From this article, you can download our Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan PDF.
Intermittent fasting is an eating strategy that doesn’t define what you eat but instead when you eat it. It’s grown in popularity in recent years for weight loss, reducing insulin resistance, lowering inflammation, and even anti-aging.
What’s amazing is that intermittent fasting studies show you don’t have to change your diet whatsoever to lose weight.
But, we’re here to tell you that it is much, much better if you do to receive all of the health benefits. Here is our typical intermittent fasting meal plan.
intermittent fasting meal plan (pdf included)
Think about it, let’s say you’re on the popular 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule (16-hours of fasting with 8-hours of eating).
If you’re chowing down on a burger and a milkshake up until the last minute of your eating window, your body only has 16-hours to process all of those carbohydrates.
If — depending on what else you ate that day — your body doesn’t burn through all of those carbohydrates for energy, your insulin levels won’t reset and your body can’t move onto burning fat.
Whatever your goal, there are ways to reach your goals faster — and get better health — by being selective of what you eat during your eating windows.
In this article, we’ll break down the different intermittent fasting schedules and which ones are best for your goals.
We’ll also share a downloadable intermittent fasting meal plan to make sure you’re fasting safely, effectively, and healthily.
experiment with your intermittent fasting schedule
Intermittent fasting isn’t just one hard-and-fast thing. Instead, everyone does it differently.
We encourage you to experiment for at least 3 weeks before changing it up to gauge the full benefits. Generally, if you’re fasting between 12 hours or more a day, it’s considered intermittent fasting. And yes, that includes the time you sleep!
Disclaimer: Intermittent fasting controls when you eat, not what you eat. The healthier your diet, the better your results. If you’re taking any medications or have diabetes, low blood pressure, are pregnant, or have a history of an eating disorder, consult your doctor before starting intermittent fasting.
Which Intermittent Fasting Plan should i begin with?
How do you know which schedule to start with and if that’s the best one for you?
In our article, ‘Intermittent Fasting How To Guide,’ we dive into this step-by-step, including how to define your goals, calculate your daily caloric needs, and build intermittent fasting into your routine. Don’t miss it!
Below are two popular fasting schedules, including example times and meal plans:
- Daily Intermittent Fasting 16/8 Schedule
- Alternate Day Fasting (24 hours on, 24 hours off)
If you’re looking for an hour-by-hour meal plan for breaking extended fasts, see our article, ‘How (and Why) to Do a 3-Day Fast.’
Don’t forget that while fasting, it’s incredibly important to drink lots of water and stay hydrated. Intermittent fasting puts your body under some healthy stress, but don’t add to the stress by allowing yourself to become dehydrated.
Generally while fasting, you can consume beverages under 50 calories, which includes black coffee, unsweetened tea, and lemon water.
The Daily Intermittent Fasting 16/8 Schedule
Most people follow a daily intermittent fasting plan of 16/8: 16 hours of fasting with 8 hours of eating. For us, this was the most simple and sustainable to get started with. We’ve followed the schedule since March 2018.
+ Allows for better flexibility around social and work schedules
+ Is similar to most people’s daily eating habits already
+ Sustainable and easy to get started with
– Full health benefits only seen with a very healthy diet
Here’s an example of a popular eating window according to a 16/8 intermittent fasting eating schedule:
Below is one week of daily meal plans to follow while 16/8 intermittent fasting. The Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan PDF is also available to download if you prefer to print the meal plan.
What’s great about the 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule is that you’re likely nearly there today. If you’re getting in 8-hours of sleep a night, and not eating before bed, you’re nearly there.
For us, we opt to eat later in the day, skipping breakfast as opposed to skipping dinner. This seems like the most popular route, but do what makes the most sense for you and your body.
The big fault we find with this 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule is that it only works best if you already have a good diet.
Most people intermittent fast to lose weight, reset insulin levels, and start burning fat. Therefore, a poor diet never gives you a chance to reset or get near to ketosis.
Ketosis is the state when your body has run out of carbohydrates to burn for energy and therefore move onto fat. This is the basis of the popular keto diet, which, we do not recommend, as explained in our article on why fad diets are problematic.
The Alternate-Day Intermittent Fasting Schedule
Alternate-day intermittent fasting is when you eat one day, but not the next. Repeat.
+ Most similar to how our ancestors naturally ate
+ More fasting time for your body and hormones to rebalance
+ Cheaper grocery bill (don’t pretend you didn’t think of this, too!)
+ Not as necessary to optimize your healthy diet
– Less flexible schedule around work and social events
– Not as necessary to optimize your healthy diet
This style of feasting and fasting is the most studied, as it mimics how our ancestors likely ate. Talk about a paleo diet.
The research is incredibly compelling, showing that putting our bodies under stress in a natural feast-or-famine state builds resiliency, better ensures that our blood sugar levels reset, and alleviates our bodies of oxidative stress.
For most, alternate-day fasting is a challenge because of work and social schedules and norms. However, for the ones who can be more flexible (anyone else working from home?) the health benefits are immense.
Here is an hourly schedule of how alternate-day fasting is typically done:
Here is an example of a meal plan for alternate-day fasting:
Below is one week of daily meal plans to follow for alternate-day fasting. The Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan PDF is also available to download if you prefer to print the meal plan.
Breaking your fast
No matter the style of intermittent fasting you choose, always be thoughtful of how to break your fast.
When breaking your intermittent fast, ease into it. The best practice is to avoid high-sugar, high-carb foods that undo all of the hard work you’ve just done.
Instead, focus on nutritious foods likes vegetables and foods high in healthy fats like avocados.
About half an hour before your meal, start with our favorite digestive infusion to perk up your digestive system.
Digestive Enzyme Distraction Drink:
- One cup of hot water
- One half a lemon squeezed (excites digestive enzymes)
- Two caps full of apple cider vinegar (balances pH levels in the gut for healthy bacteria growth)
- A pinch of cinnamon (to stabilize blood sugar levels)
What favorite meals would you add to our intermittent fasting meal plan?
I have questions. What do I do?
Leave any specific questions in the comments below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible and update this article accordingly.
Here’s our fasting page for more support along your fasting journey.
Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan (Printable PDF)
Download and instantly access the intermittent fasting meal plans, including a printable meal planner to create daily menus.
Plus, we’re just an email away for support.
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How do I get the PDF for meal plans for 16/8 fasting plans. I do not see the pdf?
Hey Ingrid, the form for the PDF is at the bottom of the post. Enter your name and email and it will be in your inbox shortly. I’ll also send you and email with the PDF right now. Thanks for reading and let us know if you have other IF questions!
Thanks for PDF
Thank you for this meal plan.
Glad you find it helpful and best of luck, Alex!
Gracias por compartir tan valiosa información
Please share 16/8 diet in pdf
Hey! In the PDF, there’s a blank meal plan that you can print to write your own intermittent fasting weekly meal plan. Is there a chance you only saw this empty page? Please scroll through the entire PDF, because we do share a 16/8 diet meal plan for a week. Each day includes food ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks.
I hope this helps and please let me know if you have other questions. For more information on the 16/8 intermittent fasting diet check out the articles on our Fasting Page.
Great read thank you for educating regarding options
Thanks, Melissa! Hope it helps 🙂
Hey! I would love to download the 16:8 pdf but don’t see it. Can you please send it to me via email?
Ooo thanks for the feedback! The email form is pretty far down, so noted! I’ve added in your name so you should be seeing that email soon. Enjoy and good luck!
Beginning my first 3-day water fast early this morning, thank you for all of the helpful information to follow while fasting and the tips you shared on properly breaking the 3-day fast.
Thanks so much, we appreciate the comment! So… how did it go?! We hope some of the information in here was helpful – it was just our experience and we’re always eager to hear more.
May I get a copy of your PDF Intermittent Fasting 12-8 Daily Meal Planner. Starting in 2 days and excited. Thank you.
Were you able to download the 12-8 Daily Meal Planner already? In this article you’ll find the form to sign up and you’ll get the PDF immediately sent to you. If you don’t see it, check in SPAM. Thanks and good luck!
Hey! I would love to download the 16:8 pdf but don’t see it. Can you please send it to me via email?
Thanks for the feedback, we’ll try to make the sign up form more obvious. You’ll see it on the Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan page in a sign-up form under $0 – Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan. Good luck and thanks for the comment!
How often do you guys do cardio?
Hey Jeremy, we typically do cardio 4-6 days a week. I ran a marathon three weeks ago so my cardio load has been significant for the last four months. Does that help? Let us know if you have more questions.
I downloaded and printed the IF plan but are their recipes for the intermittent fasting 16/8 plan to go with the suggested plan? Like smoothie/w yogurt, banana, spinach, ginger. How much do I put of each in the smoothie?
Hey Aime! You’re right, they are not exact recipes. This is difficult because everyone has different portion sizes. Generally, you can either keep to the same amount of food you would eat prior to IF. Or, you can calculate your Daily Caloric Intake (DCI) — an Apple watch or FitBit does this for you — or you can use a calculator like this and then log your food in a free app like MyFitnessPal to make sure you’re hitting your calorie targets. This will take some trial and error over the first few days to get it right, but once you’re familiar with the portion sizes it’s easy to eyeball it from there. One of the downsides of IF is that people frequently eat too little, so that’s the main thing we’re trying to avoid.
I hope this helps! But yes, to answer your question more directly, per person our smoothies generally have 1 banana, 1/2 cup of frozen spinach, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, and 1/2″ nub of ginger with water or almond milk. Also 6 or so ice cubes.
Excited to give it a go! Thanks for making the pdf available.
Thanks Jerry! Let us know how we can help, and good luck!
Please send the pdf
The PDF is available through the form on this site — unfortunately, we’re not legally supposed to send it out without the form sign up. Good luck with IF and let us know how we can help!
Please send me the PDF.
Were you able to find the PDF? You can put your email address in the form above to receive it. Unfortunately, we’re not legally able to send it to you directly!
Can the intermitent fast reset my metabolism
Intermittent fasting has been shown to benefit and potentially increase metabolism by as much as 12%. Through fasting, you can stabilize your metabolism without wreaking havoc on it. Again, make sure to consume a sufficient amount of calories throughout the day. Intermittent fasting isn’t about calorie restriction! Thanks!
Hi – I have started the 16/8 fasting. Eat at 12 and last meal before 8. I have no idea how many meals to eat ? I eat super clean however only have 3 meals due to not being hungry in between. I include no more than 15g of carbs / 20g protein and fat in the first 2 meals and evening meal is veg / protein and a fat.
I am worried I am not eating enough calories compared to your eating plan
Could you advise me here ?
Hey Liza, thanks for reaching out. Three meals in an 8 hour window is good. It will take time to transition. At first, eating all of your daily calories in much less time will make you feel stuffed. So don’t worry if you are not eating enough calories right now. Take some time for your body to get used to IF and then you can adjust. Are you eating the same amount of calories you were before starting IF?
Hey guys I have just stated looking into IF and thank you so much for all your help and information.
I have downloaded the 16/8 if pdf, thank you for that.
A question if I May you mention that tea and coffee etc, can be consumed during fasting, but why only without milk ?, I get the sugar side of it.
Thank u Regards,
We avoid the milk simply to keep it zero calorie, just in case even a splash kicks you out of the fast. Actually, you even have to be careful with some teas which do have calories, such as yerba mate! This is something we recommend for longer fasts, such as our 3 day fast. For shorter fasts, you can add milk but I would label that as the end of your fast.
Have you been fasting? How has it been going so far?
What about diabetes and IF? Isn’t it dangerous not to eat near bed time for blood sugar levels?
Great question. It’s critical to manage your blood sugar levels as it could be dangerous to not eat near bed time. Please talk to your physician or doctor about intermittent fasting. If they give you the okay, you’ll have to monitor your blood sugar and see how your body responds. Also, it’s good to talk to your doctor about any medications you’re taking (dosage and when to take them).
I am a triathlete and have morning workouts.. I prefer the 14/10 window is more sustainable for me. but I would like to try the 16/8.
Have a problem with what to eat after my morning run.. I do not do intense workouts in the morning. Another issue most of my intense bike or run after work between 6-8, this is why I use the 14/10
Hey! It sounds like the 14/10 window fits your lifestyle well. Of course give 16/8 a try but make sure you’re still getting enough calories to fuel your workouts. After your morning run, greek yogurt (plain 2% FAGE is good) with granola or an egg and veggie scramble is good. If you’re not already having a recovery smoothie, this is a great way to get more protein, micronutrients, and raw veggies like kale or spinach. The best time is after a morning workout. We have some favorites if you need a recommendation. Let us know how it goes and what other questions you have!
IF pdf please
You should see the meal plan in the form on the site, you’ll just need to enter in your email which I’m not legally allowed to do for you. Thanks and I hope that your IF journey goes well!