Intermittent fasting is said to be a powerful solution to losing weight, improving your health, and feeling great. Some scientists hypothesize that intermittent fasting is a key to reaping the possible metabolic benefits of caloric restriction (15). If you are new to the club of intermittent fasting, it’s natural to be full of questions on how exactly all this works and what it takes to make it work for you.
More specifically, you may be interested in discovering snacks that you can use to maintain the momentum when fasting. In this article, we’ll walk you through the top 10 healthy bites that will help you stay on track with your intermittent fasting plan.
Intermittent Fasting Snacks: What Can I Snack On During My Fast?
This window is usually between 8-10 hours of the day, yet it can be as short as 4 or as long as 14 hours. This means that for anywhere between 10-20 hours you will be fasting each day.
This may seem like a drastic change, but once your body gets used to this, you might start to feel energetic and uplifted as you go through your day.
During your fast, you should avoid all calorie-dense beverages like juices and sodas. You should also steer clear of any processed or sugary snacks.
The right kinds of intermittent fasting snacks will offer your body healthy nutrients to keep you feeling energized during the fast.
Drinking plenty of water is easily the best way to go about intermittent fasting snacking. That’s not to say you can’t have other beverages, but water will be your safest bet to stay hydrated and full of energy throughout the day.
Staying well-hydrated is important for both your digestive system, as well as other body functions. Your kidneys also depend on water to help flush out toxins and other waste materials accumulated in the body (22).
So how much water should you drink? Experts recommend at least eight glasses a day, but the exact amount depends on various factors like body size, activity levels, and climate conditions.
A good rule of thumb is to learn how to differentiate hunger from thirst. If you drink a glass or two of water and you’re still hungry, it may be time to reach for a healthy snack.
On the flip side, if you are constantly hungry throughout your fast, it may be a sign that you’re not drinking enough water. In some cases, people misinterpret their thirst as hunger, which leads them to eat more food than their body needs.
2. Black Coffee
Black coffee is a great source of polyphenols and caffeine that may temporarily speed up your metabolism (17). If you are new to fasting, drinking coffee may be a bit too much for your digestive system to handle on an empty stomach. You should start with half a cup per day and see how it goes from there.
It’s also important to note that coffee – as long as it’s unsweetened – is calorie-free, which makes it a great fasting companion. Coffee also contains caffeine, which will help you stay alert and mentally engaged throughout the day (7).
You should not add sugar or other sweetening agents to your coffee. If you like to drink your coffee with cream and sugar, you’ll need to do it during your eating window.
Black tea is a good source of caffeine as well. It’s also important that the tea is unsweetened and has no added artificial flavors or sugar.
Read the packaging label carefully to make sure you know exactly what goes in your tea and how much caffeine it contains.
Green tea is a good alternative because it’s lower in caffeine, but also has catechins that may help boost metabolism and promote weight loss (3). This beverage is best when it’s unsweetened so you can avoid adding unnecessary calories during your fasts.
4. Bulletproof Coffee
Depending on which type of IF you practice, Bulletproof Coffee may be a good fasting companion. This is because the butter and oil add plenty of calories to the drink so you stay full throughout the fast (6).
You should also know that since bulletproof coffee is chock-full of fats, it’s not exactly low in calories from the butter and oil you add to your black coffee. There is some debate over whether this “breaks” your fast, but you can decide whether you are comfortable with it or not.
So make sure you don’t exceed the recommended serving size and keep an eye on what time of day you drink this beverage.
5. Bone Broth
Bone broth is loaded with collagen, which can help reduce inflammation in your body and also promote weight loss (8). It’s also a good source of protein that may help you avoid muscle loss while you diet.
Bone broth is also easy on your digestive system, which makes it a great fasting companion. But because of its calorie and protein content, this may also “break” your fast if taken during the fasting window. Again, it’s a personal choice on whether to drink it and when.
If you’re a vegetarian, it may be a good idea to skip bone broth and substitute vegetable stock instead.
6. Herbal Tea
Herbal tea is another great fasting companion because it’s calorie-free, but you should know that not all herbal teas are created equal. Some have added sugar which can turn your “fast” into a mini-feast.
Before starting your fast, read the tea packaging label carefully to see if sweetening agents or other additives may be present in your favorite herbal tea.
7. Water With Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is touted for its many supposed health benefits (21). It’s also easy on your digestive system since it contains acetic acid. Acetic acid has been hypothesized to help speed up fat loss and also help you feel full (20).
Water with apple cider vinegar is a great fasting companion because it’s nearly calorie-free, but of course make sure your brand of ACV does not contain added sweeteners or sugar.
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Intermittent Fasting Snacks: What Can I Snack On During My Eating Window?
When you break your fast, it’s important to choose foods that are low to moderate in calories but also contain nutrients. Here are some snacks you can eat during your waking hours:
Nuts are not only tasty but they’re packed with healthy nutrients that can help you stay energized throughout the day. Almonds are a great choice for intermittent fasting snacks because they have the highest amount of riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2 (2). You need vitamin B2 to turn food into energy for your body cells.
Walnuts are also a good choice as they’re rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to lower cholesterol levels, which can protect against heart disease (16).
You should incorporate at least 2 tablespoons of nuts into your daily diet for optimal health benefits. If you don’t know how to snack on nuts, here’s are a few ideas:
- Oven-roasted – roasting nuts with little to no oil is a great way to enjoy their crunchy flavor without adding too many extra calories. Watch your portions, though, because nuts are easy to overeat.
- Nut butter – nut butters can be a great way of enjoying fresh nuts without the hassle of peeling open their shells. All you need is a spoon and a jar of creamy peanut butter or almond butter.
- Salad – if you’re bored with traditional salad, try adding some nuts to your next salad for a crunchy flavor. Nuts add texture and also a dose of healthy fats, which can help you feel full all day long.
- Mix nuts with dried fruit – add some raisins to your plate of walnuts and almonds for a healthy snack that tastes great.
- Use them in a smoothie – make a smoothie by adding 15 almonds and some frozen fruit to some milk or water, and blend until you get the desired consistency.
2. Low-Fat Yogurt
Plain low-fat yogurt is a good addition to your fasting regimen because it’s low in calories yet also contains a decent amount of protein.
Make sure you opt for plain yogurt, though, as sweetened ones often contain added sugars that can take away from the effects of intermittent fasting. You can add your own fruit for flavor.
Sugar-free Greek yogurt is a great choice if you want your snack to be high in protein. It’s also a good idea to choose yogurts that contain live and active cultures, as these can help your gut stay healthy and avoid digestive issues like diarrhea and bloating (1).
Avocado is a fruit that’s packed with nutrients. It also contains healthy, monounsaturated fats and fiber that can help keep you feeling full all day long (10).
It’s best to pair your avocado with other healthy foods that are low in calories but have a lot of nutrients to offer. Here are some ideas:
- Whole wheat toast – toast made from 100 percent whole wheat is high in fiber and protein, which can help you stay full all day long.
- Fruit salad – make a quick fruit salad by chopping up some apples, oranges, and bananas and adding them to your plate of avocado. You can also add some low-fat yogurt for added creaminess and flavor.
- Smoothies – if you want a quick and easy smoothie, just add avocado to veggies, milk or yogurt, and some ice to your blender and blend until the desired consistency is reached.
4. Cruciferous Veggies
Cruciferous vegetables include things like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. They’re low in calories but can provide a lot of nutrients that will help you stay healthy.
These veggies contain fiber, which can keep your digestive tract running smoothly (11). Cruciferous veggies are also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help protect you from a number of diseases (9).
To get the most out of your cruciferous veggies, it’s best to steam them or bake them into a tasty side dish that fits your fasting schedule. You can also add these veggies to soups and stews for added flavor.
Berries are a smoothie staple because they’re high in nutrients and taste great, too. They can also be mixed with other fruits for healthy snacks that contain a little extra sweetness.
Berries are rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Their anti-inflammatory compounds can keep you feeling energized and help prevent lifestyle diseases like obesity and diabetes (4).
Blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries are all good options when you’re looking for healthy ways to snack on berries. They can be eaten alone or mixed into a smoothie with some yogurt and ice.
Due to their high sugar content, it’s best to limit your intake of berry juices and sugar-sweetened beverages.
These drinks often contain a lot of added sugars and calories that can take away from the effects of intermittent fasting. They also lack fiber, which is essential for keeping you feeling full and energized.
Hard-boiled eggs are a great food for intermittent fasting because they’re low in calories but also provide a lot of healthy nutrients that will serve you well throughout the day.
Eggs contain high-quality protein and “good” fats, along with various vitamins and minerals (18). They’re easy to prepare – just boil some eggs for 10 to 15 minutes and you’ll have a tasty protein-packed snack that won’t take long to eat.
7. Air-Popped Popcorn
Air-popped popcorn is high in fiber and has very few calories. It’s also easy to prepare on the stovetop or in an air popper at home, so it’s a great food to snack on while you’re fasting.
You should be careful about what you add to your air-popped popcorn. Opt for a healthier topping like cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and pepper, or low-fat butter spray instead of copious amounts of salt and butter if you’re watching your sodium and calorie intake.
8. Protein Bars
If you’re looking for a high-protein snack that is also low in calories, protein bars may be the way to go. They often contain various vitamins and minerals as well, so they can give your body what it needs while keeping up with your fasting schedule.
However, there are some drawbacks to consider when it comes to eating protein bars. Some of them can be high in sugar and fat, so it’s important to choose a healthy brand that will give you the most nutritional bang for your buck.
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9. Fish And Seafood
Fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to various benefits including improved brain function. Some studies even found that omega-3s can improve memory and learning ability in the elderly (5).
If you’re looking for fish with high levels of these healthy fats, try salmon, sardines or trout. Steer clear of fried fish and opt for baked or broiled options instead.
10. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are extremely healthy foods that have a lot to offer when it comes to overall health. They’re full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help keep you in optimal shape even while fasting intermittently (12).
Salads are a great way to enjoy leafy greens, but they can also be added to soups and stews. Add some spinach or kale into your next healthy smoothie for an instant boost of nutrients.
Some of the best leafy greens for intermittent fasting snacks include spinach, kale, and Swiss chard.
11. Beans And Legumes
Beans are packed full of nutrients and fiber. Many of them also contain high levels of protein for a low number of calories (19). They’re filling, nutritious snacks that you’ll love having in various ways such as stewed, baked, or as a side dish.
Beans may need to be eaten in moderation, especially by those who are trying to avoid gas. Bloating and cramping can occur when you eat them, but they’re typically still well-tolerated if consumed in reasonable amounts. Your body will also adjust if you slowly increase your intake over time.
When possible, opt for dried beans instead of canned because you can control the amount of salt that you add, and they are typically cheaper. You can also try sprouting them, which is said to improve their overall nutrient composition.
12. Probiotic-Rich Foods
Probiotic-rich foods can help promote a healthy gut and support your immune system. They may also improve your mental health and reduce the effects of various conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (13).
Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut are some of the best probiotic-rich foods to snack on, but you can also opt for certain drinks like kombucha. Fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir are also great additions.
The Bottom Line
Eating healthy snacks is a great way to keep your body in the best shape possible. When it comes to fasting, aim for intermittent fasting snacks that will help you remain satisfied and full while providing you with the necessary vitamins and minerals.
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!
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