Two weeks in and I’m rather enjoying this Fast Diet lark. And so, it seems, does the entire adult population of the UK- you only have to glance at the plethora of 5:2 variations in Waterstone’s to see how much of a bandwagon it is that I’ve jumped right on. This is probably because it really doesn’t feel like a diet at all- I eat what I want most days and quite like the challenge of having to be creative with recipes on the 2 fast days. Waking up with a flatter stomach than normal the next morning is just the icing on the cake, as it were.
A Typical Day
Now before I start getting all up in your grill with calories, bear in mind that this is only for 2 days per week. The rest of the time I do eat like a normal human being.
I usually pick my two days for when I’m working because it keeps me busy, so my fast days usually go something like this: small porridge (40g oats made with water, sprinkle of raisins- 200kcal) and cuppa before hopping on the train to work, lots of water all morning, super-healthy lunch at Pret (tuna nicoise salad- 167kcal without dressing) or from my fave, Itsu (salmon sushi with ginger, 190kcal), lots of different hot teas all afternoon, then filling vegetable soup at home taking you to the 500kcal mark- bingo. The evenings are when I get most tempted so I get dinner sorted the day before and avoid hanging out in the kitchen to stop myself from snacking like a fiend.
However whilst this works most days, there are those days where the minutes drag by and you just think, sod it. I need carbs too much. Last week and a post-work evening snack slid quickly to half a baguette, wine and 3 Aero biscuits, so I just admitted defeat and postponed it for a couple of days.
100-300 Calorie Recipes
I’ve come up with my 3 favourite recipes for you to try at home (all pictures by yours truly) for a delicious 500 calorie day.
Frozen Yoghurt with Berries
I came across this one in the Guardian and love that you can flavour it with any fruit, just buy them frozen from the supermarket. Go for the teaspoon of honey, makes all the difference!
(Serves 1, 120kcal or 100kcal without the honey)
150g frozen berries
100g fat-free Greek yoghurt
1tsp honey (optional)
Blend half the berries with the yoghurt in a food processor until smooth. Add the honey and whizz again, then taste and add a little more lemon if necessary (you can also add more honey, but bear in mind each teaspoon adds 20kcal). Scoop into a bowl or glass and top with the remaining berries.
Moroccan Chickpea Soup
From BBC Good Food. I chopped in some fresh red chilli for an extra kick, and used a hand blender to blend about 1/3 of the soup before adding the broad beans to make it thicker. You can sprinkle 1tbsp grated parmesan on top if you’re a cheese-on-soup kinda person like me (extra 20kcal).
(Serves 4, 148 kcal per serving)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 clove garlic, crushed
600ml hot vegetable stock
400g can chopped plum tomatoes with garlic
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
100g frozen broad beans
zest and juice 1/2 lemon
large handful coriander/parsley
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then fry the onion and celery gently for 10 mins until softened, stirring frequently. Tip in the cumin and garlic and fry for another min.
Turn up the heat, then add the stock, tomatoes and chickpeas, plus a good grind of black pepper. Simmer for 8 mins. Throw in broad beans and lemon juice, cook for a further 2 mins. Season to taste, then top with a sprinkling of lemon zest and chopped herbs.
Prosciutto-wrapped Cod with Asparagus
This is one of my own and uses a fantastic combination of healthy ingredients. Lemon zest under the prosciutto is a winner, and even if you’re not a fan of capers trust me and chuck them in anyway- they add something to the tomatoes and make the juice deliciously tangy.
Serves 4 (226 kcal)
4 cod fillets
4 slices prosciutto
1 bunch asparagus (250g)
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp capers
1 tbsp olive oil (chilli-infused is great)
Zest and juice 1/2 lemon (non-waxed)
200g frozen peas, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180c (350f or gas mark 4). Dry the cod fillets with a paper towel and grate the lemon zest over the non-skin side. Wrap gently in prosciutto. Remove the bottom inch of the asparagus stalks and chop the rest into 1in pieces. Place into a large roasting tin with the tomatoes and capers, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and lots of black pepper. Squeeze lemon juice on top. Place the fish on top of the vegetables skin-side down and cook in the oven for around 30 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily. Season with extra lemon juice or salt/pepper if needed. Serve with green vegetable of your choice, I went for peas- easy peasy.
Total: 494 calories. Boom.
I’ll let you know how effective it’s been after one month! If you have a favourite recipe to share, for fast days or feast days, drop me a comment below.