Before I say anything about what to eat on intermittent fasting for weight loss, I want to emphasize that one of the main benefits of intermittent fasting is that you can eat what you want. You don’t need to count macros, and calories, or worry about dieting. It’s simple! You pick your fasting window and go from there. However, there are some basic guidelines you can follow for optimal health and improved weight loss results. This is what I will share today.
What to Eat on Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
If you are asking the question what to eat on intermittent fasting for weight loss, you may be wondering if there are foods that promote weight loss. The typical eating for weight loss advice is that you should consume plenty of low-calorie high-fiber foods like fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, and legumes. It’s not bad advice but not everyone will thrive on this type of diet. What matters most is including plenty of nutrient-dense foods in your diet.
What Are Nutrient-Dense Foods?
I rarely talk about nutrient-dense foods without mentioning the ANDI score. Dr. Joel Fuhrman created called the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) to measure the nutrient density of foods. This scoring system rates foods on a scale of 1 to 1,000 based on nutrient content per calorie. See his rankings here.
I created a little infographic to help you visualize the most nutrient-dense foods (the number between brackets is the ANDI score).
What About Meat and Fats?
You will notice that meat, dairy, fish, seafood, and oils didn’t make it on the list. It doesn’t mean you should avoid them. Many health experts recommend using them as condiments (including Dr. Joel Fuhrman). However, various special diets like the carnivore diet, the keto diet, and the paleo diet do include lots of meat and oils while excluding many nutrient-dense foods. Honestly, that’s why I have been loving intermittent fasting so much for weight loss. You DON’T have to obsess over what to eat. If on top of wondering what to eat on intermittent fasting for weight loss, you have health issues that you would like to conquer, the combination of fasting and eating plenty of fruits and veggies may be enough to heal your body.
It was for me, I tried all the healing protocols under the sun over two decades. Eventually, I discovered that fasting long enough to get into ketosis a few times a week (20-24 hours) was all I needed.
All that to say, yes, if you want to eat meat and healthy oils, go ahead!
Choosing Your Meats and Fats
As a general rule, try to avoid factory-farmed raised meats and seed oils. Now, I don’t stick to this rule 100% of the time. I do eat gluten-free hamburger patties made with factory-farmed meat and I love potato chips even when they are made with seed oil. It’s a matter of balance. Listen to your body and adjust your diet accordingly. Read Top 7 Most Common Signs You Need to Change Your Diet for more guidance.
Grass-Fed Vs. Grain-Fed Beef
There was a time I recall when most mainstream sources denied that there was even a difference between the nutrient content of grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Now, even Google will show you some “reputable” sources to support the claim, so yeah… You should try to pick your beef accordingly, your body will thank you later. Here are some of the most notable differences:
- Fatty acids composition: Grass-fed beef contains up to five times as much omega 3s and 30-70% less monosaturated fat than grain-fed beef.
- More nutritious: Grass-fed beef contains more beta carotene and vitamin E.
Read this in-depth review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef to learn more.
A few points to remember:
- An imbalance between omega 3s and omega 6s causes excess inflammation. Our modern diet is deficient in omega 3s and contains too many omega 6s.
- Monosaturated fats are thought to be “heart-healthy fats”. Grain-fed beef contains more monosaturated fats because it contains more fat overall. Grass-fed beef is leaner.
- Grass-fed beef has a higher concentration of fat-soluble vitamins, particularly beta carotene and vitamin E.
Should You Eat Plant-Based?
I know many vegans who thrive on a whole food plant-based diet. In fact, my 30-Day Intermittent Fasting Transformation includes a vegan meal plan. However, there is lots of confusion when it comes to the idea that plant-based is the ultimate whole food diet and that a whole food diet is best.
You don’t eat the shell of a walnut, you don’t eat the leaves of a potato plant or the hooves of a cow. Not all foods found in nature are created for human consumption. What about unprocessed foods? Cooking, grinding, and slicing are forms of processing that can make food more digestible and palatable. Not all processed foods are bad! Are you more confused than before? Don’t worry! What to eat on intermittent fasting for weight loss is actually quite simple. That’s the point I want to get across. Continue reading for my simple intermittent fasting food guidelines.
Intermittent Fasting Food Guidelines
If you would need some extra help to decide what to eat on intermittent fasting for weight loss, I do have some simple additional guidelines you can follow:
- Reduce your sugar intake: One of the main ways intermittent fasting support weight loss is by reducing the need for insulin in your body. Reducing your sugar intake will also accomplish that.
- Eat one large salad a day: I mentioned earlier that high fiber and low-calorie foods can be an effective tool to support your weight loss goals. Making sure you eat one large salad a day is an excellent goal.
- Eat two cups of nonstarchy vegetables a day: More vegetables! Non-starchy vegetables are high on the ANDI chart, they are filled with nutrients. Sauteed broccoli as a side dish is a quick and easy way to increase your non-starchy vegetable consumption.
Food is not just about providing nourishment for your body. It’s about enjoyment and pleasure! You don’t need to stop eating the foods you love to achieve your health and weight loss results while intermittent fasting.
What to Eat on Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss Menu Plans
As I mentioned earlier, I offer intermittent fasting meal plans in my 30-Day Intermittent Fasting Transformation program. I know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by the abundance of options available. For many years, I would buy weekly meal plans because I did not want to have to think about what to eat. That’s why I included the following meal plans in my program:
- 30-Day Clean Eating Meal Plan
- Vegan Gut Healing Meal Plan
- Paleo Meal Plan
- Vegan Meal Plan
- Metabolism Boosting Meal Plan
The meal plans are easy to follow and include all the recipes. Added bonus: since you are intermittent fasting, you will not need the three daily meals included in the plans each day and you will get to pick your favorites. Check out the post My 7-Day Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss Meal Plan to see how you can use my recipes and meal plans when you are intermittent fasting.
I hope that this post about what to eat on intermittent fasting for weight loss helped clarify the optimal diet for you. The bottom line is: eat the foods you love but learn to enjoy the foods that serve your body best because they are rich in nutrients. The rest will follow.