a stopwatch sits on a towel to help with intermittent fasting

Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan & Food List

Losing weight and getting fitter requires patience, dedication, and the willingness to eat right.

Too many people focus on working out but forget the importance of structured eating. One of the most effective solutions for “eating right” is intermittent fasting. This is a robust eating pattern designed to optimize one’s caloric intake based on timing, number of meals, and types of meals.

Let’s take a look at intermittent fasting, its benefits, and how to build the perfect meal plan.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

In basic terms, intermittent fasting is an eating cycle (24 hours) that rotates between fasting and eating. It can work great for both men and women.

This is an umbrella term and there are several ways to approach the method. For example, some tend to have a 24-hour cycle, while others extend the cycle into a week-long plan.

Please note, intermittent fasting is solely focused on when you’re eating rather than what you’re eating. However, if you eat the right foods, it easier to see better results using the established cycle.

The cycle itself is split into pre-determined periods of fasting and eating.

The typical person will fast before eating in the morning (i.e. breakfast) but intermittent fasting prolongs this period.

This means a person is expected to avoid eating anything until noon. An example would be someone fasting between 9 PM to 12 PM (15 hours a day). The remaining 9 hours are left for eating and can be divided equally based on your caloric needs.

In general, the most popular option is the 16/8 method (16 hours of fasting: 8 hours of eating).

While this may seem like a real challenge, it’s quite easy once you get the hang of it. The human body will get used to the change and will reprogram itself around the cycle. This is why intermittent fasting works like a charm and is well-regarded in the world of nutrition.

It’s important to remember, the “fasting” period means no food at all. However, you are more than welcome to drink water, tea, coffee, or other zero calorie beverages. There are other advanced forms where the fasting period welcomes a small snack or supplement in between.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

1) Increase Ability to Burn Fat

a woman shows her old jeans after weight loss

While understanding the value of intermittent fasting, it all starts with your ability to burn fat.

If the human body continues to digest new food, it will never get the opportunity to burn through fat. This is why a “fasting” period is useful and brings about meaningful change. It can be a game-changer once the body starts to adapt to the change.

Over time, it becomes easier for the body to shed fat (especially stubborn fat!) and that’s where the value of intermittent fasting comes to the forefront.

2) May Increase Natural HGH (Human Growth Hormone)

Studies have shown intermittent fasting welcomes the production of HGH or human growth hormone in humans.

The body begins to release HGH as a way to counteract the increased fasting periods and this is ideal for improved performance, higher energy levels, and overall health. In fact, the increased HGH levels also help with performance in the gym on a day-to-day basis.

This can include being able to lift more, recover faster, and simply perform better.

3) Easier to Decrease Caloric Intake

What is one of the main reasons for seeing an increase in weight?

It’s the number of calories you’re eating.

By following a robust intermittent fasting meal plan, it becomes easier to manage the number of calories you’re consuming. Over time, you’re able to cut out a lot of unnecessary meals from your diet and that’s when weight loss becomes easier.

4) Improves Metabolic Rate

Your metabolic rate is dependent on the foods you’re eating, genetics, and your natural eating pattern.

The average person doesn’t think about this and that’s why their metabolic rate declines leading to weight gain. Instead of letting this happen, intermittent fasting is a wonderful way to regain control and feel good about your health.

Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan

Intermittent Fasting Schedule

Let’s focus on the 16/8 method for this meal plan because it’s the most popular among fitness experts and nutritionists.

Sunday (8 PM): Eat Final Meal of the Day
Sunday (11 PM): Go To Sleep
Monday (7 AM): Wake Up (Drink Water if Necessary)
Monday (12 PM): Fasting is Complete (16 Hours)
Monday (12 PM – 8 PM): Eat A Meal Every Two Hours (Divide Calories Evenly!)
Monday (8 PM): Eat Final Meal of the Day and Start “16 Hour” Fast

Foods to Eat

a bowl of fruit sits on the counter

The schedule is one part of a good eating pattern but what about the foods you’re eating?

While intermittent fasting as a concept doesn’t focus on what you’re eating, it’s important to build a meal plan around your goals. For example, if you want to lose weight, it’s best to reduce the number of calories consumed in the eight-hour window.

If you’re looking for a way to make your meal planning super easy, check out Personal Trainer Food – they even have a plan for intermittent fasting, so it’s the perfect fit!

My Sample Fasting Eating Schedule

Breakfast: Black Coffee to Maintain Fasting

Lunch: Usually Around Noon. I have been following a keto plan, so my foods will typically will look something like:

  • Unwich from Jimmy John’s
  • Snack Platter – Salami, Cheese, Olives, Chicken Wings, Celery with Cream Cheese, etc.
  • Salad with Protein

Dinner: I like to keep my dinners simple. It’s usually something like this

  • Protein: Chicken, Steak, Turkey, Fish
  • Side: Cauliflower Rice, Mashed Cauliflower, Riced Veggies
  • Salad

Keep it simple, clean, and consistent, and you should see awesome results!

Drinks

Beverages are easy to manage with this eating pattern.

You are able to consume drinks such as water (highly recommended!), tea, coffee, and zero calorie beverages. Don’t be afraid to mix things up between these options to stay fresh. However, you do want to keep drinking water throughout the day to stay hydrated!

What About Cravings?

What if you have a horrible craving in the middle of the day?

You never want to push yourself to the point where it becomes impossible to stand up or stay alert. This is a major risk and it’s important to listen to your body. If the craving is intense then go ahead and eat a small snack. You can cut the calories you’ve consumed from the eight-hour window later on.

Over time, your body will adapt and the cravings should lessen. I have found that following a low-carb eating plan and greatly reduced my hunger cravings too, for what that is worth!

My Results

a scale with tape measure on top of it

I have been following intermittent fasting off and on for about 2 years now. Of course, there are times where I have strayed, but I have been holding steady since the start of the year.

I have been able to lose 15+ pounds with the help of intermittent fasting. The best part is, once the weight is gone, it’s pretty easy to keep off if you stick with IM and a healthy eating plan – right now, I’m using the ketogenic diet..

Final Thoughts

Intermittent fasting is one of the most reputable and well-known options in the world.

It’s easy to follow, effective, and safe as long as you follow the steps. Take your time to build the perfect meal plan and push towards a healthier lifestyle.

This is a change your body will welcome and that’s what matters most!

Looking for an Intermittent Fasting plan that’s easy to follow and effective? CLICK HERE to see our top-rated program.

UPDATE: I’m working on my PDF so check back soon for a fasting/keto plan that I used to drop 15 lbs!