Intermittent fasting has picked up popularity in the past decade, and many have turned to it to lose weight effectively.
The 16/8 plan is one of the few ways you can commit to intermittent fasting. A subset of time-restricted eating pattern, it involves fasting for 16 hours and eating two to three meals in the remaining eight.
With a fasting plan this rigorous, it’s good to keep in mind what foods will make your fasting worthwhile. There’s little point in committing to the 16/8 plan if you gobble down a large platter of fatty foods, is there?
So, let’s take a closer look at the nutrient dense foods you can eat and avoid when following the 16/8 intermittent fasting plan. Following this guide will help you maintain a healthy diet while cutting down on excess fat!
What Foods Should You Eat During Intermittent Fasting
While no specific guideline says you must follow a strict diet consisting of specific foods, doing so will help your weight-loss journey. Your diet must maintain a balance of all the essential nutrients to lose excess weight effectively, and your serving sizes should be consistent.
It’s important to remember that fatty food isn’t all bad. A diet must consist of foods containing some fat too, as your body can’t produce fatty acids on its own. So, strive to strike a balance of all essential nutrients and consume highly nutritious foods listed below.
Avocado is one of the healthiest fruits with high amounts of unsaturated fat. The reason for including avocado in your diet is to keep yourself full.
Unsaturated fats are beneficial for blood cholesterol levels and blood sugar control, making them quite the significant inclusion in your diet.
Fish and seafood are rich in healthy fats and protein while containing plenty of Vitamin D. As per the Dietary Guidelines For Americans, you could go for eight to 10 ounces of fish every week.
You may opt for a pescatarian diet while on an intermittent fasting plan as well, which involves eating nothing but veggies and seafood. The diet is filling and quite healthy to boot, aiding your weight-loss efforts in turn.
3. Cruciferous Vegetables
These are all the vegetables we all hated eating as kids: broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. But their health benefits are undeniable, containing plenty of fiber and keeping you full through the day.
The fiber in cruciferous veggies helps keep your stool timely and free of problems while containing anticarcinogenic properties. In fact, the reduced risk of cancer alone makes including cruciferous veggies in your diet worth it!
Fasting can become taxing after a while, and you need the energy to go about your day without feeling like it’s the end of the world.
Your body needs carbs to maintain a high level of energy, and beans are a fantastic source of it. Unlike the carbs you gain from fast foods and the like, low-calorie carbs like beans and legumes can keep you going through the fasting hours. What’s more, they help decrease body weight, so you’ll only receive more health benefits by including these in your diet.
Potatoes are yet another potent source of carbs that can help you lose weight. Being one of the most filling foods out there, you could benefit tremendously by adding them to your diet plan.
6. Probiotic-Rich Food
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help improve your digestive system and heart health. Some consider probiotic-rich foods to help maintain supple skin as well.
Adding foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and miso to your diet will improve overall health and keep your weight in check. Feel free to mix and match between varieties of fermented soybeans, dairy products, and veggies to keep your diet varied at all times.
Quick to prepare, eggs are one of the most common foods in the world. They keep you full and help build muscle, as they are a potent source of protein.
If you feel like having a quick snack as one of your meals during the fasting period, consider hard-boiling an egg or scrambling one.
Nuts are a great source of good fats, which reduce the chance of heart disease and stroke. Moreover, they contain plenty of calories to maintain a proper amount of fullness in you while you go about fasting.
The body needs good fats to absorb vitamins from other foods that you consume, all while providing you with much-needed energy.
What To Avoid In An Intermittent Fasting Diet
There are certain foods that you must steer clear of completely while fasting. These will reduce the effectiveness of your healthy intermittent eating regimen and may even lead to a net increase in your body weight.
1. Heavily Processed Foods
Foods that have been processed to the point of containing no beneficial nutrients are a detriment to your health. Eating them won’t fill you up, but they can make you want more, potentially derailing your weight-loss journey.
Consider keeping that bag of chips or pretzels out of reach while on your 16/8 intermittent fasting diets.
2. Foods Containing High Amounts Of Added Sugar
Added sugar contains nothing for your body to gain from and will only make you hungrier as it metabolizes very quickly. Sugary foods are bad for your body and will lead to a miserable fasting experience as time goes on.
Foods like cookies, candy, cakes, and soft drinks contain high amounts of added sugar, and you should avoid them at all costs.
3. Foods With Saturated Fat Or Salt
Unhealthy saturated fat is the kind that is found in cheese, butter, certain kinds of meat and oil. Saturated fats can increase your LDL cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart problems and stroke.
Of course, your diet must contain a limited amount of saturated fat as your body does need some to remain healthy. The health risks lay more with highly processed fats and salt, so exercise caution while consuming them.
Gain The Most Out Of Your 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Diet
While intermittent fasting can be a part of a healthy lifestyle, there are things you must be careful about. Going about intermittent fasting in the wrong way can lead to you facing more problems than it’s worth. Simply spacing your meals isn’t enough to embark on your weight-loss journey successfully.
So, here’s what you can do to reap the benefits of your 16/8 fasting plan without putting your health at risk.
1. Don’t Rush Into A Fasting Plan
It’s important to allow your body to become accustomed to a fasting plan. If you don’t, the fasting experience will be quite awful, and you’ll likely overeat once it’s time to eat.
You can do so by reducing your caloric intake at first, and then slowly increasing your fasting period over the course of several days. Moreover, you needn’t fast every day if you feel the 16/8 plan to be too difficult at first. Allow your body to keep up with what you want and slowly but surely, you’ll get there.
2. Keep Your Calories In Check
Calories are the bane of any weight-loss journey, and you must keep your caloric intake in check. Begin by eating just enough to be full and try to prevent overeating by eating slowly. Doing the latter helps your brain signal when the stomach is full, helping you gauge when to stop.
3. No ‘Cheat’ Meals
Carbonated soda, cookies, and cakes can be very tempting as you fast, but you shouldn’t indulge in them often. These can make you very hungry and can cause you to overeat, the opposite of what you’re aiming for.
Artificial sweeteners are quite bad for you in general, not just during your fasting plans. It’s for the best to keep them out of sight and away from reach during your weight-loss journey.
4. Hydrate Yourself!
It’s hard to understate how important the role of water is in your diet. Water is essential for metabolic reactions in our body and by being hydrated properly, you’ll help your body function properly.
Drinking water isn’t the only option for hydrating properly, as eating fruits and vegetables containing it can also meet your hydration needs. Foods like cucumbers, watermelons, and oranges help your body remain properly hydrated through the day.
The 16/8 intermittent fasting plan is a good way to reduce your overall body fat and lead a healthy life. Though somewhat difficult to get into at first, you can ease into the journey and over time, you’ll be able to maintain it without issues.
Eating the right foods and avoiding unhealthy ones will keep you healthy while helping you maintain an excellent physique. Remember that your choice of food severely affects this diet plan’s effectiveness, so choose carefully.
Lastly, remember that you needn’t fast every day. Whether you’re fasting once a week or seven days a week, remain consistent with your dieting habits. Breaking from these habits has terrible consequences, so commit to the plan once you begin.