Intermittent fasting is all about when to eat and not what to eat. But does that mean you can binge on ice cream, chocolates, and chips? Certainly not… If, during intermittent fasting, what to eat is your biggest concern, you are at the right place. This article will discuss intermittent fasting and how the right food choice can help you reap more benefits from this diet regime.
While practicing intermittent fasting, planning a balanced meal is essential to maintain optimal health. During your periods of fasting, making healthy food choices to meet your daily nutritional requirements is vital. You need to focus more on eating protein-rich foods, low-carb food from whole grains, and healthy fats.
Our ancestors worldwide have practiced voluntary absences of food and drink for days in ancient times. There are many books on ethnology and religion that talk about various forms of fasting practices. As we have evolved practicing these fasting regimes, it is believed that our body can sustain without food for a certain period of time.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that has periodic fasting and eating times. It is all about the time period between eating and fasting. It does not put any restriction on your food choice.
Generally, 16 hours fast and 24 hours fast are the most common methods followed in intermittent fasting. Several books promote fasting; scientific evidence of fasting and its health benefits was observed during religious fasting followed during Ramadan.
What To Eat During Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern and not a diet plan. You may feel confused about what to eat while intermittent fasting. Although it is all about time intervals, eating healthy foods can make it more powerful.
Here is the intermittent fasting food list that can help you plan a balanced diet:
Water is not food, right? But it is a vital ingredient to get you through intermittent fasting. When you are on a fast for 16 hours, your body utilizes the sugar stored in your liver, which is in the form of glycogen. During fasting, your energy is burned, and electrolytes are utilized. Hence it becomes crucial to keep yourself hydrated.
However, how much water you should consume depends on various aspects such as age, sex, and weight. Experts recommend an adult should drink a minimum of eight glasses of water every day. Drinking water helps to improve your blood flow and prevents dehydration. Dehydration carries a risk of several health issues such as fatigue, nausea, weight gain, and tiredness.
The color of your urine is a good measure to check if you are dehydrated. Generally, urine should be pale yellow; if it’s dark yellow, then it means your body is getting dehydrated.
Vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts are some of the best foods for intermittent fasting. They are loaded with fiber. When you are eating at intervals, consuming more fiber to avoid any constipation issues is essential.
Cruciferous veggies are rich in vitamins C, E, and K; they are also rich in beta carotenoids, minerals and have antioxidant activity. Many studies suggest that these vegetables prevent cancer with their antioxidant activity. They make you feel full, which helps you fast for a longer duration.
Avocado is a nutrient-dense, whole-food choice that helps you avoid weight gain and reduce the risk of obesity. Avocados are medium-calorie fruits that help to reduce adiposity. It contains nutrients such as fiber, phytochemicals, mannoheptulose, and monounsaturated fatty acids(MUFAs).
Dietary fiber in avocado prevents weight gain by improving satiety and inhibiting fat absorption. Mannoheptulose is a monosaccharide that helps in weight reduction. Avocado is rich in MUFAs, which helps to prevent fat gain and contribute to the loss of excess adiposity.
There is evidence to suggest that avocados may improve satiety and reduce hunger and food consumption. Avocado also impacts gut hormones; this would ultimately help you with calorie intake and weight management.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you should consume a minimum of 2 to 3 ounces of fish servings per week. Seafood such as fish, prawns, and shrimps are rich in proteins, vitamin D, and healthy fats. Seafood is an excellent fasting food choice because it is nutritious and does not add any unhealthy calories to your diet.
Legumes and beans make you feel full during your fasting hours. Studies suggest that black beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas are linked with a decrease in body weight, even without calorie restriction.
The eggs are rich in proteins and can be made in minutes. It is recommended to include the eggs in your intermittent diet; it makes you feel full and provides you with the necessary nutrients.
White potatoes can be digested easily and is a good choice to add to your intermittent fasting meal plan. When taken with a protein source, it makes a perfect post-workout snack. It can refuel energy in your muscles. Starch in the potato is good for gut bacteria.
Fruits and berries
Fruits and berries are healthy and rich in vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids. We suggest including a bowl of assorted fruits and berries in your diet. These fruits make you feel full and healthy. It is recommended to eat a minimum of 400g of fruits and vegetables every day.
Fruits help to break down the proteins and aids in easy digestion. They also result in improved skin health, reduced cell damage, and weight loss.
You can include assorted nuts in your diet because it has good fats. They are excellent choices when you crave snacks during intermittent fasting. Many studies suggest that the consumption of nuts reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and mortality.
Whole grains are rich in natural fiber; they can make you feel full and also help you to maintain your weight. Whole grains include wheat, whole wheat bread, pasta, oatmeal, millets, buckwheat, brown rice, and cracked wheat.
Whole grains have been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, certain cancers, and other health problems.
Ghee is rich in omega 3 fats (DHA) and omega (CLA), which are good for weight reduction. The short-chain fatty acids in ghee help to increase the speed of digestion in your body.
Omega 6 fats have been associated with increased lean body mass and help to lower the fat mass. It also helps to mobilize your fat cells and burn for energy.
It is good to include a probiotic drink during your intermittent fasting. It helps your gut bacteria and helps in better digestion.
Few studies suggest that probiotics help to balance the levels of useful bacteria in your digestive system and reduce irritable bowel syndrome.
Another study observed that probiotics in intermittent fasting improve glucose tolerance, helps to achieve weight loss and glycemic improvement in prediabetics.
Peanut butter smoothies, avocado smoothies, berries smoothies, banana smoothies, dry fruit smoothies will help meet your nutrient requirement. Having healthy and nutritious smoothies can make you feel full. They add lots of vitamins, minerals, and proteins to your diet.
You can also add fresh fruit juice without sugar in your diet; it helps you lose weight and is loaded with nutrients. Just remember that juice should be enjoyed during your eating window. During the fasting window stick to the non-caloric beverages like water, black coffee or plain tea.
For some delicious homemade smoothie ideas check: 10 Easy Homemade Meal Replacement Shakes For Weight Loss.
Foods to Avoid During the Intermittent Fasting
You need to avoid some foods during intermittent fasting to maintain a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. Processed foods such as burgers, fries, and nuggets are high in calories, and they can increase your food cravings. These foods contain fat, added sugar, and empty calories.
Here is the list of foods you need to avoid during your intermittent fasting;
- Snacks such as fried chips
- Sugary drinks like carbonated drinks, coffee, cold coffee
- Processed, packed juices
- Cakes and icecreams
- Processed foods such as cheese, meat, etc
Many studies suggest that processed foods and carbonated drinks lead to weight gain. You can replace carbonated drinks with fresh juices and fried foods with healthy salads. Be more mindful while choosing your food to make your intermittent fasting more powerful.
Intermittent fasting is an excellent option for many who wish to lose weight. It is crucial to have healthy, nutritious food in your intermittent fasting meal plan. Go ahead and try these intermittent fasting foods to experience great results.
Also include physical activities such as yoga, exercise, and goodnight sleep to make your intermittent fasting regimen more efficient.
Need help with your meal planning?
Do you need some guidance with your meal plans? If you are finding it hard to plan your meals during intermittent fasting, try our 21-day Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan.
Get a healthy and convenient meal plan customized to meet all your health needs. Our healthy and delicious recipes can help you follow your intermittent fasting better. Take a simple quiz today to choose your meal plan.