An intermittent fasting meal plan example is like the Holy Grail to many people trying this eating plan for the first time. Because it is not a set diet like many others, it can leave you confused as to what and when you are supposed to eat. If you have been looking for an intermittent fasting guideline to help you navigate this meal plan then look no further. In this article we are going to give you 3 different intermittent fasting meal plan examples, tell you about the different kinds of IF, and tell you how this eating plan can help with weight loss.
How To Do Intermittent Fasting For Beginners?
Intermittent fasting is all the rage these days, everyone is doing it and they all have a story about how this way of eating has improved their lives and helped them lose weight. As great as this is, as a beginner trying this eating plan for the first time, you may feel like a fish out of water trying to understand all the rules, fasting times, feeding windows and more.
With this intermittent fasting you will be able to understand all the terminologies and pick the right intermittent fasting plan for you.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
This is not a diet. Instead, it is an eating plan that cycles between periods of fasting and eating.
What Are Fasting And Feeding Windows?
These are periods in which you fast or go without eating and periods when you are allowed to eat. During the fasting window, you are not allowed to drink or eat anything with calories. If you have to eat, it is advised that you stick to water and/or unsweetened black coffee and tea (13).
Are There Any Rules To Follow While Doing Intermittent Fasting (IF)?
Other than sticking to your feeding and fasting times, there aren’t really any rules to follow on IF. However, if you would like to see faster results, it is best to eat within your recommended calorie intake and stick (as much as possible) to only consuming healthier foods that are higher in nutrients.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
While many follow this eating plan for its benefits, not many are actually aware about how intermittent fasting for weight loss works. Here is how:
- During IF, you automatically eat at a calorie deficit – A calorie deficit is the answer to weight loss and while intermittent fasting you do it without even thinking about it. Because your feeding window is much smaller than it used to be, you will find that you are eating less food than you did before, putting you at a deficit.
- Intermittent fasting also puts your body in ketosis – For anyone who is not aware, ketosis state is a process whereby once your body lacks carbohydrates to use as fuel, it turns and starts burning stored body fat, turning it into ketones which it then uses as fuel (9).
How Do You Do Intermittent Fasting
There is no one set way on how to do intermittent fasting. This eating plan has numerous variations and the trick to it is finding which one works best for you. Some types of intermittent fasting methods include:
Hourly Intermittent Fasting
As the name suggests you have to follow this way of eating daily. Some of the daily IF plans include:
- 12/12 – This is a great method for a beginner who does not think that IF would be great for them or one who is afraid that they might get too hungry during the day. The best thing about the 12/12 method is that, most of the 12-hour fasting window is spent asleep.
- 14/10 – This method restricts your eating time to 10 hours a day and is said to work best on women. It is also a great plan for those who like eating in the morning as the feeding window typically starts at 10 am and stops at 8 pm – You can, however, change the time frame to suit your needs and lifestyle.
- 16/8 -While this method is said to work best on men, it is also used by women and is the most popular intermittent fasting method with beginners. People on the 16/8 method fast for 16 hours and their meal times typically start at noon and stop at 10 pm. The 16/8 works well for those who typically do not feel hungry in the morning or are busy during the first half of the day.
- 18/6 – A reverse of the 16/8, this is a stricter form of IF and those following it typically eat only two meals a day.
- 20/4 – Also known as the ‘Warrior Diet’ it only gives you a 4-hour eating window everyday and is the strictest of all daily IF methods.
Other Forms Of Intermittent Fasting
If you do not want to do IF these methods might work better for you:
The 5:2 Diet
On this version, participants eat normally for 5 days a week and drastically cut down their caloric intake on the remaining 2 days. On these fasting days, men and women generally consume 600 and 500 calories, respectively.
The Alternate Day Fast
Participants fast every other day of the week. During the fasting days, some do not eat at all while others only allow up to 500 calories
This involves fasting for 24 hours. On this variation, you are only allowed to have unsweetened coffee or tea, water, and other calorie-free drinks.
When Should You Eat When Intermittent Fasting?
The question on how to schedule meals when you are intermittent fasting is one that bothers many IF beginners. The truth is, there is no one set way to schedule your meals. What we would advise you to do is look at the hours in your feeding window and divide them according to how many meals you plan on eating on the day. I.e., a person with an 8 hour feeding window who plans to eat 3 large meals can eat every 2 and a half hours. The same person can eat every two hours if they choose to have 4 smaller meals instead.
Timing is all dependent on your feeding window and how much meals you need to eat during this time to keep you satisfied. Remember to eat within your macros.
3-Day Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan Example
Meal 1 – Breakfast Sandwich
4 multigrain sandwich burgers, 4 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, 4 eggs, 2 cups fresh baby spinach, 1 medium-sized tomato, 4 tbsp reduced-fat feta cheese, salt and fresh black pepper to taste
This makes 4 servings
Calories: 242. Fats: 11.7 g, Protein: 13 g, Carbs: 25 g.
Meal 2 – Coconut Rice Curry
For the curry – 1 tsp olive oil, 1/2 yellow onion, 1 garlic clove, 1 tbsp minced ginger, 1.5 cups chickpeas, 2 cups canned tomatoes, 2 cups small cauliflower florets, 1 sweet potato, 1 can light coconut milk, 1 cup vegetable broth, 1 tbsp garam masala, 1/2 tbsp curry powder, 1 tsp salt, 2 cups chopped baby spinach
For the rice – 1.5 cups uncooked brown rice, 1 can light coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon salt
Calories: 397. Fats: 11.4 g, Protein: 10.5 g, Carbs: 62.5 g.
Meal 3 – Rice with Honey Garlic Shrimp
1 tbsp coconut oil, 453 g shrimp, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tbsp ginger, 1 small yellow onion, 1 red bell pepper, 1 cup peas, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp orange zest, 2 cups cooked
This serves 4 people
Calories for one serving: 361. Fats: 5 g, Protein: 28 g, Carbs: 41 g.
Meal 4 – Low-Carb Chicken Stir Fry
3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce, 1 tbsp honey, 2 tsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp cornstarch, 2 tsp sesame seeds, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 566 g boneless and skinless chicken breasts, 1 onion medium, 1-inch finely chopped ginger root, 2 cups broccoli florets, 1/4 tsp black pepper
This serves 4 people
Calories for one serving: 256. Fats: 5 g, Protein: 28 g, Carbs: 41 g.
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1256. Fats: 46.1 g, Protein: 86.5 g, Carbs: 143.5 g.
Meal One – Pancakes
2 large eggs, 2 tbsp oil, 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk, 2 tbsp water, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 cup almond flour, coconut oil for frying
This makes 9 pancakes
Calories for 2 pancakes: 252. Fats: 20 g, Protein: 8 g, Carbs: 12 g.
Meal Two – Smoothie
1 medium-sized banana, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 2 tbsp rolled oatmeal, 1/4 cup protein powder, 1 tbsp creamy peanut butter, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
This is enough for 2 servings
Calories: 204. Fats: 6 g, Protein: 12 g, Carbs: 29 g.
Meal 3 – Fruity Fresh Quinoa Salad
For the salad – 2.5 cups baby spinach, 1 cup sliced strawberries, 43.5 crumbled goat cheese, 2 tbsp thinly sliced almonds
For the quinoa – 1/4 cup quinoa, 1/2 cup water, a pinch of salt
For the dressing – 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp lemon zest, 1.5 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp honey, black pepper
Calories: 693. Fats: 47.9 g, Protein: 20.8 g, Carbs: 51.3 g.
Meal 4 – Tuna Salad
680 g tuna, 2 small dill pickles, 1 large celery rib, 1/4 cup red onion, 1 garlic clove, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp salt, black pepper to taste, 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup mayo
This is enough for 10 servings
Calories: for one serving 110. Fats: 5 g, Protein: 15 g, Carbs: 2 g.
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1259. Fats: 78.9 g, Protein: 55.8 g, Carbs: 94.3 g.
Meal 1 – Donuts (2)
100 g Medjool dates, 100 g wholemeal self-raising flour, 100 g self-raising flour, 30 g ground almonds, 1 large egg, olive oil, 320 g blueberries, 1 tablespoon honey, 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
This makes 4 servings
Calories: 361. Fats: 11.3 g, Protein: 12.5 g, Carbs: 55.6 g.
Meal 2 – Chicken Salad bowl
Salad ingredients – 8 cups lettuce, 1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese, 1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, 1 cup diced apples, 1 cup fresh blueberries, 6 cooked bacon strips
The chicken – 453 g boneless skinless chicken breasts, 3 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp ground pepper
Dressing – 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup yellow mustard, 6 tbsp honey, 1/2 tbsp white vinegar, 1 tsp garlic powder, pepper to taste
This makes 4 servings
Calories for one serving: 521. Fats: 19 g, Protein: 42 g, Carbs: 48 g.
Meal 3 – Cobb Salad
Dressing – 1 cup plain yogurt, 1/4 cup dill, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Salad ingredients – 1 small container of arugula, 453 g cooked chicken breast, 2 hard boiled eggs, 3 fried bacon strips, 2 cooked ears of corn, 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, 2 avocados, 1 pint grape tomatoes, 2 tbsp blue cheese
Calories for one serving: 408. Fats: 24 g, Protein: 34 g, Carbs: 18 g.
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1290. Fats: 76 g, Protein: 88.5 g, Carbs: 121.6 g.
Simple Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan Example Keto Diet
If you are looking to follow a more structured eating plan, then this intermittent fasting keto meal plan example could be the one for you. The keto diet has gained popularity in recent years not only for its effectiveness in treating and dealing with major illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), and Alzheimer’s disease, but also for its results in relation to weight loss (3).
By themselves, the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting for weight loss are great plans, however, combining them may offer even better results as it may boost your ketosis thus resulting in faster fat loss (6). Here is a 3-day ketogenic intermittent fasting meal plan example to help you get started.
Meal 1 – Green Smoothie
1 and a half cups almond milk, 28 g baby spinach, 50 g cucumber, 50 g celery, 50 g avocado, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 10 drops stevia, 1 scoop Protein Powder, 1/2 tsp chia seeds, 1 tsp matcha powder
Calories: 375. Fats: 25 g, Protein: 30 g, Carbs: 4 g.
Snack – Yogurt And Nuts
56 g whole-milk Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp chopped walnuts, 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Calories: 160. Fats: 12.5 g, Protein: 8 g, Carbs: 6 g.
Meal 2 – No Crust Cheesy Quiche
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream, 85 g broccoli florets, 4 strips bacon, 3 large eggs, 3 scallions, 1 tomato, 1 tsp dried basil, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
This makes 4 servings
Calories for one serving: 350. Fats: 25 g, Protein: 24 g, Carbs: 7 g.
Meal 3 – Butter Shrimp
455 g peeled and deveined shrimp, 6 tbsp butter, 5 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup chicken stock, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp minced parsley
This makes 4 servings
Calories for one serving: 307. Fats: 20 g, Protein: 27 g, Carbs: 3 g.
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1192. Fats: 82.5 g, Protein: 89 g, Carbs: 20 g.
Meal 1 – Low-Carb Hash Browns With Bacon
450 g shredded radishes, 3 cups grated cauliflower, 3 minced garlic cloves garlic, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 3 tbsp olive oil, sea salt and black pepper, to taste, 6 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
This makes 4 servings – Calories: 196. Fats: 5 g, Protein: 7 g, Carbs: 8.75 g.
Serve with 2 boiled eggs and a cup of coconut milk
Calories for the whole meal: 370. Fats: 17 g, Protein: 20 g, Carbs: 10.75 g.
Snack – Avocado Boat
1/2 medium-sized avocado, 50 g cooked prawns, 2 tbsp light mayo, 2 tsp tomato paste, black pepper and chilli flakes to taste
Calories: 226. Fats: 18 g, Protein: 8 g, Carbs: 11 g
Meal 2 – Avocado Chicken salad with ‘Pasta’
For the pasta – 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, 2 medium-sized zucchini, 2 tbsp grated parmesan, salt and pepper, to taste
This makes 2 servings
For the salad – 2 cups finely diced poached chicken, 1 medium-sized avocado, 1/3 cup diced celery, 2 tbsp red onion, 2 tbsp cilantro, 2 tbsp avocado oil, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste
This makes 3 servings
Calories for one serving: 386. Fats: 28 g, Protein: 23 g, Carbs: 11 g
Meal 3 – No Bread Sandwich
1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, 3 ham slices, 6 salami slices, 6 pepperoni slices, 6 provolone slices, 1/2 cup shredded romaine, 1/4 cup roasted red peppers
This makes 3 sandwiches
Calories for one: 390. Fats: 34 g, Protein: 16 g, Carbs: 3 g
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1372. Fats: 97 g, Protein: 67 g, Carbs: 35.75 g
Meal 1 – Coconut Berry Porridge
For the porridge – 1 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup ground flaxseed, 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 10 drops liquid stevia, 1 pinch salt
Toppings – 2 tbsp butter, 60 g blueberries, 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, 28 g shaved coconut
This makes 2 servings
Calories: 405. Fats: 34 g, Protein: 10 g, Carbs: 8 g
Snack – Fruits
1/4 cup raspberries, 3 tbsp cream
Calories: 116. Fats: 12.2 g, Protein: 0.4 g, Carbs: 3.7 g
Meal 2 – Lemon Butter Chicken
150 g white fish fillet, 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 lemon, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 bunch broccolini, 50 g butter, 1/2 tsp garlic paste
Calories: 461. Fats: 47 g, Protein: 3 g, Carbs: 7 g
Meal 3 – Stuffed Salmon Rolls
4 (141 g) salmon fillets, 340 g ricotta, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, 2 tbsp basil, 2 tbsp lemon zest, 226 g asparagus, 1 tbsp butter, 1/2 cup chicken broth, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tsp cornstarch, salt and pepper to taste
Calories: 400. Fats: 21.7 g, Protein: 43.8 g, Carbs: 8.8 g
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1382. Fats: 114.9 g, Protein: 57.2 g, Carbs: 27.5 g
Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan Example Raw Food Diet
Meal 1 – Fruit Salad
3 cups fresh organic raspberries, 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, 1/2 avocado, 1/3 cup raw walnuts, juice of 2 lemons, 1/8 tsp lemon zest, 1 tbsp maple syrup
This makes 5 servings
Calories for 1 serving: 159. Fats: 8.2 g, Protein: 2.6 g, Carbs: 21.4 g
Meal 2 – Fruit And Peanut Butter
1 green apple, 2 tbsp natural peanut butter, 1 and a half cups peanut butter
Calories: 358. Fats: 16 g, Protein: 9 g, Carbs: 51 g
Meal 3 – Collard Green Wraps (11)
4 large collard leaves, 1 red bell pepper, 1 avocado, 2 to 3 ounces alfalfa sprouts, 1/2 lime, 1 cup raw pecans, 1 tbsp tamari, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp grated ginger, 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
This makes 8 wraps. 1 serving = 2 wraps
Calories for one serving: 293. Fats: 26 g, Protein: 4 g, Carbs: 11 g
Meal 4 – Vegan Sushi (12)
For the sushi – 4 raw nori sheets, 2 cups cauliflower florets, 1 carrot, 1/2 capsicum, 2 spring onions, 1/2 avocado, a handful of cilantro, a handful sunflower sprouts
For the sauce – 2 soaked medjool dates, 1 tbsp tahini, thumb-sized ginger, 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp tamari, 1/4 cup water, a squeeze of lemon
This makes 2 servings
Calories for one serving: 338.5. Fats: 17 g, Protein: 13 g, Carbs: 40 g
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1148.5. Fats: 67.2 g, Protein: 28.6 g, Carbs: 123.4 g
Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan Example: Is Intermittent Fasting Good For Weight Loss?
Yes, it is. As previously stated, it helps you eat at a calorie deficit and puts your body in ketosis, both factors that help you burn fat and lose weight.
In 2014, one study comparing the effects of intermittent fasting and daily calorie restriction saw that the people doing IF lose 4 to 7 percent of their waist circumference (8). The results from another study in 2016 showed that after 8 weeks, the participants doing the 16/8 intermittent fasting method lost more weight (around 3.5 pounds of fat) than those who didn’t follow IF (4).
Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan Example: What Are The Cons Of Intermittent Fasting?
As a beginner you may experience some short-term side effects such as hunger, headaches, dizziness, and irritability as your body adjusts to your new eating plan. However, these effects often go away in no time.
It should be noted, however, that IF is not recommended for everyone. People who should not try this eating plan include (10):
- Anyone suffering from diabetes
- Pregnant women
- People suffering from (or have a history of) and eating disorder
- People who take medications for blood pressure or heart disease
- Children and teenagers
The Bottom Line
Using IF has been proven to be quite effective for weight loss and other health benefits. We ho[e that this intermittent fasting meal plan will be of use to you as you start your journey. Be sure to first consult your doctor before undertaking this eating plan for weight loss.
Sticking to a healthy diet based on your health needs, allergies and preferences is a great idea, however when combined with a workout plan that meets your goals, it might bring you significant benefits. Better mood, stronger muscles and endurance are just some.