Top Foods for Intermittent Fasting

Top Foods for Intermittent Fasting

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting (IF) stands out among the plethora of trending diet options as one of the most widely embraced health practices globally and with good reason. Throughout history, fasting has been intertwined with personal, spiritual, or religious practices, as well as being borne out of necessity when food was scarce.

Scientific research underscores the profound impact intermittent fasting has on our health, weight management, metabolic function, and aging process. The benefits are multifaceted, encompassing enhanced insulin sensitivity, targeted fat reduction including visceral fat, favorable alterations in cholesterol levels, heightened production of growth hormone (HGH), and improved gut health.

Intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting, with an emphasis not only on what foods to consume but also when to consume them, to maximize its efficacy.

Types of Intermittent Fasting

Types of Intermittent Fasting
  1. The 12:12 Method: This entails fasting for 12 hours daily, restricting eating to a specific window such as between 7 am and 7 pm.
  2. The 16:8 Method: This involves fasting for 16 hours each day and confining eating to a designated period, typically from noon to 8 pm.
  3. Eat-Stop-Eat: This approach necessitates abstaining from food for a full 24-hour period, once or twice weekly, starting from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
  4. The 5:2 Diet: This regimen involves limiting calorie intake to about 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week.

Given that fasting comprises a portion of the day, it's crucial to devise a nutrition strategy that ensures adequate nutrient intake. Consuming a diet high in refined carbohydrates, refined oils, insufficient protein, lacking in vegetables, and indulging in unhealthy snacks undermines the benefits of intermittent fasting.

What Should I Eat While Fasting?

What Should I Eat While Fasting?

Now that you know when to eat, you may be pondering what foods are suitable during your eating window. Many intermittent fasting methods may inadvertently lead to deficiencies in essential macronutrients like protein or healthy fats, as well as micronutrients such as vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, or electrolytes.

It's imperative to partake in satisfying and complete meals during your eating window, rather than adopting a low-calorie approach. The objective is to derive comprehensive nutrition from fewer meals.

Here are the recommended foods to include while fasting:

Protein: Essential for overall health, immune function, and muscle maintenance, protein plays a pivotal role in blood sugar regulation and metabolic rate optimization. Incorporating cultured protein sources like plain yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, or cottage cheese can also foster a healthy gut microbiome.

Optimal protein sources include:

  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Ribeye steak
  • Pork chops
  • Chicken thighs
  • Cottage cheese
  • Plain yogurt
  • Plain kefir
  • Whey protein powder (free from added sugar)
  • Pea protein powder (free from added sugar)
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds

Meeting protein requirements during fasting periods can be challenging. Supplementing with protein powder during your eating window can be advantageous, providing essential amino acids such as L-glutamine or branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).

Healthy Fats

Healthy Fats

Essential for optimal health, healthy fats often provoke unwarranted apprehension in many individuals. However, embracing them is essential as they play a crucial role in cellular function, energy production, hormone synthesis, insulation, and organ protection. Moreover, incorporating fats into the diet is indispensable for metabolizing fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin E, multivitamins, and certain herbs and spices such as turmeric or rosemary, as these vitamins necessitate fat for absorption and are not water-soluble.

Sources of healthy fats:

  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil
  • MCT oil
  • Ghee
  • Avocados
  • Nuts and nut butter
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Olives

Fish and Seafood

Fish and Seafood

During the feeding window of intermittent fasting, seafood emerges as a commendable dietary choice. Fish varieties like wild-caught salmon or sardines are not only abundant in protein but also boast a high content of omega-3 fats, crucial for optimal health and mitigating cellular inflammation. DHA and EPA, classified as essential fats, are omega-3 fats imperative for dietary intake. Regrettably, with intermittent fasting, many individuals exhibit a deficiency in this vital nutrient, highlighting the potential benefits of supplementation.

Fish and seafood selections to optimize intermittent fasting include:

  • Wild-caught salmon
  • Rainbow trout
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines
  • Anchovies
  • Mussels
  • Oysters
  • Crab
  • Lobster
  • Shrimp



Vegetables constitute an indispensable component of optimal nutrition while practicing intermittent fasting. They serve as valuable prebiotics, nourishing the beneficial bacteria in our gut, thereby promoting gut health, a lean physique, and overall well-being.

Nutrient-rich vegetables suitable for consumption during intermittent fasting include:

  • Spinach
  • Chard
  • Arugula
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Asparagus
  • Seaweed



While intermittent fasting, incorporating fruits into the diet can provide a source of nutrient-rich sustenance. However, opting for fruits with low or moderate sugar content is crucial, as excessive fruit sugar (fructose) consumption may exacerbate metabolic health issues, potentially offsetting the benefits conferred by intermittent fasting.

Optimal fruits for consumption during intermittent fasting include:

  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Kiwi
  • Grapefruit
  • Apples
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Avocado
  • Tomato

Whole Grains

Whole Grains

Whole grains present a distinct category of food with varying effects on individuals. While some experience no adverse reactions in terms of blood sugar spikes, inflammation, or digestive discomfort, others encounter these issues due to lectin or gluten content. If you find grains problematic, particularly due to lectin or gluten sensitivity, it's advisable to exclude them from your shopping list. Remember to steer clear of refined grains like white flour as well.

Healthy whole grains conducive to optimizing intermittent fasting include:

  • Organic oatmeal
  • Organic millet
  • Organic quinoa
  • Organic brown rice
  • Organic black rice
  • Organic wild rice (technically a seed)

Legumes and Beans

Often overlooked, beans and legumes constitute excellent additions to your intermittent fasting meal plan. These nutritional powerhouses are brimming with fiber, antioxidants, protein, B vitamins, and an array of other vitamins and minerals. They aid in stabilizing blood sugar levels, curbing hunger and cravings (ideal for intermittent fasting), lowering LDL cholesterol, and fostering gut health, which underpins overall well-being.

Nutrient-rich beans and legumes include:

  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • Green beans
  • Lentils
  • Lima beans
  • Kidney beans

Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices exert potent anti-inflammatory effects on health while enhancing the outcomes of intermittent fasting. Additionally, they contribute delightful flavors to meals, enriching the fasting experience. Incorporating various herbs and spices into your dishes can amplify the benefits of intermittent fasting.

Key herbs and spices include:

  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme


During fasting periods, consumption of calorie-containing beverages is to be avoided as they disrupt the fasting state. Opt instead for calorie-free options like water or unsweetened coffee or tea. Coffee and tea, particularly green tea, can augment the benefits of intermittent fasting.

Top beverages to support intermittent fasting include:

  • Black coffee
  • All teas, including herbal varieties
  • Green tea
  • Water
  • Sparkling water


Intermittent fasting offers a straightforward and evidence-backed approach to eating. While abstaining from food might seem daunting initially, it proves to be a potent and manageable strategy for enhancing overall health, weight management, cognitive function, and gut health. It's essential to acknowledge that fasting may impact the absorption of certain vitamins and medications, necessitating their consumption of food.

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