In our six week series on how to do the 5:2 or 'intermittent fasting' diet, Vicki Edgson puts a new meal plan on the table

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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.

Normal days

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.


1. Roasted butternut squash, courgette and parsnips with feta cheese and pine nuts, plus mug of green pea and bean soup (supermarket or home-made).

2. Chicken tikka slices with Mediterranean vegetables, large green salad, vinaigrette dressing.   Apple or banana.

3. Smoked mackerel fillet with new potatoes (of half baked potato). Chickpea and spring onion salad.

4. Miso soup with edamame beans, grilled beef teriyaki and mixed greens.

5. Grilled prawn with spinach leaf and rocket salad, added butter beans, and olive oil and orange juice dressing (or crayfish super-salad box).


1. Shepherd’s pie with stir-fried mixed carrots, courgettes, French beans and yellow peppers.

2. Baked cod fillet with capers and lemon wedges, mashed sweet potatoes and garlic-fried kale.

3. Casserole of pheasant or duck with apricots and red camargue rice.

4. Chickpea and chilli casserole with finely chopped red and orange bell peppers, leeks, onion and garlic, and optional chunk spelt bread.

5. Brown rice and seafood risotto, with large green salad (lamb’s lettuce, rocket and grated parmesan).

Low calorie days

Choose from one of the options for either breakfast and lunch, or breakfast and dinner


1. Green smoothie with half avocado, half cucumber, 1tsp flaxseed, 1 tablespoon oats, 6oz plain coconut water; blend together until smooth.

2. Two egg omelette; add one tablespoon of toasted oats (dry fry in non-stick frying pan) to two whisked eggs, and lightly fry until bubbling as a pancake – flip and cook on other side.  Serve with a handful of fresh green leaves of choice.  Mug of green or white tea.

Lunch or dinner options:

1. Small tin of sardines with juice of one lemon and fresh parsley. with lightly steamed pak choi (1 large or 2 small).

2. Poached salmon fillet with 6 asparagus spears, 12 french beans, drizzle of olive oil over vegetables.

3. 1 small chicken breast, poached with lemongrass and bouillon stock powder, and coriander (make two – have one for dinner, and the other for lunch the following fasting day) with mixed bean salad pot (small) and 4 chopped cherry tomatoes.

4. Mixed quinoa and lentil salad to fill one small ramekin (approx 4 oz), with chargrilled peppers (red, yellow or orange).

5. Pumpkin, ginger and chickpea soup (no more than 300g), 1 tsp crème fraiche or goats’ yoghurt

6. Tomato and red pepper soup with large tablespoon fresh sprouts (mung beans, or alfalfa sprouts).


Homemade ginger ale: add 2” peeled and grated root ginger to one bottle of sparkling water – leave overnight to flavour (a stimulating and cleansing drink).

Hot water with 1-2 star anise (very potent anti-bacterial to ward off colds and flu).

Hot water with pinch of cayenne pepper (to rev up the metabolism).

Plenty of bottled or filtered water (particularly if you are working in an overheated office with no windows!).

Click here to read week five of the 5:2 diet plan

Find more  5:2 diet recipes here