One of the big health trends that is catching fire right now is Intermittent Fasting (AKA IF or IF fasting). As Healthline points out, “People are using it to lose weight, improve their health and simplify their lifestyles. Many studies show that it can have powerful effects on your body and brain and may even help you live longer.” Naturally, I like to be in the know about ways to improve my health and stay fit so I did a little reading on the subject. Intermittent fasting just means you schedule a couple of fasts (no eating) into your week (typically the fast will last for 16 hours each). Since IF fasting is being done to improve your health it makes sense to make an intermittent fasting meal plan to achieve your health goals easier and get nutrient dense food when you do feast.
If you are interested in learning more about Intermittent Fasting, let me suggest the brand new The Intermittent Fasting Cookbook by Nicole Poirier, the creator of mindbodyketo.com. It tells you everything you need to know to get started and answers all your questions about how and when to do IF. She also shares various Intermittent Fasting patterns and protocols along with delicious, nutrient dense recipes to break your fasts.
Fasting needs to be balanced with adequate food intake and nourishing ingredients. It requires planning to do Intermittent Fasting the right way. That is why I am so happy to be able to share an excerpt from The Intermittent Fasting Cookbook today on how to make an intermittent fast meal plan.
Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan Tips
Permission was provided to share this excerpt and photos with you here. Excerpt taken from:
Intermittent Fasting Cookbook: Fast-Friendly Recipes for Optimal Health, Weight Loss, and Results
FRONTLIST|On Sale Date: September 8, 2020
Fair Winds Press
You now know what your body needs, the best foods to eat to achieve that, and which foods to avoid (or limit) to make this intermittent fasting journey a pleasant and successful one. It’s time to figure out how to actually feed yourself during your feasting times to make the most of them and stay on track as much as possible! Meal planning is one of the best accountability tools out there to do just that.
There are countless free and for-purchase meal plans online and a growing number of apps to help you make it happen. The best way to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need through food that you actually want to eat is to plan meals for yourself.
As a chef, I plan meals for my delivery clients every week for the following week. Designing a menu in advance helps me figure out exactly what I need to buy at the store and what I already have on hand, saving both money and time.
I also meal plan for myself using the same principles, and it makes life so much easier when my feasting window opens, especially when I combine it with meal prep. Having the ingredients I need on hand—already chopped, marinated, or cooked—makes it much more likely that I will get the nutrients I want in a healthy form as opposed to a mish-mash of macros that doesn’t quite fit the bill.
How to Meal Plan [For Intermittent Fasting]
Once you have decided which fasting schedule you are going to follow and what your caloric needs are, it’s time to choose how many meals you need to plan and for how many days. This may be defined by something as simple as how frequently you aim to grocery shop during the week.
You also want to factor in whether you will be dining out and not plan to cook for those days. To stay on track during restaurant days, it’s a good idea to go online and choose what you might like from the menu before you get there—hungry can mean having a hard time making decisions.
Next, decide which kind of foods you want to eat and do some research! Spend time browsing through cookbooks, magazines, blogs, and Pinterest to find dishes that turn up your interest. Create a place to save the recipes you want to try, whether online or in a notebook. Of course, I recommend that you choose nutrient-dense ones loaded with all of the yummy ingredients that you read about earlier, but if you feel like fettuccine Alfredo one night, plan it! Make a note of the calorie count to ensure that it fits in your day, especially as you are getting used to IF.
For ADF practitioners, it is a great idea to find multiple low-calorie-per-serving recipes so that you can create multiple small meals in a day. It’s also fine to have multiple servings at one time to have one bulkier meal and cook less!
Another cooking-less tip is to seek out recipes that you can pre-portion and enjoy multiple times in a week.Casseroles are great for this. Rotisserie chickens can be transformed into all sorts of dishes and are one of my personal go-to picks to cook as little as possible outside of what I do for work.
I also like to read circulars and check what’s on sale. That may shape which recipes I decide to try in a given week and save me a few bucks while I’m at it.
At this point, it’s time to write down the ingredients you need and make your shopping list. Take an inventory of what you already have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer and cross those off the list before you go shopping so you don’t buy doubles. I once found myself with four cans of baking powder from different shopping trips. It eventually all got used, but it was a little crazy to realize I had so much on hand.
Speaking of which, make sure you always have your staples on hand, such as olive oil, your go-to spices, and whatever canned goods you use frequently. For me, that means always having cans of tuna, sardines, coconut milk, chicken broth, and diced tomatoes.
Take a look at your calendar and decide which day looks best for shopping and prepping. I usually shop the grocery store on Friday and the farmers’ market on Saturday, and meal prep on Sunday, but it’s whatever works best for your schedule. Weekend days tend to be the busiest time at the shops, so it will usually take longer.
List in hand, go shopping. Sticking to the list will save you both money and time.
If you CAN, shop and prep the same day. You don’t have to prepare all your meals in their entirety, but roasting a bunch of chicken thighs while pre-chopping the vegetables you plan to use during the week will make meals come together much more quickly when you need them to.
It’s worth considering signing up for meal plans through an app (see Useful Apps, page 187) that will automatically generate your shopping list for you. You can also do a Google or Pinterest search for a meal plan featuring almost any kind of dietary requirement, and I guarantee multiple plans will show up, some with grocery lists already included.
If you hate shopping more than anything and can afford the cost, meal kits from companies such as Sun Basket, Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Green Chef, Purple Carrot, and more can simplify your life tremendously. With Freshly, you don’t even have to cook—you just have to reheat. (I am not endorsing any particular companies here. I’m just trying to be real and acknowledge that not everybody loves reading recipes and roaming the aisles of the grocery store as much as I do.)
Thanks so much to Nicole for sharing these great Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan Strategies. At this point in her book she provides lots of amazing recipes that you can just plug into your meal plan with little effort, like this Thai Beef Salad with Fresh Herbs & Umami-Lime Dressing.
So are you interested in giving intermittent fasting a try? Is it part of your keto diet plans? Do you think you will try these intermittent fasting meal plan strategies?