Alright, you’ve chosen your intermittent fasting plan. You know when to eat, when to hold off, and you’re armed with Citravarin Fasting Mints as a tool to help you stick to your intended schedule. You’ve done your research, know the benefits of fasting and have solidified your goals and why IF will be a priority. You’re up to speed on what’s to come in the first 72 hours of your fast. You’ve completed your first fasting window and it’s time to break fast and fuel up. Now what?
Breaking your fast shouldn’t be complicated, because you’re doing it daily and need to be able to easily start your eating window on the right foot no matter where you are. When you eat your first meal, it’s your first nutritional win of the day.
Here are our best tips on how to break your fast to see the most benefits on your IF journey.
1. How do you properly break a fast?
The timing of the fast you’ve chosen is what will help you make and break a fast. Most importantly, you should understand the schedule of your chosen fast and how you’ll incorporate the fasting and eating windows into your lifestyle.
No matter which fast you’re following, begin your fast at least 3 hours before bed and stick to your fasting window (using your Citravarin Fasting Mints.) This helps your body with digestion when you do start your eating window and will help you achieve your IF goals more quickly and efficiently.
Your specific fasting plan will also determine when you can properly break your fast and how quickly you consume your calories for the day. For example, if you’ve started your 16/8 fast at 8 pm, you would break your fast at noon and could eat smaller portions throughout an 8-hour window. If you are following an 18/6 fast starting at 8 pm, your eating window wouldn’t begin until 2 pm, and you would probably be reaching for slightly larger portions to consume all of your necessary calories by the time the window closes again at 8 pm.
In short, different intermittent fasting plans require different nutritional strategies to make sure you’re getting the foods you need and introducing them “properly” to break your fast.
2. Does it matter what I eat when I break my fast?
While what you don’t eat while fasting is more important than what you eat when you break your fast, choosing highly nutritious foods that are also gentle and won’t disrupt your digestive system are what you’re aiming for.
This can vary based on each person’s body and food sensitivities, but, typically, choosing foods with some protein and healthy fats is best. These include (but are absolutely not limited to) smoothies, soups, soft, starchy vegetables like potatoes, unsweetened yogurt or avocados.
3. What foods should I avoid when breaking a fast?
Foods with high amounts of sugar, fat, fiber or complex carbs (like beans and whole grains) are more difficult to digest, and after a fasting period, your body may be more sensitive to processing these nutrients as it’s looking for immediate energy. In general, it’s a good idea to ease into eating gently, which helps your system to readjust to your eating window and keeps you in check so you don’t overeat during the day, either.
4. Can I break a fast with a banana?
Fruit, overall, may not be the best route to breaking a fast as it can be high in fructose. However, bananas do offer healthy carbs to help your body generate the energy it’s looking for in a healthy way. Bananas can be a successful way to quickly increase your blood sugar after a fast, especially if you’re left feeling sluggish or tired.
5. Are eggs good to break a fast?
Yes! Healthy fats like eggs and avocados are great food choices to break a fast. While you don’t want to overwhelm your digestive system, eggs provide your body with protein and nutrients for the nutrition and energy it needs to stay clear, motivated and healthy.
6. What is the best food to break a fast for fat loss?
Fat loss is going to be best accomplished by maintaining a consistent fasting schedule fueled by nutritious and controlled eating windows rather than focusing on specific foods to eat when you break it. Learning and understanding what fuel your body needs to feel its best and then giving it the space to clear out and reset while you fast is what will ultimately lead to the fat loss you’re seeking.
Generally, certain healthy foods will help boost your metabolism and help you burn fat. Some examples include fatty fish, eggs, whey protein, chili peppers, full-fat Greek yogurt and olive oil. Introducing these foods during your eating window will help you nourish your body in ways that help it turn fat into energy.
7. What is the best food to break intermittent fasting for muscle gain?
Similar to a fat loss goal, a steady fasting schedule paired with consistently nutritious food choices and a regular gym schedule will help you achieve muscle gain. Stick with your high protein plan and avoid modifying your regular exercise routine – even when you’re feeling sluggish.
While protein, dairy, whole grains, beans and lentils are ideal foods for building and maintaining muscle, many of these can be harsh on your digestive system if eaten in large amounts immediately after fasting. It’s best to start with milder, gentle foods to kick off your eating window and add muscle-building nutrition once your body has had time to readjust.
8. What are the best foods to break a 16-hour fast?
For shorter, time-restricted eating fasts like the 18/6 and 16/8 fasts, whole foods with a mix of macronutrients will help you easily transition to a successful eating window. Protein with roasted vegetables, a salad with protein, eggs with avocado, soup or a protein shake are all great options for your first meal of the day. Eating a meal that is heavy on carbs or sugars could spike your blood sugar, making you actually feel more hungry.
9. What should I eat after a 24-hour fast?
When breaking a 24-hour or extended fast, it’s more important to focus on gentler foods, smaller portions and replenishing electrolytes. Easing out of a fast is most important in these situations so you’re not stressing your body with hard-to-digest foods. Starting with a liquid like bone broth or soup followed shortly after by soft proteins like nut butters or fish and cooked vegetables in small amounts will help your body understand what it can handle after the changes it’s made internally in the past 24 hours.
Intermittent fasting is an effective way to achieve many health benefits, but is very personal and should be customized for each individual and their lifestyle. Working with a trained professional to construct your plan, provide tips and tricks, as well as have a supportive resource during the journey is the fastest and most effective way to help you maintain successful fasts and uncomplicate the choices along the way.