It's week four of our 5:2 diet plan (do take a look at week one , two and three if you're just starting) and we hope by now you're feeling great and motivated to keep going. We know you've got enough on your plate as busy glossy women, so here's nutritional expert Vicki Edgson's meal plan for week four to make sticking to the alternate day diet even easier. Bon appetit!
Foods to increase and avoid
Increase: Sprouted beans and seeds as an extra form of protein to add to vegetable soups, and additional complex grains such as barley, buckwheat and millet for plenty of B-vitamin energy. Get adventurous with your smoothies too – you can pack a lot of nutrition into a drinkable breakfast.
Avoid: Copping out! Instead, write down your own recipes as you go to remind yourself of how far you’ve come.
5:2 guidelines update
As flagged in the previous three weeks of the plan, the calorie guidelines have slightly changed since the diet first rose to prominence on BBC’s Horizon programme, Eat, Fast, Live Longer with Dr Michael Mosley .
Initially, it consisted of two ‘fast’ days where calorie intake was reduced to around 500 calories each. Dr Mosley has since revised the plan into the 5:2 Blood Sugar Diet, which is based on the principles of the Mediterranean diet . You can stick to the same 5:2 regime, but allow for 800 calories on fast days rather than the former 500 suggested for women and 600 for men to make it easier to do on busy days.
If the original 5:2 split works for you though (i.e. sticking to 500 calories), by all means follow Vicki’s 500 calorie fast day meal ideas as outlined below. It may allow you to reach your weight loss goals a little quicker. However, if you need a little more sustenance, raising it to 800 can help. Here are some of the calorie counts of some healthy meal additions (including the foods that Vicki has recommended to increase in week 4 above) to take you up to the 800 mark.
1 tablespoon of mung beans: 6 calories
1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds: 84 calories
50g of buckwheat: 182 calories
A 30g carrot: 10 calories
100g of turnips: 23 calories
100g of parsnips: 64 calories
100g serving of puy lentils: roughly 141 calories
50g serving of chickpeas: 160 calories
50g serving of butter beans: 145 calories
A banana: 52 calories
Poached egg: 53 calories
20 almonds: 140 calories (one almond is 7 calories)
Skinless chicken breast: 148 calories
100g serving of tofu: roughly 68 calories
Medium avocado: 143 kcal
One tablespoon full fat Greek yogurt: 59 calories
One small bar of dark chocolate (32g): roughly 180 calories
50g serving of houmous: roughly 160 calories
10 strawberries: 30 calories (one strawberry is 1 calorie)
30g serving of porridge oats: 114 calories
50g portion of brown rice: 166 calories
Additions aren't restricted to the above (just ideas!). For other foods, meals and snacks, use the NHS Calorie Checker to determine whether you're hitting your 800 calorie fast day limit.
Choose one option from each meal, for each of the five full eating days
1. Two poached eggs on rye or pumpernickel toast, small tin of baked beans, mug of green tea.
2. Porridge with fresh chopped apricots and 5-6 brazil nuts, 1 banana, mug of lemon and ginger tea.
3. 2 large Buckwheat pancakes (you might have some in the freezer from last week) with roasted salmon, crème fraiche and chopped chives, mug of green tea.
4. Scrambled eggs with finely chopped Parma ham, chopped tomatoes, fresh spring onions, and a slice of rye toast. Mug of chai tea.
5. Baked apples and plums with star anise, full fat Greek yoghurt (1 apple, 1 pear, and 2 tablespoons of yoghurt), sprinkled with toasted almonds.