Following a proper, well-rounded nutritional regime while intermittent fasting will not only support energy levels but will help keep your cravings and hunger at bay too. Although intermittent fasting focuses on timing, rather than caloric intake, the more quality, nutrient rich foods you consume, the more satisfied you will feel throughout the day. The more satisfied you are throughout the day, the less likely you are to (mindlessly) snack, and the more in-tune you will become with your body’s actual energy needs.
Best Types of Food to Eat While Fasting
When you eat, food is broken down by enzymes and become molecules within your bloodstream. When you consume carbohydrates, particularly “simple,” more processed ones, they are broken down a lot quicker into sugar, and used for energy within the body. Whatever is “leftover,” however, ultimately gets stored in your cells as fat. This process causes insulin levels to rise and puts a halt on any stored fat to be used for energy. On the other hand, during periods of restricted eating (i.e. fasting), your body’s insulin levels are given the chance to drop low enough for the stored fat to be released and utilized in the body.
Fueling your body with essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients during your fast will not only provide an ample amount of energy throughout your day but it will, also, prevent possible overfeeding during your eating window.
Here are some of the best foods to include during your fast:
- Beans & lentils
- Greek yogurt
- Good quality protein powder
- Green Beans
- Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, chard, arugula, cabbage
- Complex Carbohydrates: While some of the above fall under this category, here are some additional to focus on consuming.
- Brown Rice
- Sweet Potatoes
- Healthy Fats
- Nuts and nut butters
- Non-dairy milk such as Almond Milk
- Good quality olive oil
Creating healthy, delicious, and satisfying meals will make this process feel even more effortless and by no means boring! Here are some examples of what a day’s worth of eating may look like on a 16/8 fasting protocol – 16 hours of restricted eating, followed by 8 hours of eating normally. Prior to breaking your fast – we will use 12:00 pm for our purposes – make sure to consume lots of water. You can add some squeezed lemon to give it flavor, as well as a detoxification bonus too. If you like a little morning pick me up, feel free to add black coffee.
Meal #1: 12:00 pm
- Oatmeal + veggie omelet
- Chicken salad made with avocado mayo + salad
- Protein smoothie bowl made with protein powder & almond milk, and topped with various berries, nuts, seeds, and/or nut butter
Meal #2: 3:00 pm:
- Salad + black beans or lentils + protein of choice
- Ground beef + rice + sauteed veggies + avocado
- Tuna salad made with avocado mayo + salad (or whole grain wrap)
Meal #3: 6:00 or 7:00 pm:
- Salmon + sweet potatoes + grilled vegetables
- Grilled chicken + egg + tomato + cucumber + avocado salad
- Beef + brown rice + grilled vegetables
8:00 pm: Fasting Begins
Fasting Secret: There Are No Good Snacks to Suppress Hunger
Yes, hunger is something you will experience while intermittent fasting BUT it will be no worse than if you are NOT on a fasting protocol. Hunger is pretty short-lived, lasting only about 20 minutes. Unfortunately, most never allow their bodies to ever experience actual, nutritional hunger. Instead, your appetite, a learned, habitual hunger, takes over. In order to really understand your hunger, and be able to take control of it, it’s important to understand the difference between true hunger and your appetite.
Let’s start with the latter; your appetite is a habitual, learned behavior in response to a given stimulus. This can be brought on by stress, boredom, hormones, senses, time of day, etc. It’s basically the longing to eat. True hunger is physiological, and a direct response to the body needing to eat to maintain certain energy levels. When you snack, you are giving positive reinforcement to your appetite – i.e. eat when you are bored because it is a distraction; the smell of French fries makes you “hungry” so you indulge; it is 3:00 pm and you need a so-called “pick me up.” These behaviors are not allowing you to dial into your true hunger since they do not correlate to your body’s true energy needs.
While it may seem that snacking is beneficial in preventing you from eating too much it, actually, is preventing you from fully knowing how to curb your appetite and recognizing hunger altogether. If you have never experienced true hunger, it takes some time to dial into it, especially when you are first starting out on an intermittent protocol. While there are several ways to help assist you in curbing hunger pangs, including the foods you can incorporate, a safe and credible option would be to try Citravan. Our easy to dissolve mints help block hunger pains to help keep you focused, craving-free, and on the path to living a healthy, fasting practice!
Which Foods Actually Make You Feel Hungrier
Incorporating lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats into your fasting protocol will not only support your fasting efforts but help keep your energy and hunger levels in check. There are foods, though, that will do the very opposite – they will make you hungrier and craving more! Yes, they are fun, and provide instant gratification, but they are devoid of any nutritional value and should be consumed in moderation OR avoided altogether while on your fast. These include:
- Refined white bread
- Diet sodas
- Artificially sweetened sodas
- Low-fat, fruit added products such as yogurt
There is no magic snack to help suppress hunger; the best way to navigate is to experience it, know that it is only temporary, and, at the end of the day, you will be okay. Couple this with a sound nutritional program to help maintain hunger and, before you know it, you will be reaching your fasting goals quicker than ever!