Best Foods to Eat Before a Fast

What is it about fasting that makes us all so obsessed for days before the fast? I am not referring to the spiritual side (as that is worthy of the obsession) but the food aspect. Did you know that most healthy adults could survive many days and up to a month without eating? Regardless, days before the fast, I am reducing my caffeine intake and worrying about how I will manage. I have heard of all sorts of “fast survival” techniques, from caffeine suppositories, extra strength Excedrin without water (that’s my personal favorite), drinking coffee right before the fast to fool your system and give it caffeine for the morning, eating 2 tablespoons of honey before the fast, and crazy carbo loading. Everyone has their own strategy; tell us what yours is so we can share it with our readers.

GKC consulted with the experts (now who is an expert faster???) and here are our tips and recipes for a successful fast.

– Lots of Water. The discomfort from fasting is actually not from fasting but from lack of fluid. Super hydrate before the fast. Drink a great deal a day or two before as well and then really fill up with fluids before the pre-fast meal.

– Reduce caffeine intake. The headache associated with fasting is from caffeine withdrawal. One week prior to fasting start reducing your caffeine intake to about 1 cup a day or drink decaffeinated teas and coffees to fool your system. If this is too tough, seriously consider the caffeine suppositories or an aspirin before the fast to rid yourself of those headaches.

– Eat Normal Sized Meals. Overeating will not stave off the effects of hunger and may make you more uncomfortable. The excess fluids needed for your body to process large meals may also lead to dehydration which is counter productive. So while we eat numerous meals before the fast and a pre-fast meal, do not overeat.

– Eat carbs; yup, it’s true. Complex carbs like those in pasta, breads, rice, fruits and vegetables, are best for maintaining energy levels during the fast. The also help your body absorb water more efficiently so eating carbs will help you stay hydrated. Whole-grain products and fruits and vegetables with fiber are best because they digest slower and keep you feeling full longer.

So what are you making? One friend serves Pizza, and another serves salmon, rice, and whole-wheat pasta.

I’m making some of these…
Salmon Burrito
Angel Hair Pasta with Mixed Tomato Sauce
Watermelon Tomato Salad with Mozzarella Cheese and Lemon Dressing
Zaatar Salmon
Lots of fruit for dessert
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Emuna loves to break the fast with…
Classic White Bread
Minestrone Soup

10 thoughts on “Best Foods to Eat Before a Fast

  1. I would add in addition to lots of water drinking fluids designed for hydration purposes helps. (Gatorade and those types of drinks.)

    Very interesting about the large meal right before a fast having the opposite effect… no doubt many people do exactly that!!

  2. The best thing isn’t even mentioned. SALT. Starting in the AM prior to a fast have salty foods. The salt helps to hold onto the water for longer periods of time. Why do physicians tell patients with heart disease to decrease salt? Because salt leads to an increased fluid volume. The greater the fluid volume prior to a fast, the less chance your body has to become volume depleted (dehydrated). Don’t start the salty foods just prior to the fast. You want to be sure that you are not thirsty at the start. If you halve been easing salty foods all day, and have increase your fluid intake, you shouldn’t be thirsty at the start of the fast. If you are thirsty a couple of hours prior to a fast, just start drinking a lot of water! Of course, if you have any heart condition, you should check with your physician about temporally increasing your salt intake.

  3. Drinking lots of water is NOT the answer. You’ll just get boated and whiz it all out within a few hours. Instead, eat lots of raw vegetables like carrots, celery and lettuce. Your body will digest these over many hours and slowly release their high-water content into your system. No salt! You’ll go crazy from thirst.

  4. Hydrate with refreshing fruit soup (with no sugar added): just puree mango and berries, or peaches and cantaloupe…whatever is fresh in season or cheap in the frozen section.
    (Fruit soup is great to break fast too!)

    Sesame noodles or rice with a low-salt peanut sauce & veggies…to provide lots of energy.
    Eliminate all caffeines…tea, coffee, chocolate.

    Eat slowly, savouring each morsel, thankful that we do not experience hunger daily.

  5. Ummm, or just drink water during the fast… this is a very confusing article. Carbs, especially simple ones like PASTA, BREAD, SUGARS, are going to make you hungrier I’v heard. Why on earth would you ever stop drinking water?

    • Absolutely fill up on fluids, the lack of fluids is what is dangerous in fasting. Check the first part, it says to drink a lot! Staying hydrated is the key to a healthy and more comfortable fast.

    • During the Yom Kippur fast (and other Jewish religious fasts), water is not permitted. That is why people do not drink water while fasting.

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