Is fasting all about not eating? Well, not really. Fasting is all about eating at a particular time within a specific window. You are not starving yourself. You are giving your body time to adjust itself to a state of using up your body’s energy reserves rather than functioning off of never-ending meals.
Now, you can’t eat forever. You will get hungry, and your body needs more fuel to function. What you choose to eat during your eating windows has as much effect as rigidly sticking to your fast.
Though intermittent fasting is less about what to eat and more about when to eat, it’s essential to break the fast the right way to achieve the best possible results.
What Not To Eat During Your Eating Window
One mistake that fasters often make is eating anything and everything during their eating window. Many believe that all calories are equal and that their body will burn what they eat in their following fasting stage. But this is a little misguided.
Of course, the body burns calories, and mostly fat, during your fast, but you still need to practice a healthy, well-balanced diet for the best results.
Now, there are plenty of substantial foods you should or can eat, but there are some you should altogether avoid at all costs.
Look to avoid these foods during intermittent fasting (and in general):
- Fast Foods
- Processed Foods
- Simple Carbs
- Sugary Sodas
- Sweetened Fruit Juice
The Best Food to Eat While Intermittent Fasting
Calories still count while fasting, and you should strive to get the most nutrition possible out of each calorie you consume.
Ideally, you should eat the same healthy foods during intermittent fasting (IF) you would on any healthy diet. That means eating lots of vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, seafood, whole grains, dairy, and legumes. Sticking to these food groups is a good start, but even within these groups, some choices are still better than others.
Veggies – Incorporate many cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts into your diet. They have tons of fiber to aid in digestion, and they also help you feel fuller, longer.
Beans & Legumes – Black beans, chickpeas, and regular green peas are not only great for boosting energy levels but are also a handy source of protein.
Fruits & Berries – You are going to want to avoid overdoing fruit since many contain a lot of natural sugar, which can affect insulin levels. But berries are your best choice thanks to their high antioxidant value. Adding berries and nuts to salads will guarantee you get a medley of nutrition in one serving.
Nuts – Nuts contain plenty of good fats and loads of antioxidants. Be careful; they are also very high in calories. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews are all great choices.
Protein – Lean beef, chicken, and seafood are all excellent sources of protein. Eggs are another excellent source, and they are fast and easy to prepare. Eating more protein helps satisfy your hunger longer. It also allows you to build muscle that is needed to boost your metabolism.
Seafood – Seafood is full of essential nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids. People who usually eat more Omega-3 reduce their risk of heart disease, dementia, and depression. Salmon, shrimp, and trout are some perfect nutrient-dense choices.
Whole Grains – Whole grains are another excellent protein source and fiber. Avoid white rice and white bread – choose whole-grain ones instead. Try some new foods like sorghum, spelt, or kamut. You might find something that you love, and that will make eating healthy that much easier.
Healthy Fats – Nuts and seafood are fantastic sources of healthy fats. When selecting fats for cooking, olive oil and coconut oil are your best choices.
Dairy – You might want to go with low or no-fat dairy, but stick with the original stuff. Low-fat dairy products often have fewer nutrients, and good fat won’t hurt your fast.
What to Drink While Fasting
Guess what? It would be best to drink plenty of water to ensure you’re hydrated during both phases of IF. But you aren’t limited to drinking only water.
It’s very ok to have zero-calorie beverages during your fasting AND eating window. But be wary, artificial sweeteners in diet sodas can trigger sugar cravings and make it harder to stick to your timetable.
Another viable option is bone broth. Bone broth is famous for its incredibly high nutritional value and its ability to stave off food cravings. However, while bone broth isn’t likely to break your fast, it still has some calories, and technically you should avoid extra calories during your fasting period. Avoiding extra calories wherever you can make it easier for your body to start burning those stored calories. The fewer calories you consume, and the more strict your fast, the more positive effects you’ll feel way sooner!
Many dieters enjoy having a cup of tea or coffee in the morning, and they find it helps them stay on schedule and more easily skip breakfast. While totally cool, remember to stick with black coffee and not add any cream or sugar.
And of course, water! You can drink other options, sure, but nothing will be as beneficial and helpful to your fast as good, old H20.
Last But Not Least
There aren’t any concrete or completely unbreakable rules regarding what to eat during intermittent fasting. Your number one objective is to stick with your fasting schedule and eat as healthy as personally possible. If you can lower the number of calories you take in and make more nutritious choices, you will start to feel better and likely start seeing the pounds melt away.