Once you get to the end of your fast, you likely begin to feel that little pinch in your belly: hunger - the urge to eat as your body tells you it needs food.
With the hunger cues you may not have been getting before, it might be tempting to splurge on a meal you’ve been craving - after all, you’ve been fasting and a little treat won’t hurt, right?
Not so... fast…
When we get hungry, it indicates that our energy stores are low. Our brain says, “quick, I need energy” and so the temptation is to grab something high in carbs and sugar.
Of course, it would be nice to be able to eat whatever we wanted after fasting. After all, it has huge benefits on blood sugar balance and body composition. But one thing needs to be made clear: fasting doesn’t mean you can eat anything you like.
Not directly after the fast and not during your eating window either.
After all, you want to make sure that all of those health benefits you’ve just worked so hard on achieving while being in the fasted state continue!
That’s why we’re here to guide you on the best options and meal plan ideas to break your fast.
The most important thing to think about when deciding on the meal that you want to eat as you come out of your fast is balance. A balanced meal consists of 4 main components:
Essentially, you’ll want to provide your body with each of these elements to ensure the diversity of nutrients your body needs to function, particularly after being in a fasted state.
Let’s break them down, shall we?
They’re delicious, they’re more-ish, and we crave them. They’re the number one source of fuel in the body (as long as you’re not keto).
Eating carbs replenishes the body’s sugar stores; those which are more effectively used up when fasting*.
The trouble with carbs is that they’re hard to over eat. So be sure to add just a fist-sized portion of complex carbs to your meal.
Good examples are potatoes and sweet potatoes, whole grains such as brown rice, legumes such as chickpeas and beas, or other whole grains such as bread.
Proteins provide the body with all of the building blocks it needs to run some very important processes. But proteins are also one of the major satiety compounds, meaning they’re what keep you feeling full*.
Be sure to include a serving of protein at every meal to help you to feel satisfied.
Good examples are eggs, lean protein such as chicken and fish, the occasional piece of red meat, legumes such as chickpeas and beans (they’re both a carb and protein!), or plant-based options such as soy.
Fat is another important element to help you to feel full. Fat comes in many different forms, but the two main categories to consider are saturated and unsaturated.
Saturated fats typically come from animal sources, such as dairy. These are to be limited in the diet. Unsaturated fats, which come from plant sources, can be included more often.
Good examples are full fat dairy, avocados, nuts, seeds and their oils, olive and their oils.
You can add any herbs or spices to these meals to increase the flavour profile, but the basics are to include a small amount of carbs, protein, fats and vegetables. Of course, if you’re following a specific type of diet, these would need to be adjusted to suit your needs.
Breaking your fast should be done under the premise that you want to feed your body the nutrients it needs to function. When you do, your body will be more likely to give back to you in abundance of energy, stability of body composition and balance in overall health.
Read more by check our blog post "What to eat during the fast and feast".
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