One of the most appealing things about intermittent fasting is that there are no food restrictions; the only thing restricted is when you eat.
And yet, many people who follow an intermittent fasting schedule either follow a diet in addition to intermittent fasting or simply want to know what they should eat to have a healthier lifestyle.
You're probably here because you want a specific intermittent fasting food list from which to make a plan for your meals.
First, you should consult a licensed medical physician before making any significant dietary changes. IF isn’t for everyone, and therefore, it’s something to discuss with a licensed professional.
The purpose of this post is to give you examples of foods to include as part of a varied diet while you practice intermittent fasting; it is not to provide any professional/medical advice.
The following guidelines apply to healthier eating in general, which are good to follow when practicing intermittent fasting:
- Eat minimally processed foods, during your eating window, most of the time.
- Eat a balanced diet containing lean proteins, veggies, fruits, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
- Cook flavorful meals you’ll enjoy eating.
- Eat meals slowly until you’re satisfied.
Food List for Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting diets don’t require specific menus or food lists. That said, a lot of people that practice intermittent fasting find it helpful to follow a list of foods from which to create their menus.
For full explanations of the benefits of each of the food categories below, including a printable guide and meal plan to help you start with intermittent fasting, check out the Intermittent Fasting eBook for Women here.
Eating lean protein keeps you feeling full longer than consuming other foods and will help you maintain or build muscle.
- Chicken, pork, beef
- Dairy & eggs
- Beans and legumes
- Fish and shellfish
- Tofu and tempeh (if you include soy in your diet)
Fruit is highly nutritious and can be enjoyed while intermittent fasting. Fruits and vegetables are typically packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients (plant nutrients), and fiber. Examples of healthy fruits include:
Cup-for-cup, vegetables are some of the most micronutrient-rich foods you can consume. Bonus: they are relatively low in net carbohydrates (total carbs – fiber) and low in calories.
Some veggies you’ll find fresh or frozen year-round:
- Green beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Leafy greens: lettuce, arugula, etc.
Carbohydrates are not a guilty pleasure, they’re a necessity. Your body depends on them to function properly. Even low-carb and ketogenic diets require some carbohydrates so don’t eliminate them completely without medical supervision.
While fruits and vegetables are sources of carbohydrates, you’ll want to add some complex carbohydrates into your day to provide your body with nutrition and energy for fuel.
Some great carbohydrates to consider:
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Ancient grains
- Corn, popcorn
- Whole grain pasta
Fats are essential to incorporate into a varied diet because they help absorb many vitamins and minerals other foods provide.
Some great healthy fats to add in moderation:
- Nuts and seeds
- Coconut oil or MCT oil
- Butter or ghee
- Egg yolks (don’t throw them out!)
- Salmon and sardines
- Olive oil and avocado oil
Foods to Avoid When Intermittent Fasting
There are certain foods that aren’t as good to consume as part of any healthy eating diet or with an intermittent fasting regimen. You should limit foods that are calorie-dense and contain high amounts of added sugars, heart-unhealthy saturated fat, and sodium.
To maintain a healthy diet as part of your intermittent eating regimen, limit these foods:
- Snack chips
- Pretzels and crackers
- Fruit drinks
- Alcoholic drinks
- Highly sweetened coffee and teas
- Sugary cereals with little fiber and granola
7 Day Meal Plan for Intermittent Fasting
Making a 7-day meal plan that includes a variety of healthy foods, like the ones mentioned above, will be very helpful when it comes to making intermittent fasting part of your lifestyle.
Regardless of how long your fasting window is, planning your meals is a great step towards planning your success.
Whether you combine breakfast and lunch into one or plan out several smaller meals during your eating window, making sure you eat enough food and have some prepped on hand will help keep you satiated and away from convenience foods.
Here is what one of my 7-day meal plans looks like:
If you love the way this meal plan is laid out and want help getting started with intermittent fasting, you’ll love my Intermittent Fasting eBook For Women.
Intermittent Fasting for Women
If you want to dive deeper, I’ve created a book with everything you need to know about intermittent fasting & a 1-week meal plan so you know exactly what to eat during your eating windows. Check out my Intermittent Fasting Guide here.