Losing weight and improving health is not a one-size-fits all approach. For some, counting calories and tracking meals leads to successful results. Others may find success in different diets or weight loss programs. More recently, Intermittent Fasting has become a popular method for many who are trying to lose weight, improve their health, and simplify their eating habits.
Research shows that some of the benefits of Intermittent Fasting include weight loss, improvement in insulin sensitivity and reduction in appetite. Intermittent Fasting works by limiting the window of time that you can consume calories, leading to an overall calorie deficit. If some of the more traditional approaches to weight loss haven’t worked for you, it may be time to give Intermittent Fasting a try.
Intermittent Fasting focuses on WHEN you eat versus WHAT you are eating. It involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting, with many different methods and variations. Some versions of Intermittent Fasting include a reduction in calories for two days per week and the rest of the week includes a regular diet.
Others may use certain hours for eating in the day and the remaining hours are fasting. The hours that you would fast are dependent on your schedule and what fits best with your lifestyle. These 10 types of Intermittent Fasting are a good starting point to find the best schedule for you.
Below, we will go over one of the most popular types of Intermittent Fasting, the 16/8 method. We’ll also take a look at a 7-day 16/8 Intermittent Fasting meal plan for a regular diet, tips for making the meal plan work for you, and a sample meal plan specifically for some popular diets including Paleo, Keto, Vegan, and Mediterranean.
What is 16/8 Intermittent Fasting?
One of the most popular approaches to Intermittent Fasting is the 16/8 method, which involves fasting for 16 hours each day and eating during an 8-hour window. This approach can be easily incorporated into a healthy and balanced meal plan, with some adjustments to meal timing and food choices.
The 16/8 Intermittent Fasting method is a popular choice because the hours naturally fit with most people’s natural clocks. Many find that if they avoid eating in the early morning and late evening time frame, they have more energy and can avoid overeating the next day.
If you’re interested in learning all of the ins and outs of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting, check out this complete guide to 16/8 Intermittent Fasting.
16/8 Intermittent Fasting 7 Day Meal Plan
There are many eating patterns and diets that can fit into a 16/8 Intermittent Fasting schedule. We will discuss other specific diets that fit with 16/8 Intermittent Fasting later on, but for now, let’s focus on what a regular healthy diet may look like on a 16/8 Intermittent Fasting schedule.
For starters, a 16/8 meal plan will focus on whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible. Although 16/8 Intermittent Fasting is not a prescriptive diet, consuming whole, nutrient-dense foods are encouraged.
This means you will want to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean meats. Foods that should be limited include refined sugars, fried foods, and highly processed foods. Fueling your body with these guidelines in mind will lead to greater weight loss and health results while following a 16/8 Intermittent Fasting schedule.
Below you will find a 16/8 Intermittent Fasting meal plan that includes three balanced meals and two snacks for seven days.
There is a focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods and includes vegetables, fruits, lean protein, healthy fats, and whole grains. This meal plan is more of a general, healthy diet for someone following the 16/8 Intermittent Fasting schedule without dietary restrictions.
There is no specific diet that is followed in this meal plan. It also provides enough calories and nutrients to support energy levels and overall health while still allowing for a 16-hour fasting period.
Here is an example 16/8 Intermittent Fasting meal plan for one week:
- 10AM- 2 scrambled eggs, slice of whole grain toast, 1 orange, black coffee or tea
- 12PM- Turkey wrap (whole grain wrap with sliced turkey, feta, cucumbers spinach), handful of mixed nuts
- 3PM- Carrots and peppers, hummus
- 5PM- Salmon, roasted sweet potatoes & broccoli
- 6PM- 2 dark chocolate squares, handful of raspberries
- 10AM- ½ cup oatmeal topped with walnuts, chia seeds, and nut butter, ½ banana, black coffee or tea
- 12PM- Cobb salad (ham, turkey, egg on a bed of mixed greens topped with avocado, cucumber, tomato)
- 3PM- whole grain popcorn, handful of blueberries
- 5PM- Vegetarian chili, slice of whole grain bread
- 6PM- apple, nut butter
- 10AM- 2 scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, banana, black coffee or tea
- 12PM- Burrito bowl (black beans, corn, brown rice, cheese, salsa)
- 3PM- Roasted chickpeas with sprinkle of paprika and salt, apple
- 5PM- Baked chicken breast, whole wheat noodles with tomato sauce, garden salad with vinaigrette based dressing
- 6PM- 2 dark chocolate squares, handful of blueberries
- 10AM- ½ cup oatmeal topped with walnuts, chia seeds, and nut butter, ½ banana, black coffee or herbal tea
- 12PM- Tuna salad (sub greek yogurt or avocado for mayo), spinach, whole grain bread
- 3PM- Mozzarella string cheese, apple
- 5PM- Steak fajitas, brown rice, roasted peppers and corn
- 6PM- carrots, hummus
- 10AM- Smashed avocado with seasoning of choice on whole grain bread
- 12PM- Mediterranean wrap (chickpeas, cucumber, mixed greens, feta on whole grain wrap)
- 3PM- Greek yogurt, handful of raspberries
- 5PM- Baked chicken breast, quinoa, steamed cauliflower and carrots
- 6PM- Apple, boiled egg
- 10AM- Protein pancakes, blueberries, greek yogurt, black coffee or tea
- 12PM- Baked chicken, mixed green salad, cucumbers, pumpkin seeds, vinegarette dressing, whole grain crackers
- 3PM- Celery sticks, nut butter
- 5PM- Turkey burger on whole wheat bun, sweet potato wedges
- 6PM- 2 dark chocolate squares, handful of raspberries
- 10AM- Fruit smoothie, whole grain toast, black coffee or tea
- 12PM- Lentil soup, mixed greens salad
- 3PM- Whole grain popcorn, apple
- 5PM- Stir fry (chicken, bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini), quinoa
- 6PM- Greek yogurt, cashews
Note- It’s important to note that portion sizes and nutritional needs vary based on individual factors such as age, weight, and activity level. Therefore, this meal plan may not be appropriate for everyone. Please consult your doctor or dietitian for your specific calorie needs and portion sizes.
To make the most of your intermittent fasting meal plan, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help keep you feeling full and hydrated, especially during your fasting period.
- Plan ahead: Preparing meals and snacks ahead of time can help you stick to your eating window.
- Listen to your body: Pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues, and adjust your meal plan as needed to meet your individual needs and preferences.
- Be patient: It can take time to adjust to intermittent fasting and see results, so be patient and consistent with your meal plan and lifestyle habits.
If you want more ideas for meal planning, check out our meal plans that include 21 days of meal ideas for your Intermittent Fasting journey.
Now, what if you already follow a specific diet- can you combine your diet with Intermittent Fasting? And, will the 16/8 Fasting schedule work with another diet?
The short answer is yes, there are many diets that can fit within the 16/8 Intermittent Fasting schedule. We will take a closer look at diets like Paleo, Vegan, Keto, and Mediterranean and see a one-day example of a 16/8 Intermittent Fasting meal plan for each.
For a more complete list of foods to each with each diet, this Intermittent Fasting Food List explains what to eat on each diet.
The keto or ketogenic diet has gained popularity in the last few years. The goal of the keto diet is to achieve ketosis, which basically means your body starts relying on a version of stored fat (ketones) instead of carbohydrates for energy. Many people turn to keto as a weight loss technique, however it is also used to treat certain neurological disorders such as epilepsy.
When combined with Intermittent Fasting, the keto diet can be a powerful tool to burn fat quickly. Some general tips for a keto diet meal plan include incorporating plenty of healthy fats, moderate amounts of protein, and limiting carbohydrates to 20-50 grams per day.
Additionally, focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and high-quality protein sources.
Here is a sample day for a Keto 16/8 Intermittent Fasting meal plan:
- 8 AM- Scrambled eggs cooked in coconut oil, bacon
- 10 AM- Avocado with seasoning
- 12 PM- Baked salmon with mixed green salad (vinaigrette based dressing)
- 2 PM- Celery sticks with almond butter
- 4 PM- Grilled steak roasted broccoli in garlic butter, small handful of raspberries
The paleo or paleolithic diet is based upon the idea that we should eat like our ancestors did. The theory behind the paleo diet is that our genes are not equipped to handle highly processed foods and refined sugars which can lead to chronic diseases.
Paleo is a popular method to lose weight and improve cardiovascular disease risk. The effects of the paleo diet will be enhanced when combined with Intermittent Fasting. By eating paleo, you eliminate processed foods, refined carbohydrates, starchy vegetables, and dairy from your diet.
Foods to focus on include non-starchy vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, eggs, fish, olive oil, and lean meats.
Here is a sample day for a Paleo 16/8 Intermittent Fasting meal plan:
- 8AM- Vegetable omelet (eggs, spinach, mushrooms, peppers), blueberries
- 10AM- Orange, mixed nuts
- 12PM- Turkey lettuce wraps with sliced turkey breast, avocado, tomato, and lettuce leaves.
- 2PM- Celery sticks with almond butter
- 4PM- Beef and vegetable stir-fry made with grass-fed beef, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, and cauliflower rice.
Vegan or veganism is the practice of avoiding any animal or animal- based product. When you eat vegan, you consume a strict plant-based diet. This diet will take careful planning to ensure all nutrient needs are being met.
Not only does practicing veganism aid in weight loss, but it also improves cardiovascular health and reduces the risk for certain conditions like metabolic syndrome. Eating vegan while intermittent fasting enhances the benefits of both. It’s important to focus on eating a variety of fruits and vegetables while eating vegan and ensuring adequate protein is consumed.
Here is a sample day for a Vegan 16/8 Intermittent Fasting meal plan:
- 8AM- Oatmeal with flax seed, dried apricots, nut butter
- 10AM- Apple, coconut milk yogurt
- 12PM- Lentil soup, sweet potato wedges, mixed greens salad
- 2PM- Edamame, handful of raspberries
- 4PM- Chickpea pasta with tomato sauce, roasted broccoli and cauliflower
The Mediterranean diet is not only known for its flavorful dishes but also its many health benefits. The Mediterranean diet can improve glycemic control, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and help with weight loss.
This diet is simple to follow and includes a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, legumes, and healthy fats such as olive oil.
Here is a sample day for Mediterranean 16/8 Intermittent Fasting meal plan:
- 8AM- Overnight oats (oats, almond milk, chia seeds, mashed banana) topped with coconut flakes, hard boiled egg
- 10AM- Pear, handful of mixed nuts
- 12PM- Whole grain pita with chickpeas, cucumbers, feta, tomatoes, spinach
- 2PM- Greek yogurt, strawberries
- 4PM- Grilled tilapia, quinoa, roasted zucchini, mushrooms, green beans
As you can see, the 16/8 Intermittent Fasting schedule works with a variety of popular diets.
These meal plans are meant to provide a starting place and inspiration for what to eat while on a regular diet, paleo, keto, vegan or Mediterranean. It’s important to adapt these ideas to your food preferences or dietary restrictions.
Also need help fasting? Check out the Best Intermittent Fasting Mobile Apps we recommend to help you on your journey.