The 10 Best Foods To Break A Fast (And The Worst!)

Why It Matters Which Foods You Break Your Fast With, And What Exactly You Should And Shouldn't Eat

No matter how you structure your fasting dietary practices, an important question to answer is, “What are the best foods to break a fast?”

Whether you’re coming out of a 16-hour, 24-hour, 72-hour (3-day), or 7-day fasting window, the principles are the same; you need healthy, unprocessed, and easily digestible foods to help gently ease your stomach back into action.

But which foods actually tick all of these boxes?

Well, in this article, we will take a look at how to break your fast the right way, feel your best, and maximize the health benefits of your fast.

Let’s dive in! 

Greek yogurt, one of the best food to break a fast.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Fasting refers to deliberately abstaining from consuming food and caloric beverages for an extended period. 

Intermittent fasting refers to the practice of alternating between periods of fasting and periods of eating.

Intermittent fasting has a long history of being practiced for religious or spiritual reasons, but in recent times it has become increasingly popular due to health and weight-loss benefits.

Why Does It Matter Which Foods You Break A Fast With?

When you fast, the digestive system gets a break from needing to process, digest, and absorb all the different foods and drinks you normally consume, so jumping right back into your normal diet after a period of prolonged fasting can be an unwelcome shock to your gut.1Puigserver, A., Wicker, C., & Gaucher, C. (1985). [Molecular aspects of the adaptation of pancreatic and intestinal enzymes to dietary regimens]. Reproduction, Nutrition, Developpement25(4B), 787–801. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2417292/

To properly and safely break a fast, you want to gently ease your stomach back into its digesting state with easy-to-process foods.

What Are the Worst Foods to Break A Fast?

The worst foods to eat after fasting are those that are particularly difficult to digest, namely processed foods and fatty foods like meat, fried food, and sweets, along with alcohol and some dairy products like cheese, ice cream, and full-fat milk.

Additionally, depending on how long you fasted, it may also be helpful to avoid food such as raw cruciferous vegetables, legumes, seeds and seed bladders, and nuts and nut butter.

Although these are typically considered healthy foods and should be incorporated as part of your everyday diet, they can be difficult to digest.

What Are the Best Foods to Break A Fast?

Here are some of the best foods to safely break a fast:

Bone broth.

#1: Bone Broth

Bone broth may not seem like the most satisfying way to break a fast, but it is actually one of the best foods to eat after fasting because it is very easy to digest while still being quite nutritious.

Bone broth is rich in electrolytes like potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium, which makes it very hydrating and can help restore low electrolyte levels after fasting, particularly something prolonged like a 24-hour water fast.

There is also protein in bone broth, but unlike the protein in animal flesh, the proteins in bone broth are already partially degraded into much more absorbable forms.

Moreover, much of the protein in bone broth is collagen, which is extremely beneficial, especially after fasting, since it is the most abundant protein in the body.

The body can synthesize collagen protein naturally by combining proline and glycine (two amino acids) in a synthesis process that also requires vitamin C, zinc, and copper.

However, eating collagen-rich foods bypasses the need for this process, making the protein readily available for use.

Bone broth.

As collagen forms a structural component in everything from bones and teeth to skin and tendons, the body can almost always use more collagen, especially after prolonged fasting during which there was no new influx of amino acids.

Arguably, the one macronutrient the body needs most is protein. 

Prolonged fasting can potentially be deleterious to overall health, largely because the body constantly needs protein for all sorts of basic functions and biochemical processes, so if you’re not taking in protein, the body has to break down muscle tissue to access the protein it needs.

Unfortunately, many protein-rich foods are fairly difficult to digest (since protein is inherently hard to process), so although the body desperately needs protein after fasting, high-protein foods are often not the best foods to break a fast.

Bone broth, however, is certainly in the exception category, so drinking bone broth can be nourishing yet gentle on the stomach after fasting.

Try to eat natural, organic bone broth; homemade is best. Otherwise, look for organic bone broth without added cream, fat, or excessive salt.

Similarly, other types of soups can also be an excellent way to break your fast, as long as they don’t contain large amounts of cream or high-fiber, raw vegetables.

White fish in broth.

#2: Fish

If you are looking for what to eat after fasting that will be filling yet not too difficult to digest; fish can be a great choice for your first meal.

Unlike most other animal proteins, fish is fairly easy to digest, especially if you choose lean white fish like cod, flounder, or haddock.

Fish is also rich in other nutrients, such as potassium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

#3: Eggs 

Eggs are a great way to break a fast.

Eggs are generally considered to be a healthy food, if not “nature’s perfect food,” since they are natural, high in protein, and contain numerous vitamins and minerals.2Miranda, J., Anton, X., Redondo-Valbuena, C., Roca-Saavedra, P., Rodriguez, J., Lamas, A., Franco, C., & Cepeda, A. (2015). Egg and Egg-Derived Foods: Effects on Human Health and Use as Functional Foods. Nutrients7(1), 706–729. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7010706

According to the USDA’s FoodData Central, one large, whole, hard-boiled chicken egg contains 78 calories, 6.3 grams of protein, 5.34 grams of fat, negligible carbohydrates and sugar, and small amounts of sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, and selenium.3FoodData Central. (n.d.). Fdc.nal.usda.gov. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173424/nutrients

Eggs also contain a decent amount of vitamin A, vitamin D, folate, and the antioxidants choline, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which support eye health.

Bananas.

#4: Bananas 

Fruits are among the best foods to break a fast because fruit is high in water and carbohydrates to restore blood sugar. Most fruits also contain some fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Bananas are one of the best fruits to eat after fasting because they are also rich in electrolytes like potassium and magnesium and are high in carbs while being gentle on the stomach; no fruit is quite like them, and banana substitutes are hard to find.4What Are Good Substitutes for Bananas? Nutrition Explained | Care/of. (n.d.). Www.takecareof.com. Retrieved December 19, 2023, from https://www.takecareof.com/articles/what-are-good-substitutes-for-bananas

#5: Watermelon 

Watermelon is high in potassium and vitamin C. It’s also 95% water, so it is easy to digest, the sugars are readily absorbable, and it provides you with hydration. 

#6: Fermented Foods

Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, and pickled vegetables are among the best foods to eat to break a fast. 

Fermented foods are a natural source of probiotics, which are the beneficial bacteria that inhabit your gut microbiome and help you digest food and decrease gut and systemic inflammation.5Dale, H. F., Rasmussen, S. H., Asiller, Ö. Ö., & Lied, G. A. (2019). Probiotics in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: An Up-to-Date Systematic Review. Nutrients11(9). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11092048

By fortifying your gut microbiome, eating fermented foods after a fast can help improve the digestibility of other foods that you eat subsequently.

Berries.

#7: Berries

Berries such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are high in fiber, water, and antioxidants.

They also contain natural sugar to help restore blood sugar levels and energy levels after fasting.

#8: Quinoa and Oats

Whole grains like quinoa and oats can be good to eat after fasting. Quinoa is a complete source of protein, rich in fiber, and naturally gluten-free.

Oats and oatmeal can also be nourishing, filling, and not particularly hard to digest.

Oats are also high in beta-glucan, a type of prebiotic fiber that feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

Therefore, eating oats after a fast can improve digestion by nourishing the microbes in your digestive tract that help you digest and absorb other nutrients that you may eat.

Avocados.

#9: Avocado 

Avocado seemingly bucks the trend that the best foods to break a fast are those that are low in fat and fiber, yet avocado is very high in monounsaturated fats and dietary fiber.

However, avocado is typically very well tolerated after fasting.

Furthermore, avocado is a very satiating food, so you can eat a small amount in terms of volume yet feel full for quite a few hours.

For example, one study found that people who ate avocado were significantly less hungry after five hours than people who ate other foods.6Wien, M., Haddad, E., Oda, K., & Sabaté, J. (2013). A randomized 3×3 crossover study to evaluate the effect of Hass avocado intake on post-ingestive satiety, glucose and insulin levels, and subsequent energy intake in overweight adults. Nutrition Journal12(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-12-155

One of the common problems with eating after fasting is the tendency to overeat or binge eat.

Overeating after fasting is especially common if you consume processed foods and high-glycemic carbs such as breakfast cereals, white bread, pasta, bagels, cookies, pastries, and jelly, that often contain added sugars.

These foods can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar, and it is very easy to consume a lot of the food quickly and not feel particularly full, leading to overeating.

In contrast, eating filling, nourishing food like avocado can provide the satiety you need without increasing the likelihood of binging.

In addition to being a great source of healthy fats and fiber, avocado is one of the best sources of potassium, and it also contains vitamins B, C, E, and K, along with other minerals such as magnesium and copper.

Cooked spinach.

#10: Cooked Green Vegetables 

Raw, fibrous veggies can be tough on the stomach after fasting, but cooking vegetables breaks down some of the cellulose and makes it much easier to digest.7Perez, F., Accarino, A., Azpiroz, F., Quiroga, S., & Malagelada, Juan-R. (2007). Gas distribution within the human gut: effect of meals. The American Journal of Gastroenterology102(4), 842–849. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1572-0241.2007.01071.x

Cooked green vegetables are among the best foods to eat after fasting because they are very high in essential vitamins and minerals and contain antioxidants to support cellular health and decrease inflammation.

Boil or steam your vegetables, or sauté them lightly in coconut oil.

Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides, so it may promote weight loss and has been shown to decrease inflammation and support gut health.

Overall, the key to choosing what to eat to break a fast comes down to general sound principles of nutrition: focus on natural, unprocessed, and easily digestible foods.

Try to eat slowly and in small quantities to gently guide your digestive tract back into operation without overwhelming your body or undoing all of the health benefits of fasting.

Other Frequently Asked Questions:

What Food Or Drink Can I Consume Whilst Fasting?

Some studies suggest you can consume up to 50 calories a day and still maintain ketosis and the benefits of fasting.8Masood, W., Uppaluri, K. R., & Annamaraju, P. (2019, March 21). Ketogenic diet. National Library of Medicine; StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/

You can consume the following food and drink whilst fasting:

  • Water (plain or carbonated)
  • Tea or coffee (with no added sugar, milk, or cream)
  • Diluted apple cider vinegar (some say that this helps with hydration and food cravings)
  • Any other drinks containing no digestible calories or carbs, or insignificant quantities of calories or carbs.

Some individuals may choose to take small amounts of fats or dairy in drinks throughout the day to make fasting periods easier. Whilst this technically breaks the fast, the health benefits of fasting will likely not be lost by doing this.

Do Taking Supplements Break A Fast?

Some people may choose to take supplements during fasting to try and keep their mineral and nutrient levels balanced. However, some supplements may break a fast.

Gummy multivitamins, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), protein powder, and supplements containing other ingredients such as maltodextrin, pectin, cane sugar, or fruit juice concentrate contain sugar, calories, or trigger an insulin response.

This means that they may break your fast.

To ensure your supplements don’t break a fast, make sure they contain no added sugar or digestible carbs.

Additionally, it is important to take note of whether or not a supplement is recommended to be consumed with food or not before taking it during a fast, to avoid unwanted side effects.

Have you been thinking about taking part in a water fast? If so, you can check out our complete guides to a 24-hour, 36-hour, 5-day, or 7-day water fast.

Overnight oats.

References

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Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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