Fasting can be pretty challenging, especially when you lack knowledge of what to eat after your fast. As a result of this, you may consume greater or fewer calories, unhealthy foods, or possibly those without enough nutrients. In light of this, it is always advisable to speak to a licensed dietitian and craft a fasting meal plan if you plan on going on a fast. Let us take a look at a sample of a 5-day fasting diet meal plan that explains how you can incorporate various foods into your diet during a fast.
What Is Fasting?
Before we look at the meal plan you can follow when fasting, let us first remind ourselves of the fasting concept. Fasting refers to a period of time during which you are not consuming any foods. Individuals fast for different reasons. For example, some fast for religious practices, while others do so attempting to lose weight.
Whatever your goal is, the fact remains that there are several fasting methods to consider. A couple of them include water fasting and intermittent fasting. But, among all the most popular fasting method is intermittent fasting, which so happens to have other sub-groups. These include techniques like the 16:8, 5:2, alternate-day, or fasting for 12 or 20 hours.
It is essential to note the fasting technique one follows, as it highly influences the nutrition plan. For example, it details when you should eat and how many calories you ought to consume. Talk to a healthcare provider and nutritionist to help determine which, if any fasting technique is safe for you and to craft a fasting diet plan.
What To Know AboutA Fasting Diet Meal Plan
Like with any other meal plan, there are several things that you have to take note of when crafting a fasting diet plan. Of course, it would help if you consulted with your nutritionist and healthcare provider when preparing this meal plan. Nevertheless, these are the essential pointers you need to take note of (7):
Fasting does not mean you are free from considering your daily calorie intake. You still have to consume food to acquire calories. So make sure you make every calorie count. This can be a bit tricky, depending on the nutrition plan you are following.
Keep in mind that you should ask your dietitian to help you create a plan that allows you to account for your calories and carry you through the times when you are fasting. During this period, food experts suggest you consume nutrient-dense foods rich in healthy fats, protein, and fiber (7). Some examples of the best nutrient-dense foods include beans, eggs, avocados, lentils, nuts, and fish.
Consumption Of High Volume Foods
The other thing food experts advise you to focus on is to consume high-volume foods. High-volume foods tend to be more filling, meaning they increase satiety, and you feel fuller for longer. This is a very effective method as it helps you feel less hungry during your fasting window.
When selecting high-volume foods, also remember to pay attention to their calorie content. Opt for filling foods that have low to moderate calories. Some of the recommended high-volume, low-calorie foods include raw vegetables, popcorn, and fruits with high water content like melons and grapes.
Consumption Of Nutrient-Dense Foods
You must focus on nutrient-dense foods during and after the fasting period. This means that you should be eating nutrient-dense foods even after you are done with this 5-day fasting diet plan.
Keep consuming these foods because they have minerals, fiber, vitamins, and other essential nutrients that help keep your blood sugar levels stable (7). Similarly, these foods help prevent nutritional deficiencies that are likely to occur if you do not eat a balanced diet while fasting.
Consumption Of Healthy Foods
After the fast, experts suggest you consume healthy foods instead of junk or processed foods. Even more than this, you are also advised to limit your consumption of saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, salt, and alcohol. Remember that foods that have these are some high-calorie products that you need to keep away from, especially if you are fasting to trigger weight loss.
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Free 5-Day Fasting Meal Plan Ideas
As mentioned earlier, there are several types of fasting methods. Each method has different rules and food restrictions. So, in this article, we will provide five different samples, each suiting a specific fasting method. Take a look:
Sample 1: 5:2 Diet Plan
The 5:2 diet is an example of intermittent fasting that allows an individual to eat regularly for five days of the week but very little for the other (nonconsecutive) two days (3). According to Medical News Today, this meal plan aims at cutting your caloric intake during the fasting days to 25% or a quarter of your normal daily calorie intake (3).
As such it means that if your average daily caloric intake is 2500, you will consume 500 calories during the fasting days (25% or a 1/4 of 2500 calories). These calories can be pretty restrictive, which is why you have to consult with a professional on what to eat to avoid nutritional deficiencies and other health problems.
Below is a sample of a 5:2 meal plan that accounts for 500 calories. We have formulated this diet plan from the rationale explained above of eating 25% of your daily calorie intake during the fasting days:
Breakfast: Yogurt With Grape-Nut Cereal And Honey (171 calories)
- 1/2 cup Nonfat Greek yogurt (120 g), 1 tsp honey (7.1 g), and 3 tbsp Grape-nuts cereal (21.6 g)
The following recipe only makes one serving whose nutritional analysis is as shown below (6):
- Calories- 171
- Total fat- 1 g
- Total carbohydrates- 27 g
- Protein- 15 g
Lunch: Turkey Lettuce Roll Ups (119 calories)
- 4 leaf outer lettuce (96 g), 4 oval sliced turkey pieces (104 g), 2 dash pepper (0.2 g)
Spread the large slices of lettuce and top them with the sliced turkey pieces. Sprinkle pepper over the turkey toppings, roll up, and enjoy (6).
The following recipe amounts to two servings, and they amount to the following nutrients:
- Calories- 119
- Total carbs- 5 g
- Protein- 18 g
Dinner: Mozzarella Tortilla Pizza (196 calories)
- 1/2 cup, piece or sliced mushrooms (35 g)
- 1 tortilla (24 g)
- 1/4 cup pasta sauce (64.3 g)
- 1/2 tsp vegetable oil (2.3 g)
- 1/4 diced Mozzarella cheese (33 g)
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C).
- Line the pan with the oil.
- Brush the tortilla with some oil to make them crispier, and then add the sauce, cheese, and toppings.
- Cook in the oven for ten minutes or until the cheese turns brown.
- Calories- 196
- Total carbs- 18 g
- Protein- 11 g
Our aim of following this diet was to keep our calorie intake below 500 calories. We have managed that because this meal plan amounts to 486 calories.
Sample 2: Alternate Day Fasting Diet Plan
According to Medical News Today, alternate day fasting is an example of intermittent fasting that significantly restricts your calorie intake every other day (10). Dieters mainly use it to help maintain a healthy weight or hope to boost other health aspects (10).
During the fasting days, you are urged to consume about 25% of your regular calorie count. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, an average woman is likely to require calories between 1600 and 2400. A middle-aged man will need 2000 to 3000 calories (1).
This means, if we were to use 1600 calories for women, women should consume 400 calories (25% of 1600 calories). In this case, you are required to follow a low-calorie meal plan that limits your intake to 400 calories and below on your fasting days. On your non-fasting days, you won’t restrict your intake. Take a look at such a fasting day diet plan (5):
Breakfast: East To Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs (143.7 calories)
- 2 large whole eggs (100 g)
- 2/3 tsp vinegar (3.3. g)
- 1/3 dash salt (0. 13 g)
- 1 cup ice cubes (237 g)
- Place the eggs in a pan with lukewarm water and cover them. Add in vinegar and a pinch of salt.
- Let the water boil over medium heat for at least two minutes (start timing when the water reaches a full boil).
- Remove the heat and cover with a tight lid to allow the eggs to stand for eleven minutes.
- Drain the eggs and let them sit in ice water for three minutes
- Drain and peel.
- Calories- 143.7
- Protein- 13 g
- Carbs- 1 g
- Fat- 9 g
Lunch: Persian Cucumber Yogurt (124 calories)
- 3/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (180 g)
- 3/4 cup cucumber, pared, chopped (99.8 g)
- 1 dash salt (0.4 g)
- 1 dash pepper (0.1 g)
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder (1.6 g)
- Peel and chop the cucumber and then mix it with all the other ingredients.
- Calories- 124
- Total carbohydrates- 10 g
- Fat- 1 g
- Protein- 19 g
Dinner: Skinny Garlic Parmesan Zoodles (135 calories)
- 1 large zucchini (323 g)
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil (6.8 g)
- 1/2 tbsp garlic (4.3 g)
- 2/3 tbsp parmesan cheese (3.3 g)
- 1/16 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (0.02 g)
- Use a spiralizer or a peeler to prepare some zoodles. Place them in a microwave-safe bowl and let them cook for two minutes or until they are soft.
- Take a large nonstick pan and heat the olive oil. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic and allow them to cook for half a minute. Make sure you constantly stir as the mixture boils. Stir in the cooked noodles and toss to mix. Heat them for about 30 seconds or so until they are hot and coated. Sprinkle half of the Parmesan cheese and mix.
The nutritional analysis of one serving of this meal is as follows:
- Calories- 135
- Fat- 9 g
- Total carbs- 12 g
- Protein- 5 g
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Sample 3: 16:8 Meal Plan
This fasting method requires you to fast for 16 hours and then have your meals during the 8-hour window (9). In this diet, men generally fast for 16 hours while women fast for 14 hours. During the 8-hour eating window, focus on getting enough calories. As an example, during this diet, you might finish your dinner by 8 p.m. and skip breakfast as your first meal should be lunch at noon (9). There are no restrictions on what or how much you can eat, only the timing of your meals. It is still important, however, to include nourishing, satisfying foods in a balanced diet during your eating window. Below is a suggested 16:8 diet plan:
Lunch: Tomato Penne With Avocado (495 calories)
- 1 orange pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
- 400 g canned tomatoes
- 196 g can sweetcorn in water
- 1 tsp rapeseed oil
- 1 large onion, sliced, plus 1 tbsp finely chopped
- 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
- 1/2 lime, zest and juice
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 100 g wholemeal penne
- 2 tsp mild chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 avocado, stoned and chopped
- Handful coriander, chopped, plus extra to serve
- Cook the pasta in salted water for ten to twelve minutes. As it cooks, take a pan and heat the oil on medium heat. Add the onions and pepper and let them fry for ten minutes or until they are golden brown.
- Stir in the garlic and other spices, and then tip in the tomatoes, corn, bouillon, and half can of water. Let the mixture simmer for fifteen minutes.
- Take a bowl and toss the avocado with lime juice and the finely chopped onions.
- Drain the penne and toss it into the sauce containing the coriander.
- Spoon the pasta into the bowls, top with avocado and scatter the coriander leaves on top.
- Calories- 495
- Protein- 15 g
- Carbs- 65 g
- Fat- 15 g
Dinner: Chicken With Crushed Harissa Chickpeas (366 calories)
- 4 chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 red pepper, finely sliced
- 1 yellow pepper, finely sliced
- 1 tsp za’atar
- 150 g baby spinach
- 1/2 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- 400 g can chickpeas
- 1 1/2 tbsp red harissa paste
- Lemon wedges, to serve
- 1 onion, chopped
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry your onions and garlic for seven minutes or until they soften and turn golden brown.
- Meanwhile, place the chicken between two baking parchment sheets and lightly bash until about two centimeters thick. Combine the remaining oil with the za’atar, and then rub it all over the chicken. Season the chicken as well.
- Heat the grill to high temperatures and then put the chicken on a baking tray and let it grill for three to four minutes on each side.
- Heat the chickpeas in a pan with the harissa paste and then add 2 tablespoons of water. Roughly mash the mixture using a potato masher.
- Wilt the baby spinach in a pan with one tablespoon of water. Stir the onion and pepper mixture, spinach, and parsley through the chickpeas.
- Serve with the sliced chicken and the lemon wedges for squeezing over.
The recipe results in four servings, but here is the nutritional analysis of one serving (2):
- Calories- 366
- Fat- 12 g
- Carbs- 16 g
- Protein- 44 g
Sample 4: Fasting Meal Plan For Men Fasting For 12 Hours
As mentioned earlier, an average man is required to consume 2400 to 3000 calories daily. If such men were fasting for weight loss, then they may reduce their calorie intake to 2000. In this case, they can consider the following 2000 calorie weight loss diet plan obtained from the Medical News Today website (8):
- Mashed avocado and a fried egg on a slice of rye toast
- Broccoli quinoa and toasted almonds
- Chicken stir fry and soba noodles
- Coconut yogurt and blueberries
Sample 5: Fasting For 20-Hour Diet Plan
When you fast for 20 hours, you have a four-hour eating window. You can easily miss out on essential nutrients, especially if you do not know what to eat or drink during this eating window. Some food experts advise individuals following such a fasting method to consume salad with a dressing, plant protein, cheese, and whole grains. Here is a meal plan idea incorporating these food sources to consider (4):
Lentil Salad With Tahini Dressing
- 320 g sweet potatoes, cut into cubes
- 2 large carrots, cut into thin sticks
- 2 medium red onions, halved and sliced
- 2 large courgettes (375 g) cut into chunks
- 2 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 2 x 120 g pot bio yogurt
- 2 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2.5 to 3 tbsp tahini
- 2 x 390 g cans green lentils, drained
- 1 garlic clove, finely grated
- A handful of parsley, roughly chopped
- A good handful of mint, roughly chopped
- A little smoked paprika, to serve
- Heat the oil in a large wok and add the sweet potatoes; let them fry for five minutes. Make sure you frequently stir them until they start to soften or brown. When this happens, cover the pan with a lid.
- Add the courgette, ginger, carrot, onion, and cumin and cook over high heat as you continuously stir until the vegetable is tender and a little charred. Add the seeds towards the end so that they cook for a few minutes. Remove the heat and add the lentils, lemon zest, bouillon powder, parsley, and mint.
- Stir the tahini with garlic, yogurt, and one tablespoon of water to make the dressing.
- Spoon the lentil salad into bowls and top with paprika and the dressing.
The nutritional analysis of one serving of this recipe is as shown below. If this is your only meal of the day, you’ll need more than one serving and/or to add some additional snacks within your 4 hour eating window (4):
- Calories- 460
- Carbohydrates- 42 g
- Protein- 18 g
- Fat- 21 g
The Bottom Line
There are different fasting techniques, all of which call upon various meal plans. Therefore, it would help if you spoke to your healthcare provider and nutritionist before taking up any fasting meal plan. Hopefully, the following samples on a 5-day fasting diet meal plan shed light on how you craft a fasting diet plan.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines (2020, health.gov)
- Chicken with crushed harissa chickpeas (2020, bbcgoodfood.com)
- How to do the 5:2 diet (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Lentil salad with tahini dressing (2020, bbcgodfood.com)
- Meal Planner (2021, eatthismuch.com)
- Put your diet on autopilot (2021, eatthismuch.com)
- Seven Ways to do Intermittent Fasting (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Weight loss meal plans (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What is intermittent fasting? Does it have health benefits? (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- What to know about alternate day fasting (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)