Fasting, specifically intermittent fasting, has recently become a popular and effective way to further health goals. Although intermittent fasting’s primary purpose is weight loss, you can utilize it in various ways.
You’ve probably read about intermittent fasting or know someone that’s tried it. If you haven’t, we’ve got you covered. Below we’ll cover the basics of intermittent fasting and what you should and shouldn’t eat and drink between your fasting periods.
If you’ve tried a fasting-style diet before, you know it can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out what to eat after your fast. You’re probably hungry, tired, and just want to find something quick and easy. We get it, and it’s all a big part of understanding what your body can and can’t handle.
Not eating enough, consuming unhealthy foods, and overeating can all be detrimental to all the progress you’ve made after a fast.
Let’s look at the specifics of intermittent fasting, how your goals can affect what you can eat, and what you should eat after a fast.
Intermittent fasting is when you don’t consume any food for a specified amount of time throughout the day. This length of time can change depending on the method. For example, some people prefer the 16/8 method, which involves fasting for 16 hours with an 8-hour eating window, while others use an alternate-day fasting schedule. It' a good idea to rotate through different methods, including non-fasting days, to keep the body metabolically flexible.
There are tons of different methods in which intermittent fasting can work and benefit you because your eating plans post-fast will entirely depend on how long your fast lasts and what your goals are.
The main use of intermittent fasting is weight loss. By not consuming food for long periods, your body focuses on recovery and healing rather than digesting. You can also use fasting to decrease your calorie intake, another important strategy for weight loss.
However, intermittent fasting can also be practiced for people whose primary goal isn’t weight loss. Fasting can help support heart health and lower blood sugar, and certain fasting diets specifically pertain to people high in muscle mass.
For example, there are types of fasts that involve overeating and others that don’t allow you to eat for an entire 24 hour period or days at a time. The kind of fast will drastically vary depending on what your goals are.
Let’s break down how your health objectives impact what you eat after a fast.
Different goals will mean different meals. A great example of this is the Warrior Diet. If you want to try a fasting-style diet, but weight loss isn’t your goal, you might be looking at something like the Warrior Diet. This variation of intermittent fasting includes not eating for 20 hours followed by an overeating period of four hours.
The idea stems back to our days as hunter-gatherers, where we would spend all day working to collect food, followed by an overeating period to regain the energy lost throughout the day.
Luckily, we don’t have to hunt or gather our food anymore. However, this prehistoric diet still has a lot of modern health benefits, specifically for those trying to gain lean muscle without drastically increasing their weight.
This is one of the rare instances where overeating can benefit you. The Warrior Diet can help reduce body fat while increasing muscle mass. After the 20-hour fast, the overeating period typically includes meals high in protein like meat and eggs.
But, if you’re trying to lose weight, you might want to try an alternative to the Warrior Diet.
The 16/8 method is typically the most popular and effective amongst those trying a fasting diet for the first time to lose weight. The 8-hour eating window is usually split into two, sometimes three healthy meals.
These meals should be low in highly processed and sugary, starchy foods and instead high in other nutrients your body needs to function properly throughout the day. After going 16 hours without any type of nourishment, salads, fruit and vegetables, unprocessed meats, and the like should all be on the table.
So, you know how your goals can affect what you eat after a fast. Although your meals can vary depending on your objectives, there are still meals that will help anyone post-fast.
If you are about to break your fast, you must ease yourself into it, especially if you are trying a more traditional fast that goes for extended periods. Unless you’re trying the Warrior Diet or any other type of diet that involves overeating, you can’t start overindulging after your fast window.
It can be very difficult to avoid the temptation of overeating after a fast. It’s not uncommon to want to reward yourself for hard work, or maybe you’re just really hungry. Either way, it’s essential to find a way to not overeat after a fast as this will cause bloating, discomfort, and loss of progress. Here are our suggestions of what to eat after a fast:
If we’re ranking these foods, green smoothies would be #1 ten times out of ten. Smoothies are a fantastic idea after a fast as you can load them up with your favorite berries, vegetables, good fats and a protein powder and not harm your digestive system. Whatever your combination might be, smoothies digest the easiest, and you can get all of the required nutrients that you’re lacking after a fast.
You might start to notice a trend here; soft foods, foods that go down easily, or liquids are the best way to go after a fast. Soup is another excellent option as you can still load up on nutrients while not overeating. Chicken bone broth soup, for example, would be a great way to regain the protein, carbs from starchy veg, hydration, and other nutrients that your body needs after a fast. Soup is also similar to a smoothie in the sense that you can customize it to your liking.
Eggs are light, easy to digest, and one of the best protein sources relative to their size and portions. After going through several hours or days without food, your body is going to need energy. Eggs will provide you with the energy levels you need to keep up your progress and can be very filling. Not to mention, eggs are cheap and easy to make.
Avocados are packed with fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals such as potassium. These nutrients can help replenish your body after a period of fasting. The healthy fats in avocados help to keep you feeling satiated longer, which can assist with weight management post-fasting. It also helps in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. They are gentle on your stomach, which is crucial when breaking a fast because your digestive system may be more sensitive than usual. The healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber in avocados can help to regulate your blood sugar levels, preventing spikes that can lead to cravings and overeating after a fast. Try topping with a bit of raw kraut to help boost your fermented food intake.
Knowing what not to eat is just as important as knowing what to eat. After a fast, eating the wrong thing could not only set you back, it could erase all the progress you’ve made if you’re not careful.
Let’s take a look.
You should avoid fast food as much as possible in general, but having it after a fast is a big mistake. Most fast-food meals are high in calories, sugars, and fats, which are all things you should avoid high levels of after a fast. Also, fast food is cheap, so it can be very easy to over-order and overeat.
There’s a trend with foods you shouldn’t eat: anything high in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats. Sweets have the highest amount of sugar from everything on this list and will send shockwaves through your body if you overeat after a fast. Even having a small candy bar post-fast will be tough to digest and will leave you in discomfort.
This is a bit of a generalization, as many things can count as junk food. A good rule to follow is that anything high in calories, sugars, and fats with little dietary protein, vitamins, fibers, and other nutrients should not be consumed after a fast. This can include sweets, fast food, chips, greasy or fried foods, soda, and ice cream. Even foods that seem healthy but are actually high in sugar are no good — that’s your sugar-coated nuts, high-sugar fruit juices, and your favorite syrup and cream-loaded latte.
Now that you know what you should and shouldn’t eat after a fast, you might be looking for a place to keep track of it all. From movement routines to diets and motivation, Able is here to help you with everything.
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Are you trying out a fast for the first time? Able can record your progress, keep you motivated, and give you helpful tips on what habits you should keep up and what you should avoid.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain it, or are just trying to be healthier, Able can help with it all.
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