In our six week series on how to do the 5:2 diet, Vicki Edgson walks us through the third week's menu

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It's week three of our 5:2 diet plan with Vicki Edgson (check out week one  and week two  if you haven't already) and the great food choices just keep on coming. Read on for what you can add to your menu this week and tips on what to increase and cut back on for best results.

Foods to increase and avoid

Increase: Choice of vegetables. Choose at least two that you haven’t eaten before now. Root vegetables are allowed, and will provide you with energy to keep you warm.

Avoid: The temptation to have a carb-fest because it’s cold! Stocking up on pasta and bread will simply have you craving more of the same, as your blood sugar levels become interrupted. Eat plenty of soup, casseroles and hot dishes to keep your furnace stoked instead.

5:2 guidelines update

As previously flagged in weeks one and two of the 5:2 plan, the guidelines have slightly tweaked since the diet first rose to prominence on BBC’s Horizon programme, Eat, Fast, Live Longer with Dr Michael Mosley .

Originally, it consisted of two ‘fasting’ days where calorie intake was cut to around 500 calories each. However since then, Dr Mosley 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 routine, 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 stick to on busy days.

If the original 5:2 concept 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 faster. However, if you need a little more fuel, raising it to 800 can help. Here are some guidelines as to the calorie counts of some healthy meal additions (including the foods that Vicki has recommended to increase in week 3 above) to take you up to the 800 mark.

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. Porridge with cinnamon and nutmeg, and 3 drops of vanilla essence to sweeten naturally. Optional grated apple over the top. Large mug of green or white tea.

2. Two-egg omelette with crumbled feta, and a piece of toasted rye bread. Mug of green or white tea.

3. 2 large slices of smoked salmon chopped into scrambled eggs, with chopped chives, a slice of Spelt toast. Mug of chai tea.

4. Large bowl of warmed Bircher Muesli (make enough for two days as it gets better with soaking!). 1 cup of oats, with 2 teaspoons mixed nuts and seeds, soaked overnight in half apple juice (half water, half grated apple). Add fresh berries of your choice. Mug of green or white tea.

5. 2 buckwheat pancakes (or Dove’s Farm gluten-free flour mix) with organic plain bio yoghurt, mixed berries and toasted blanched almonds (You could make a dozen buckwheat pancakes and store in the freezer for other breakfasts, or savoury suppers). Mug of chai tea.


1. Large baked potato with beans or feta cheese, with large green salad. Optional piece of fruit.

2. Puy lentil and butternut squash salad with king prawns, mixed green leaves, and olive oil and orange juice dressing.

3. Tuscan bean soup with added watercress and rye soda bread roll. Optional apple or banana.

4. Salmon fish cakes with crème fraiche and green beans, asparagus, broad bean mix.

5. Sliced chicken breast with roasted Mediterranean vegetables (mixed peppers, courgettes, aubergine, onions and garlic cooked the night before).


1. Chicken and mixed vegetable stir-fry with udon noodles (buckwheat).

2. Poached salmon fillets with red pesto salsa and turnip puree.

3. Butter bean, black bean and tomato casserole with grilled haloumi.

4. Chicken and leek casserole, with sweet potato mash and wilted chard.

5. Pan fried squid, with red onion cherry tomatoes and red Camargue rice.


Teas: Lemon and ginger, fennel, yogi spiced tea, and green tea.

Coconut water, hot water and lemon.

Low calorie days

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


1. Baked apple with 1 tsp of chopped walnuts and 1 tbsp crème fraiche.

2. 2 poached eggs on wilted beet tops and parsley.


1. Small tuna steak simmered in green tea with battered lemon grass stick, two beef tomatoes chopped with chives.

2. Red pepper and coriander omelette (two eggs).


1. Cabbage and chard soup in vegetable broth (12oz / 350ml), with 1 tsp of toasted pumpkin seeds.

2. Grilled sole fillet with drizzle of olive oil and wilted winter greens.

Want to know more about the 5:2 diet? Check out why our editors think it's the best thing since sliced bread  and see our video with Vicki Edgson  on what it's all about.

Click here to see week four of the 5:2 diet plan

Find more  5:2 diet recipes here