Back in December of last year I posted a guide to the 5:2 Diet and promised a part two coming soon. Apologies it has taken me a wee bit of time to get around to producing this . . . however, I'm hoping it will be useful to anyone considering giving this diet a shot, or perhaps a wee bit additional inspiration if you're struggling!
So first of all, let's look at some of the books which are available which will cater to the 5:2 Diet . . .
Fast Days and Feast Days by Elly Pear
I really like this book; there are some great fast days ideas in there. My main problem with it is that I feel there are more feast day recipes. However, the courgette dahl is a definite fast day winner, and there are some good fast day ideas for batch-cooking so I would still recommend it for fast days and overall general healthy eating.
The Ultimate 5: 2 Diet Recipe Book by Kate Harrison
I have to admit I'm more familiar with Kate Harrison as a chick-lit author but she's became somewhat of a 5:2 guru also, and this book is full of easy recipe ideas... as well as contributions from several regular people doing the 5:2 diet and their experience of it.
Fast Cook by Mimi Spencer
This is the latest addition to my collection - I haven't tried anything from it yet, but there are loads of recipes to choose from, including a selection of 600 calorie meals for any men trying the diet. There is also a whole section dedicated to "skinny" versions of classic comfort food, like chilli, spag bol, and coq au vin.
And what are some of the recipes I've tried on this diet?
As I touched on in part one, I do tend to skip breakfast and then have some sort of tinned low calorie soup in a flask at lunchtime, saving most of my calories for a low calorie delicious home-made meal at dinner followed by a small bar of chocolate - this is the way I've worked out I can make this work for me. And having something delicious to look forward to for dinner is one of the main things that keeps you going on this diet!
So let me provide you with a couple of recipes I have tried so far as fast day dinners which have been delicious!
First up, we have the aforementioned courgette dahl from Elly Pear.
This was gorgeous. The egg is optional but I had the calories available for it so I thought it was a good extra. The recipe is in the book, but I managed to track down a copy of it online also - I'm nice like that! For me, this worked out at just over 200 calories including the egg. (By the way, I would always recommend using myfitnesspal and plugging in the calories as you go along, as the ingredients you're using may differ slightly from a recipe and you want to have an accurate calorie count.)
Next up we have my own kidney bean curry recipe, which I adapted very slightly to fit in with the 5:2 diet. By which I pretty much mean "left out the rice".
The original can be found here but it's pretty simple so I'll sum it up again here. To serve two people you need one 400g tin of kidney beans, 400 g chopped tomatoes, red onion, a pepper, a teaspoon of bouillon powder and whatever spices you like! I topped it with one of those little mini pots of light Philadelphia, and it was lush and relatively filling! Worked out at just under 300 calories per serving.
Another idea is this mushroom goulash recipe, which can be found on this website - this was also delicious. I swapped the celery (not a fan!) for spring onions and courgetti . . .
. . .and after I'd plugged the calories into myfitnesspal I realised I still had absolutely tons of calories to play with, so I toasted a Warburtons thin and popped this on top along with the low calorie crème fraiche mentioned in the recipe. 250 calories - BOOM!
Then we have the delicious Saag Paneer.
I love love love paneer. This was oh so delicious. This is from the Kate Harrison book I mentioned above, and unfortunately for you guys I cannot find a copy of the recipe online (sorry!) but its main ingredients are frozen spinach, paneer, onion and OODLES of spice topped one again with a wee bit of reduced fat crème fraiche. Less than 300 calories.
And last but not least (for now anyway!) we have chorizo and butterbean stew, which I got the recipe for from this website.
This one came in at just over 200 calories and it was very tasty. I do wish I could have had a tad more chorizo in it though!
I hope these recipes will come in handy for you if you are on the 5:2 diet but there's absolutely tons of other ideas out there and I encourage you to seek them out as personally I think the more interesting you can make this diet the easier it is to stick to!
Obviously you can opt for low calorie ready meals if you want to, and I realise it can be easier than slaving away in the kitchen - but none of the above recipes are difficult to make and shouldn't take you that much longer. PLUS . . . you're burning calories as you chop and cook and dance around the kitchen so why wouldn't you?!?
What other resources are there if you want to do 5:2 and need inspiration?
First up, if you're a Facebook user, I would recommend joining the 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Diet closed group on there for inspiration. There are tons of active users on there, encouraging each other - loads of support if you're struggling a bit during the day, and a thread where members share their favourite fast day meals... you may notice some of my pictures above pop up there, I go on there quite often for a wee bit of inspo.
The official Fast Diet forums are also a good shout for a wee bit of research - you can find recipe threads on there too!
Other ideas can be found on Pinterest and Instagram, just by searching for 5:2 diet ideas. I've found absolutely tons of my recipes through Pinterest, so I would definitely recommend there for a wee browse. Although I tend to get sucked down the Pinterest rabbit hole and emerge several hours later starving and drooling, so it's not always ideal if you're on a fast day to do your research then. (Although I strangely find it works for me - like eating without the calories - so each to their own!)
I hope this guide, along with part one, has helped you if you are considering 5:2, and if I come across any more lovely fast day recipes I will be sure to let you know - pinky promise!