Although you may be craving a cheeseburger or a sugary slice of cake after hours of fasting, stop and think, as shocking your system with the wrong foods can leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable. What you eat to break your fast is essential, and although cooking up your favorite comfort foods may seem like an excellent idea, it can sabotage your fasting regime. It’s far better to break the fast with nutrient-rich foods, healthy fats, and lean proteins that boost your energy levels and are easy for your body to break down and digest. Here’s a look at the best food to break intermittent fasting, plus options for the best meal to break a fast for fat loss and muscle gain.
Best Food to Eat to Break a Fast
Easing back into eating and replacing the nutrients and electrolytes lost during intermittent fasting is essential. Reintroducing food to your system gradually allows your body to re-adjust, so you return to a regular balanced diet without experiencing digestive problems or discomfort.
See below some of the best food to break a fast, plus a few foods to include with your first meal according to common fasting goals.
The best foods to break a 16-hour fast include:
Dried Dates: Eating a couple of dried dates with a glass of water is the traditional way to break a fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. These flavorsome dried fruits are nutrient-packed and kick-start your digestive system. Dried apricots and raisins also have a similar effect.
Smoothies: A flavor-packed smoothie containing your favorite raw fruits and leafy green vegetables is a popular and nutrient-packed way to break a fast.
Soup: Few things are more comforting than a big bowl of soup, and soups containing vegetables, bone broths, digestible proteins, and carbs like lentils make a hearty and satisfying first meal.
Fermented Foods and Drinks: Yoghurt, kefir, pickled vegetables, kimchi, and sauerkraut are all great to include with your post-fasting meal.
Healthy Fats: Coconut oil, olive oil, eggs, avocados, and other foods containing healthy fats are easy to digest and help to boost your energy levels.
Best Food to Break Fast for Muscle Gain
Good nutrition and exercise are vital if you want to gain muscle. A high-protein diet with carbs and healthy fats for energy is essential. Consider adding these foods to your first meal:
Eggs: Eggs are a healthy fat and an excellent source of protein. They also contain vitamin B and a high amount of the amino acid leucine, which is associated with muscle gain.
Salmon: The Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B, and protein in salmon make it an excellent ingredient for muscle gain and overall health.
Chicken Breast: Chicken is a lean protein packed with protein, making it a staple for those looking to gain muscle. Chicken is also easy to digest and helps promote fat loss, so it is one of the best foods for breaking a fast.
Tuna: Not only is tuna rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, but it also packs a powerful punch in the vitamin department and is an excellent source of vitamin B known to promote optimal energy, health, and performance.
Tofu: The popular meat-free option, tofu is an excellent addition to your diet as it contains calcium known to boost muscle function.
Best Food to Break Fast for Fat Loss
All the lean meats and proteins mentioned can also be included in meals for weight loss, but if fat loss is your ultimate goal, you also need to consider how you prepare your meals.
Cook proteins in healthy fats like olive oil or coconut oil and serve them with leafy green vegetables and salads. Avoid deep frying your meals; instead, opt for steamed, boiled, and grilled dishes.
The Bottom Line: How to Break Intermittent Fasting 16:8
To get the most out of an intermittent fasting diet, it’s essential to break the fast sensibly and consider the food you eat. Tucking into a heavy, carb-loaded meal and a sugary soda may seem like a great idea, but it can be challenging to digest and cause discomfort and symptoms like gas and bloating. It is far better to consume easily tolerated foods to break a fast that don’t contain high levels of fat, sugar, or complex carbohydrates. You can then ease into more substantial meals gradually.
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