They’re two of the biggest names in the fitness and weight-loss industries right now: intermittent fasting and meal prepping.
Both of these techniques are meant to provide a framework for healthy and nutritious eating in order to reach physical and health-related goals like losing weight or building muscle.
And luckily, these things aren’t mutually exclusive! You can practice both intermittent fasting and meal prepping together to make your eating plan seamless and tailored for your goals.
Here’s a quick explanation of intermittent fasting and how you can change your meal prep plan to fit into this eating pattern.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Like the name suggests, intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating that requires that you “fast” for a certain period of time. The schedule can vary from person to person, but common patterns include eating for eight hours and fasting for sixteen, or fasting completely for a couple of days a week and then eating normally for the rest of the time.
Intermittent fasting is most often used for weight loss. It makes sense, too: if you do it right, minimizing your eating time to just a couple of hours limits how much you can eat overall, so you’re more likely to eat fewer calories during that time period.
It’s not always that seamless of a process, though. Many people, and especially when you’re first beginning to fast, tend to feel extremely hungry by the time they’re ready to eat, which can quickly lead to overeating and overdoing it on your calorie intake if you don’t have a solid plan for your food in mind.
How To Meal Prep For Intermittent Fasting
In many ways, meal prepping can actually make your intermittent fasting easier. You already have your entire meal plan ready for you by the time you’re ready to eat, so you have a better grasp of how many calories you need during that time period and won’t be led astray by your hunger.
Intermittent fasting also makes meal prepping easier. Since you’re likely going to be skipping a meal or two, you won’t have to plan for as many meals, and it’s less calories and nutrition to add up.
Tips for meal prepping during intermittent fasting:
- Make sure that you’re getting enough nutrients for a full day as you meal prep. The point of intermittent fasting isn’t to deprive yourself, but simply to reduce the amount of time that you can get your food in. You still want to be eating nutritiously and balanced in that time frame to fuel your body right.
- Count calories! This is especially important if you’re trying to lose weight, since continuing to eat at a caloric surplus will just cancel out how effective your intermittent fasting is. You should aim to eat about 300 fewer calories per day.
- On the other hand, don’t go too extreme with your calorie-cutting. In order to make your weight loss sustainable, it shouldn’t be too fast – aiming to lose about one to two pounds a week would be ideal. Otherwise, you’re going to start losing muscle instead of fat, and you probably won’t be developing any healthy habits that can help you to maintain your weight later.
- Use a meal prep delivery service. It can be hard to determine how many calories and what kind of nutrition you’re getting when you plan for every meal on your own, so using a meal prep delivery service can lighten your load and take some of the guesswork out of the equation. As an added bonus, you’re probably not going to have to buy as much food as you would if you were eating normally throughout the day, so you would actually end up saving money while still eating nutritiously!
- Watch your snacking. If you want to lose weight, you don’t really have free reign to eat whatever you want during your eating period, and excessive snacking is a good way to end up eating more than you need for the day. Try to keep track of everything you eat throughout the day and count those calories so that you don’t end up going overboard.
Remember, intermittent fasting on its own is not going to be the solution for your weight loss and fitness goals if you aren’t getting the right things in your diet when it comes time to eat. You need to pair the idea of intermittent fasting with a solid eating plan if you want to reap the results.
Meal prepping and intermittent fasting can easily go hand-in-hand for this. Make sure to plan things out accordingly, keep moving, and eat well so that you can crush all of your health goals!