Make the 5:2 diet as easy as possible with this delicious low-calorie recipe from Mimi Spencer's new book

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The 5:2 diet  and the author who quickly became a Fast Diet convert , Mimi Spencer , are household favourites in the GTG office. A reasonable and effective routine, the diet requires two intermittent fast days of around 600 calories with a general plan of healthy eating for the remaining days. Thankfully, Mimi’s extensive choice of low-calorie recipes  have made it even easier to follow and kept our taste buds happy so there’s no deprivation involved - just nutritious, delicious food.

Perfect after a long day, this scrummy spag bol is taken from Mimi’s new Fast Cook recipe book (RRP £9.99, Amazon ). It’s hearty, healthy and won’t leave your tummy rumbling all night long.

Calorie Count: 180 per portion

Serves 4

A family classic, but here I’ve lowered the GI count and raised the fibre by bumping up the veg. My father always adds mixed spice to his bolognaise sauce, and I’d recommend its addition for an authentic Italian touch.


cooking oil spray

400g lean minced beef

1 large onion, diced

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 celery stick, diced

1 red pepper, diced

200g mushrooms, chopped

½ tsp mixed herbs

1 tsp mixed spice

1 400g tin cherry tomatoes

3 tbsp tomato purée

1 courgette, diced

200ml beef stock, or boiling water with an Oxo cube

1 tsp marmite

salt and pepper


Spray a large pan with a little oil, then fry off the meat until browned and set aside in a separate bowl. This is an important stage as the sugars from the meat will lend your bolognaise colour and flavour.

Add onion, celery and pepper to the pan and cook gently for 2-3 minutes until softened.

Add mushrooms, herbs, mixed spice, tomatoes and tomato purée and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Add browned mince and courgette, together with the stock and Marmite.

Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes – longer if possible to enrich the sauce.

Check seasoning and serve.

Instead of pasta, serve with:

• steamed broccoli and cauliflower florets (+30-35 cals per 100g)

• veg ‘noodles’ – stir-fried ribbons of courgette, carrot and leek (+35 cals per 100g)

Like this? You might like this 5:2 diet recipe for pork and quinoa burgers