Yom Kippur: Foods for Breaking the Fast
Yom Kippur is the Jewish Day of Atonement, and is a day (usually upward of 24 hours) for fasting, with no food or drink. If you do keep the fast (even most of it), what you choose to eat afterward is important. The last thing you want is a bad stomachache, or worse. Here are some things to keep in mind.
You haven’t had fluids in over 24 hours. Before devouring tons of food, start slow with warm fluids like coffee or tea (and add real sugar, honey or agave). If you’re not a hot-beverage drinker, then try a glass of still water.
You can also start off with a warm bowl of soup or broth. A low-fiber chicken noodle soup with a homemade broth brimming with minerals is a good choice. Any broth — chicken or vegetable — is a good choice too.
Even when taking your first drink, take small sips and let your digestive system get used to it. The same goes when eating food. Don’t just shove everything down quickly, because if you do, your stomach won’t be too happy with you.
Schedule your break-fast with a group of family and friends. This is a good time to surround yourself with people you like to converse with, as this will help slow down the pace of your eating. It’s also easier to make the break-fast potluck, so you don't need to worry about preparing lots of food when you’re utterly famished.
Low-fiber foods are easier for the stomach to digest after it hasn’t seen food for a while. Start with white (yes, I said white!) bread or the traditional break-fast food — a bagel. It’s important to replenish your carbs first, which will help provide you and your brain with energy.
Your body hasn’t seen protein in a while, so make it an easily digestible one — no fried chicken or heavy sauces. Go plain with grilled chicken or turkey, hard-boiled eggs, or a lighter tuna or egg salad.
Between each bagel or bowl of soup, take a 15- or 20-minute break. Let your body adjust to the food and start digesting it. Then move on to the next. Your body is moving a little slower than usual right now, so give it the time it needs.
There are lots of good-for-you nutrients in both fruits and veggies. Fruits are made from fructose, a simple sugar that is easier for the gut to digest. As for your veggies, a puree may be easier to handle (like mashed potatoes or sweet potato puree). Many folks, however, do just fine with cut-up veggies too. Just listen to your body and take your time eating.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.