When following an intermittent fasting (IF) meal plan, it’s important to eat the right amount of food to give your body what it needs and keep hunger at bay while supporting healthy digestion. By doing so, your energy levels are given a boost even while you are dropping pounds.
Filling your plate during IF with foods high in nutrients and vitamins instead of empty calories gives your body fuel, helps you lose weight, and makes it easier to stay on track with the plan. Lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables and fruit, dairy, and beans and nuts are all wise choices to incorporate into your diet. Try to cut out processed items, fast food, and anything high in unhealthy fat. You will notice these suggestions are no different than those recommended by any healthy diet plan and are even more important when you are going periods of time without eating.
Even during times when you are skipping food, it’s essential to stay hydrated. All organs and tissues in your body depend on it, and when you are limiting food, a lack of water can lead to serious issues. Keep your water bottle handy and take sips throughout the day.
Not only is fish rich in healthy fats and protein, but this brain food also contains ample amounts of vitamin D. It provides more nutrient “currency” when you need to get more nourishment in less time.
We’ve all heard about the superpowers avocados possess when it comes to nutrition. High in healthy fats, avocados have abundant vitamins packed in their yellow-green flesh. A study found that even half an avocado at a meal can fill you up for hours longer than if you passed on this fruit.
When you are spacing out when you eat, it’s critical to incorporate options that provide fiber and nutrients to keep you regular and feeling full, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.
You can easily give yourself an energy boost and drop pounds by adding healthy carbohydrates like legumes and beans. Options like lentils, black beans, and chickpeas have been shown to help with weight loss, even in plans where calories are not restricted.
Studies have shown that potatoes are a highly satisfying and filling option, and are packed full of vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, and fiber. Whether it’s a white, red, or sweet potato that sounds appealing, these spuds have no fat, sodium, or cholesterol. (Sorry, potato chips do not count.)
While you don’t want to overdo it on the carbs, whole grains in moderation are a good addition to your IF plan. Unlike refined grains that you want to avoid, whole grains are rich in fiber and protein and a little goes a long way in keeping you full.
Getting as much protein as possible is important for keeping full and building muscle, so go ahead and crack open a few eggs. One large egg has 6 grams of protein and is easy to cook. Just boil, scramble, or poach! With numerous ways to prepare them, eggs are a versatile addition to your intermittent fasting plan.
While at times during your fast you may feel like you’re going nuts, don’t fret; just grab a handful of almonds or walnuts instead. A pro at curbing hunger and providing good unsaturated fats, nuts are low in calories and high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and fiber. Research suggests that polyunsaturated fat, like that found in walnuts, can actually affect how your body responds to hunger and helps it to feel full.
Highly nutritious and delicious, berries are easy to digest and can help supply your muscles and liver with glycogen for when your body needs energy to burn. Adding just a handful of strawberries to your day can provide all the vitamin C you need and give your immune system an added boost. On top of that, berries are packed with flavonoids, which offer huge health benefits with their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant superpowers. A recent study found that those who ate food high in flavonoids had a lower body mass index or complications from obesity.
The most important component of IF is to eat a well-balanced, vitamin-rich diet. Combining protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats helps you stay satisfied longer while eating less frequent meals. Plus, you optimize the nutrition you receive during those meals and provide your body with the fuel it needs to maintain its energy levels while you’re losing weight.