Nutritionist Tips for Your Yom Kippur Break Fast Meal

  • Written By:Lauren Slayton
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I’m a nutritionist, not a killjoy. If you must have a bagel for break fast, I hear you.

I was invited to a small gathering for break fast (Yom Kippur is a day of atonement where many spend the day fasting with no food or drink) and the group text read: “Guarantee of at least a 2–5-pound weight gain.” Don't want to start the year with a five-pound weight gain? Here are my tried-and-true tips for a better break fast. If you’re observing the holiday, I wish you an easy fast and a healthier-that-it-could-be break fast.

Avoid unbuttoning

If you scoffed at my intro paragraph, you’re like a lot of my nutrition clients who ask, “Don’t I deserve to eat what I want, after not eating for a day?” or “Does one day make a difference?” I’d counter these comments by saying it’s not about eating anything and everything or completely denying yourself, there’s a lot of middle ground.

Plan-it thin

Avoid making food decisions when you’re hungry, tired, or tipsy. (On Yom Kippur you could potentially be all three.) With a little planning, you can save yourself guilt, regret, and indigestion.

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Pick your pleasure

I’m a nutritionist, not a killjoy. If you must have a bagel for break fast, I hear you. What I’ve found is that when it comes to holidays, most people have something they are looking forward to. The flipside of this is that there are also items you couldn’t care less about. Try to pinpoint your pleasure foods and also what you can skip.

Don’t eat sugar solo

Many break the fast with something sweet. If you’re having honey, challah, a sweet drink, etc, be sure to pair it with some fat. Having some nuts or cheese tempers your blood sugar from soaring and then sinking.

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Go fish

The good news is that many foods at a typical break-the-fast spread are fairly healthy. Smoked fish (even smoked fish spreads), eggs, cheese, sliced tomato, onion, and fruit are all excellent choices.

The one plate rule

Would you ever go to a restaurant, eat your entrée and ask for seconds? You wouldn’t. So why, particularly on holidays, do we have seconds…or thirds? Survey the offerings and compose one reasonable plate that’s neither skimpy nor massive. Try to plate all your food versus picking.

Be a slow poke

There’s the tendency to speed eat when breaking a fast. Instead, have a seat, take human-sized bites, eat slowly, and savor the flavor of your food.

Strolls are strategic

Take a walk or just walk around the house a bit, after you break the fast. A 2018 study found that even a short walk (just 10-15 minutes) after a meal can help control blood sugar more than a walk before a meal or exercise at a different time of day. It’s also excellent for digestion.

Lauren Slayton is a nutritionist and the founder of Foodtrainers.

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