There’s a heck of a lot of buzz around intermittent fasting these days – so if you’re tempted to try it, I don’t blame you. The idea is simple: implement a 16-hour fast every single day if you’re trying the 16:8 protocol, or include two 500-calorie days a week (and eat normally the other five) if you’re up for 5:2.
As a dietitian, I think one of the main perks of intermittent fasting is that it doesn’t actually focus on what you put in your mouth. Instead, it’s only concerned with when you eat. In practicality, however, what you eat still plays a crucial role in your overall health and success, so it shouldn’t be overlooked – and that’s where I come in.
Behold: your perfect day on a plate when you’re intermittent fasting.
16:8 day on a plate
With the 16:8 method, you have an eight hour window to eat every single day, at any time you please. That could be 6am to 2pm if you’re a morning person, 2pm to 9pm if you’re a night owl, or anything in between. Note that you’re not supposed to jam your regular three meals and snacks into the eating window, but instead, eat according to your hunger and the time of day (that is, if you’re eating between 12pm and 8pm, have lunch and dinner, and a few snacks in between if you’re hungry).
With this varietal of intermittent fasting, there are no caloric restrictions, so I’d simply encourage you to focus on ramping up the nutritional quality of your meals. To give you a little healthy eating inspo, here are 10 well-balanced, dietitian-approved meals that offer lots of good nutrition and will keep you feeling full for hours – perfect for the 16:8 method of intermittent fasting.
Throw in some fresh fruit, a handful of nuts and seeds, and some plain yoghurt for snacking, and you’re good to go.
5:2 day on a plate
5:2 requires a little more planning for fasting days because your calorie intake is capped at around 500 (and then you eat as you habitually would the remaining five days a week). I’d suggest focusing on volume eating, that is, eating as much as you can for as few calories as possible. One tactic is to skip one meal a day in favour of two more substantial meals, and another is to spread your calories evenly across breakfast, lunch and dinner – you can choose whatever works best for you.
Again, nutrient-density is key, so focusing on whole foods wherever possible should be your top priority. Without further ado, here are 10 low-calorie meals and snacks that you’ll be able to mix and match to suit 5:2 intermittent fasting (note that water and black tea and coffee are calorie-free, so drink up as much as you please).
This content was originally published here.