Ask The Expert

Best Foods To Eat After Intermittent Fasting

What's the best food to eat after intermittent fasting? We asked a selected group of experts for their top tips when it comes to breaking a fast

Intermittent Fasting
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If you’re just starting out with intermitting fasting, you might be wondering what the best foods to eat at the end of your fast are.

We asked a selected group of experts to deliver their insights when it comes to the kinds of foods you should be consuming after a fast.

Here’s what they said.

Go For Foods With A Lower Glycemic Index

Dr. Melissa A. Murphy, PhD, Assistant Professor, Nutrition and Basic Sciences at Bastyr University California

During intermittent fasting, the body utilizes endogenous fuel stores (fat and glycogen) rather than outside ones (consumed food).

When sticking to an intermittent fasting regimen, one way to extend the benefits of the fast is to eat foods that will still support use of endogenous stores. This includes higher fat, lower carb options.

So when breaking the intermittent fast, I recommend consuming smoothies with greens, avocado and/or nut butter, protein powder and low fruit content; or an omelet cooked in a healthy fat with low-starch vegetables and eggs; or a salad with protein and nuts and seeds.

Having a meal with a lower glycemic index (less impact on blood sugar) also prevents spiking blood sugar levels which can contribute to brain fog and digestive discomfort after fasts.

Start Off With Easily-Digestible Foods In Small Amounts

Kristin Gillespie, Registered Dietitian and Certified Nutrition Support Clinician, exercisewithstyle.com

Generally speaking, foods that are more difficult for the body to digest are best avoided when breaking your fast.

During fasting, the body reduces its production and excretion of digestive enzymes; this can result in a bit of a delay in digesting foods when the fast is initially broken and ultimately lead to gastrointestinal discomfort.

For this reason, it’s generally best to start off with easily-digestible foods consumed in small amounts.

For the best results in breaking your fast, I recommend the following:

• Stay hydrated during your fast. Large amounts of water can be lost during the body’s conversion of glycogen to glucose during a fast. For this reason, it is important to stay hydrated to keep your body functioning optimally.

• Ease back into eating with a small meal at first, gradually progressing to larger amounts.

• Start with easily-digestible foods such as: raw fruits, bone broths, leafy greens such as spinach or kale, cooked vegetables, healthy fats (such as olive oil, avocado, & eggs), and fermented foods (such as yogurt and kefir). For your first meal post-fast, these are your best options. By your second and third meals, you can progress to other foods that may be a little harder to digest.

• Consume nutrient-dense foods after fasting to ensure that you are getting adequate amounts of crucial nutrients.

Eggs

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Choose Protein-Rich Foods

April Olivolo, Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach, My House Fitness of Allen

The best foods to eat after intermittent fasting will be those that keep the “fat fires” burning.

What this means is that following an intermittent fast, your body is now in a state of ketosis.

If fat loss is your ultimate goal, you want to keep this going by breaking the fast with protein-rich foods along with heart healthy fats, and antioxidants.

An example of this might include chicken with mixed greens and avocado, or fatty fish such as salmon and grilled vegetables with plenty of heart-healthy olive oil.

The point of breaking a fast correctly is to do so in a way that doesn’t undo that fat-burning process going on in your body.

Eat Real Food, Cooked From Scratch

Max Lowery, 2 Meal Day Founder

Eat real food, cooked from scratch. Once you start extending it to more than 24-hour fasting, then you want to be quite careful with what you break your fast with.

For 24 hours or less, I wouldn’t eat a huge cheesy or meaty meal. I’d probably keep it quite vegetarian-based, just so it’s a bit lighter on the stomach.

People get hung up on the food thing, but essentially, if you’re cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients, then you’re good to go.

Opt For A Bland Protein Source

Lisa Richards, Nutritionist, The Candida Diet

There are two main things to consider when ending your fast: the nutrients and the harshness of the food.

When ending a fast after 16 or more hours, your body is primed to receive the nutrients you provide it and use them for exactly what it needs.

This is also a time that will cause your body to become more sensitive to that macronutrient provided.

For this reason, many will turn to a bland protein source to end their state of fasting.

Best Foods To Eat After Intermittent Fasting

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

Try Having A Protein Smoothie

Nick Leyden, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Personal Trainer and Online Coach

When it comes to breaking your fast, it’s important to consider what your primary goal of the fast was, and what activities you were doing beforehand.

Was your goal to help aid in fat loss, or was it more for a health reason outside of weight loss?

That said, there are a few guidelines I always recommend when breaking your fast.

When you break your fast, especially a longer-duration fast, you want to consume easily-digestible foods so as to not cause too much added stress to the digestive system.

Foods like smoothies, soups, broths, and cooked vegetables and fruit are more easily digestible.

After breaking your fast with these types of foods, it’s OK to then move into other types of foods that might be a little bit tougher to digest, such as complex carbohydrates and protein sources and raw vegetables. This is typically the simple structure that I recommend.

After fasting, choose either between a high-carbohydrate and high-protein meal first, such as a protein shake and some fruit, or something high in fat and high in protein.

All in all, my favorite way to break my fast is to have a big protein smoothie with greens and my favorite fruit of choice. Then, an hour or so later, I eat a balanced meal.

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