroid function.
A smoothie, particularly if you add superfoods, is nutritious and easy to digest. Furthermore, it’s convenient and easy to prepare.
15. Green Superfood Drink
Many superfood drinks are high in important vitamins and minerals, including iodine. Iodine is also essential to support thyroid function, and fasting suppresses your thyroid function to some extent. My favorite green superfood drink is called the Power Shake. It is made from organic raw (dehydrated at 80 F) ingredients.
Best Foods to Break a 16 to 24-Hour Fast
I often emphasize the importance of picking a fasting window long enough to achieve a ketosis level of about 1.0 mmol on a ketone monitor. This is when most of us will feel the “switch.” We will feel different, and our appetites will decrease. The sweet spot is usually around 18-20 hours, but you need to figure that out for yourself. Besides the healing benefits of using ketones for energy on a cyclical basis, did you know that this feast-famine cycle supports your circadian rhythm? It can even enhance your gut microbiome to support weight loss.
If your favored intermittent fasting approach consists of a 16 to 24-hour fasting window, pick and choose your favorite foods from today’s 15 best foods to break a fast.
Lastly, check out my Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss Transformation program if you want more help and guidance to figure out your optimal fasting window and a step-by-step fasting protocol for health and weight loss. It is a multi-media program that walks you through the process that enabled my clients and me to lose weight after 40, even when nothing else seemed to work.
Best Foods to Break a 3 Day Fast
When you fast for 24 hours or more, you need to put more care into selecting the best foods to break your fast. The foods I provide in today’s article are acceptable, although I would proceed with more caution when using fruit like melons or bananas, meats, and oils. I would favor foods like avocados, cooked vegetables, and soups.
Best Foods to Break a Fast Keto
My intermittent fasting approach is to use the keto diet as a tool to become fat-adapted. Once you are fat-adapted (which means your body has switched from using glucose for energy to using ketones for energy), there is no need to worry about counting carbs ever! Unless you notice that you feel better on a low-carb or keto diet. If you are currently on the keto diet, the best foods to break a fast will be your nutrient-dense, low-carb foods. I offer resources to help you select your optimal foods to break a fast—for example, a Low-Carb Food List and an Intermittent Fasting Keto Meal Plan.
If you were to pick from today’s list of the 15 best foods to break a fast, I would go with avocado, bone broth, nut butter, wild-caught fish, cooked cruciferous vegetables, or leafy greens.
According to this study, half an avocado to break a fast increases your satiety for 3-5 hours.
Foods to Break a Fast Video
I hope you found this list of foods to break a fast helpful. Experiment and see which ones work best for you. We are all unique, and our bodies may respond differently from one time to the next. You may also find that you crave a particular food. If that’s the case, listen to your body and give it what it needs while following the guidelines to break the fast I shared with you.