A Prep-Ahead DIY Fasting Mimicking Diet Menu

Plan a Simplified Spa Week


Jeni O'Neill

January 2, 2024

Woman chopping vegetables preparing a meal
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    Many of you have experienced the Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) with us at RIFM, and we’ve heard your feedback on the positive results! As we start off the New Year with a renewed commitment to our health, the Fasting Mimicking Diet can be a powerful tool.

    Are you ready to clean up your diet, jump-start your mitochondria, and reset your eating habits?

    In this article, I set out to blend the benefits of a real-food FMD with the ease of pre-prepared meals that are easy to grab and go.

    I repeat meals daily to keep this simple and minimize the prep time. For example, breakfast every day is blueberry cinnamon chia pudding and lunch is a veggie-packed salad. If you prefer more variety, I also offer alternative recipes. Who knew that a fasting mimicking diet could be so delicious?

    Before diving into the plan, I want to take a moment to revisit the benefits of a DIY Fasting Mimicking Diet:


    The Benefits of the DIY FMD

    Fast with Freedom

    A DIY Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) allows you to enjoy the benefits of fasting while still eating nutritionally dense foods. While the protein and calorie restriction does promote powerful effects in the body, this doesn’t feel like a fast! It’s more like a week at a spa, especially since you can prepare these foods ahead of time and skip the cooking for the five days!

    Keep Real Food as a Focus

    Many of you already eat a clean, unprocessed diet and might prefer a DIY FMD using real food instead of ordering a kit online. A DIY option allows for a  more tailored approach and is in line with our values of eating lots of nutrient-dense vegetables and healthy fats.

    Lunch boxes with chopped fruits and vegetablesEstablish Healthy Patterns

    While a boxed kit can help us attain some of the health benefits of a FMD, it does nothing to help us establish healthy eating patterns. Creating your own DIY fasting mimicking diet is a bit more work, but I believe it’s much more beneficial in the long run because it helps to create habits of planning, cooking, and eating real foods (mostly vegetables) along the way.

    Enjoy Health Benefits

    The fasting mimicking diet has shown promising results in treating various diseases, making it a hopeful intervention for conditions like elevated blood sugar, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune conditions, obesity, and more.


    Create Your Own FMD Based on Your Preferences!

    Using a tool like MyFitnessPal, you can add ingredients you like, and then check the nutritional pie chart at the bottom. I find that using MyFitnessPal on my computer’s browser is much easier than my phone, but experiment with both. You’ll probably find that the hardest part is keeping that protein so low.

    Here are some guidelines you’ll want to keep in mind as you design your own meals (data comes from this study) :

    Woman preparing her own meal in the kitchen picking out some herbs

    1. The FMD is a plant-based diet (no animal products) designed to attain fasting-like effects on the serum levels of IGF-1, IGFBP-1, glucose, and ketone bodies while providing both macro- and micronutrients to minimize the side effects of fasting.
    2. Day 1 of the FMD includes ~1100 calories (11% protein, 46% fat, and 43% carbohydrate).
    3. Day 2 of the FMD includes ~800 calories (9% protein, 44% fat, and 47% carbohydrate) per day.
    4. From the Longevity Diet book, Longo suggests that a DIY version (for days 2-5) should include 400 calories from vegetables and 400 calories from fats such as olives, avocados, and nuts. Using these guidelines would be simpler than using MyFitnessPal, but I think it would include more than 10% protein. You’d be surprised at how much protein is in broccoli or nuts, for example!
    5. I find that reducing the carbohydrates and increasing fats allows me to dip into ketosis sooner. A ketone monitor can be helpful with this but is not necessary.

    Or Try This Prep-Ahead Plan:


    5-Day Meal Plan

    This plan combines the convenience of the Prolon kit with the nutrition, taste, and cost savings of real food. It’s certainly not as simple as opening a bar or reconstituting a soup, but it’s definitely more nutrient-rich and satisfying. 

    Feel free to alter it based on your preferences! Just be sure to keep the calorie counts in line and the protein percentage to about 10% for the 5 days. 

    Day 1

    Vegetable Salad

    1100 Calories

    Breakfast: Blueberry Cinnamon Chia Pudding (double portion)

    Lunch: Veggie-packed salad with 1 cup of berries

    Snack: 1 Medium Apple

    Dinner: Creamy Cauliflower Soup (double portion) with a Side Salad and ½ cup berries

    Treat:* 4 oz low-sugar kombucha (such as Synergy)

    1 Square 85% (or higher) dark chocolate

    Days 2 & 4

    800 Calories

    Breakfast: Blueberry Cinnamon Chia Pudding (one portion)

    Lunch: Veggie-Packed Salad

    Dinner: Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Bisque (with toppings)

    ½ cup berries

    Snack: 1 Medium Apple

    Treat:* 4 oz low-sugar kombucha (such as Synergy)

    1 Square 85% (or higher) dark chocolate

    Days 3 & 5

    Vegetable Salad with Apples

    800 Calories

    Breakfast: Blueberry Cinnamon Chia Pudding (one portion)

    Lunch: Veggie-packed salad with ½ cup berries

    Snack: 1 Medium Apple

    Dinner: Creamy Cauliflower Soup with a Side Salad and ½ cup berries

    Treat:* 4 oz low-sugar kombucha (such as Synergy)

    1 Square 85% (or higher) dark chocolate

     

    *Note: Feel free to substitute another snack or treat with a similar macro profile. This optional treat has 73 calories, 62% from fat (5g), 33% from carbs (6g), and 5% from protein (1g).


    Shopping List 

    Produce (organic preferred)

    Colorful vegetables piling up

    • 1 16 oz box of mixed greens
    • 1 5 oz box of mixed greens
    • 1 lbs grape tomatoes (65 tomatoes)
    • 2 lbs carrots
    • 3 English cucumbers (about 1.5 lbs)
    • 2 heads cauliflower (medium, approximately 5–6″ in diameter)
    • 2 large or 3 medium avocados
    • 1 lemon
    • 1 medium butternut squash (large if doubling the recipe)
    • 1 garlic bulb
    • 1 medium onion
    • 1 pint blueberries (for chia pudding)
    • 3 pints berries of your choice (fresh or frozen — 4.5 cups total)
    • 5 medium apples 
    • Low Sugar Kombucha (such as Synergy)

    Pantry

    • Olive oil for salads
    • Avocado oil for cooking
    • 1 small jar olives (about 12 oz — clean ingredients)
    • 1 can light coconut milk (Trader Joe’s or similar with minimal ingredients)
    • ½ lbs chia seeds
    • Small container of raw honey
    • 1 quart vegetable broth (organic preferred)
    • Dark chocolate (at least 85%)
    • Green tea (organic preferred)

    Organic Almond Milk with actual almond nuts beside it

    Spices

    • Curry Powder
    • Cumin
    • Cayenne Pepper
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Dried thyme or other herbs of choice for salads
    • Cinnamon

    Dairy

    • ½ gallon unsweetened almond milk (preferably organic with minimal clean ingredients — or homemade is great too)

    Online Order (Optional):

    • 5 packets LMNT (drinklmnt.com)
    • Inulin

    Prep Day Plan 

    If you like the idea of batch cooking your meals ahead of time for an easy grab-and-go FMD, you can use this plan to prepare your food 1–2 days in advance. 

    Woman chopping vegetables preparing her meal

    1. Wash & Chop All Vegetables
    2. Salad Prep:
      • 5 Lunch Salads: Place the salad ingredients for 5 Veggie-Packed Salads in 5 containers or jars and store in the refrigerator. Note a 1lb container of mixed salad greens divides nicely into five: 3-cup portions. So you can divide the whole salad container into your 5 dishes for the week. 
      • 3 Side Salads: Place salad ingredients for 3 Side Salads in 3 containers or jars and store in the refrigerator. Note: just divide the 5 oz salad container into 3 dishes for the week. 
    3. Slice 1 lemon into 8 wedges and store in the refrigerator.
    4. Make Creamy Cauliflower Soup and divide it into 6 portions.
      Note: on Day 1, a double portion of the soup is served for dinner. You will have 2 additional portions that can be frozen, if desired. 
    5. Make Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Bisque and divide it into 4 portions.
      Note: you will only eat 2 of these. They store well in the freezer for next time!
    6. Prep Blueberry Cinnamon Chia Pudding
      • In 5 individual containers or jars, prepare a double portion for Day 1 and single portions for Days 2–5.
    7. Optional: Portion out 1 cup of berries and 6 — ½ cup portions.
    •  

    Recipes

    Blueberry Cinnamon Chia Pudding

    A glass of Blueberry Chia Seeds Pudding

    Makes 1 Serving

    Ingredients

    • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
    • ½  cup unsweetened almond milk
    • Sprinkle of cinnamon
    • 1 tsp honey
    • ¼ cup blueberries

    Instructions

    1. In a jar, combine chia seeds, almond milk, and cinnamon. Mix well.
    2. Let the mixture settle for 2-3 minutes, then stir thoroughly until no clumps remain. A milk frother or immersion blender can be used here if desired.
    3. Cover the jar and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours.
    4. Before serving, top with honey and fresh blueberries.
    5. Enjoy this Blueberry Cinnamon Chia Pudding cold!

     

    Veggie-Packed Salad (Lunch Portion)

    Vegetable salad for lunch

    Makes 1 Serving

    Ingredients

    • Salad
      • 3 cups mixed greens
      • 10 grape tomatoes
      • 85 g carrots, thinly sliced
      • 100 g cucumber, chopped
      • 5 olives, pitted
    • Toppings
      • 40 g avocado, cubed
      • 1 tsp olive oil
      • 1 lemon wedge
      • Salt and pepper to taste
      • Sprinkle of thyme or other herbs, if desired

    Instructions

    1. Combine all salad ingredients in a container.
    2. When ready to serve, add the avocado and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
    3. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs to taste

     

    Side Salad 

    Chopped Broccoli, Carrots, Tomato, Bell Pepper and Cucumber

    Makes 1 Serving

    Ingredients

    • Salad
      • 1 cup mixed greens
      • 5 grape tomatoes
      • 85 g carrots, thinly sliced
      • 50g cucumber, chopped
    • Toppings
      • 1 tsp olive oil
      • 1 lemon wedge
      • Salt and pepper to taste
      • Sprinkle of thyme or other herbs, if desired

    Instructions

    1. Combine all salad ingredients in a container.
    2. When ready to serve, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
    3. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs to taste

     

    Creamy Cauliflower Soup

    Creamy Cauliflower Soup

    Makes 6 Servings

    Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon Avocado Oil
    • 2 medium heads (5-6″ dia) Raw Cauliflower, roughly chopped
    • 1 cup Onions, raw, chopped
    • 6 cloves Garlic, raw, minced
    • 4 cups Vegetable Broth
    • 2 cups Almond Milk, Unsweetened
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • Few grinds of black pepper

    Instructions (Stove Top)

    1. In a large pot, heat avocado oil over medium heat.
    2. Add chopped onions. Sauté until onions are translucent.
    3. Add chopped garlic and saute one more minute.
    4. Add chopped cauliflower.
    5. Pour in vegetable broth and unsweetened almond milk. Add salt and pepper.
    6. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and let it simmer for about 15–20 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
    7. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully transfer the soup in batches to a blender.
    8. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

    Instructions (Instant Pot)

    1. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté” mode. Add avocado oil.
    2. Add chopped onions. Sauté until onions are translucent.
    3. Add chopped garlic and saute one more minute.
    4. Add chopped cauliflower and pour in vegetable broth and unsweetened almond milk. Add salt and pepper.
    5. Close the Instant Pot lid, set to “Soup” mode, and adjust the timer to 10 minutes.
    6. Once done, carefully release pressure according to the Instant Pot instructions.
    7. Blend the soup with an immersion blender or carefully transfer it to a blender. 
    8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

     

    Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Bisque

    a bowl of butternut squash soup

    Makes 4 Servings

    Note: This soup is delicious and my family and I enjoy eating it anytime. It also freezes well, so I always double this recipe. If you double it, use 1 large butternut squash. 

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 Tbsp Avocado Oil
    • 1/2 cup Chopped Onion
    • 5 g Chopped Garlic
    • About 950 grams of Butternut Squash, measured after it’s peeled and cubed (about 1 medium squash)
    • 1/2 can Light Coconut Milk (Trader Joe’s or similar with minimal ingredients – stir before pouring and save the remaining coconut milk for another use)
    • 1.5 cups Water
    • 1 tsp Curry Powder
    • 1/4 tsp Cumin
    • 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional if you like a little heat)
    • 1/2 tsp Salt

    Optional Toppings (per serving)

    • 7g Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds
    • 2 tsp Shaved Unsweetened Coconut

    Instructions (Stove Top)

    1. In a large pot, sauté chopped onion in avocado oil until softened, then add garlic for 30 seconds.
    2. Add butternut squash, light coconut milk, water, curry powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt.
    3. Simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes or until the squash is very soft.
    4. Blend the soup with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender until smooth. Add more water if it’s too thick. Adjust seasonings as needed.

    Instructions (Instant Pot)

    1. Set Instant Pot to sauté mode. In avocado oil, sauté chopped onion until softened, then add garlic for 30 seconds.
    2. Add butternut squash, light coconut milk, water, curry powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt.
    3. Cook on manual for 10 minutes.
    4. Allow the pressure to release naturally, then blend the soup with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender. Adjust seasonings as needed.

    FMD Meal

    • Top the soup with 7g sprouted pumpkin seeds and 2 tsp shaved unsweetened coconut for a delicious FMD meal. 
    • Add a green salad with a squeeze of lemon for a spa-like experience during fasting! If not fasting, make it with chicken stock for added nutrition.

    Extra Recipes

    Avocado Toast

    Avocado Toast

    Makes 1 Serving

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 Avocado
    • 1 slice Dave’s Killer Bread Good Seed Thins 
    • Alternatively, you could use 1 slice of Ezekiel Sprouted Wheat Bread

    Optional Toppings

    • Pinch of Salt
    • Dash of Black Pepper
    • Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
    • Squeeze of Lemon Juice (optional)

    Instructions

    1. Toast a slice of Dave’s Killer Bread Good Seed Thins to your desired level of crispiness.
    2. While the bread is toasting, scoop out half an avocado and mash it in a bowl using a fork.
    3. Once the toast is ready, spread the mashed avocado evenly over the top.
    4. Add your choice of toppings: a pinch of salt, a dash of black pepper, red pepper flakes for some heat, or a squeeze of lemon juice for a citrusy kick.

     

    FMD Green Smoothie 

    Woman drinking a glass of green smoothie

    Makes 1 Serving

    This simple, tasty smoothie is a great way to start your day during the fasting mimicking diet (or anytime!)

    Ingredients

    • 100g Avocado
    • 1 cup Spinach
    • 1 medium Banana
    • 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
    • Handful Ice

    Instructions

    1. Place 100g of ripe avocado, 1 cup of fresh spinach, 1 medium banana, a handful of ice, and 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk into a blender.
    2. Blend until smooth and creamy.

     

    Refreshing Iced Green Tea with Electrolytes

    A glass of iced green tea

    Makes 1 Serving

    Ingredients

    • 1 Green Tea Bag
    • 1 cup Boiling Water
    • Ice Cubes
    • Half packet of LMNT Electrolytes
    • 1 teaspoon Inulin

    Instructions

    1. Place 1 green tea bag in a quart jar.
    2. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the tea bag.
    3. Steep for 3 minutes.
    4. Add a handful of ice to the jar and stir.
    5. Add half a packet of LMNT Electrolytes and 1 teaspoon of inulin. Stir until fully dissolved.
    6. Fill the jar with more ice.

    FAQs

     

    Do I really need a kitchen scale?

    Yes!

    For this one week, you will need to weigh and measure your food. Several of the recipes also use weights in the measurements. Remember, this is not a long-term eating plan and is just intended to be done for 5 days to mimic fasting. 

    Chopped Carrots being weighed on a kitchen scale

     

    Is this a healthy eating strategy long-term?

    No! 

    The Fasting Mimicking Diet is intended to only be done for 5 days at a time, no more than once per month. The low protein quantity is intentional in order to send fasting signals to the body.

    You do not want your body to think that protein is scarce all the time!!

    This eating plan in larger quantities and combined with several servings of clean protein can be a very healthy and sustainable long-term plan.

     

    Do I have to hit the macros and calorie counts perfectly?

    NO! It’s actually impossible.

    You can weigh, measure, and log all day long but it’s not reasonable or realistic to think that your day will perfectly hit your macro or calorie target. 

    That’s ok!! 

    Just do your best to hit the targets and focus mostly on keeping the protein to 10%. Then let the rest go! Done is better than perfect. If you eat these vegetables with low protein content for 5 days, you WILL experience fasting benefits. 

    Remember, the value of this experiment is just as much in the skills and habits that you’re practicing as in the one-time effects on your body. This is something you can come back to and do again – up to once per month.

    Make this as easy — and as pleasant — as possible so that you’ll be willing to do it again later. 

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