It’s week two of our six week 5:2 diet plan (missed week one? See the meal plan for the first week of 5:2 here ) and our nutrition expert Vicki Edgson is keeping us on track with a brand new menu that’s guaranteed to tickle your tastebuds. Simply split your week into five 'normal' days and two 'fasting' days where you stick to two meals and fewer calories.
Foods to increase and avoid
Increase: Pulses, including puy lentils, chickpeas and butter beans, which provide long-lasting energy resources, and keep you fuller for longer. Add these to your vegetable soups, fresh food salads and fish/poultry.
Avoid: Any biscuits, commercial breads or cakes - you may have felt you needed them last week, but you’ve shown yourself that you CAN do without them, so do just that. Do without them!
Updated 5:2 guidelines
When the 5:2 diet originally rose to prominence when it hit our screens five years ago on BBC’s Horizon programme, Eat, Fast, Live Longer, the plan consisted of five days of eating normally (although healthily) and two ‘fasting’ days where calorie intake was cut to around 500 calories each. Science journalist and host of the show Dr Michael Mosley lost a stone in five weeks on the plan.
However since then, Dr Mosley has slightly tweaked the guidelines. It’s now been revised into the 5:2 Blood Sugar Diet. 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. The amendments were made to make it easier for ‘fast’ days to fit into a busy lifestyle.
If the original 5:2 concept works for you though, by all means stick to Vicki’s 500 calories fast day meal ideas as outlined below. It may also allow you to reach your weight loss goals slightly quicker. Raising it to 800 may provide a little more sustenance though. 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 2 above) to take you up to the 800 mark.
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. Poached apples and pears, with a tablespoon of blanched almonds or pecans. 2 tablespoons Greek-style yoghurt. Mug of green tea.
2. 2 egg omelette with 3oz feta cheese, and parsley on top. Fresh or grilled tomato halves. Mug of Rooibosch tea.
3. 2 small or 1 large Buckwheat pancake(s) with smoked salmon and lemon juice. Mug of hot water and lemon.
4. 2 slices of gluten-free toast (try Genius or Paul's bakery) with grilled tomatoes and mushrooms plus chopped parsley (may have made tomato and mushrooms the night before - re-heat for 1-2 mins whilst toasting the bread). Cup of Rooibosch tea.
5. 1 14oz-16oz smoothie with coconut water, banana, 1 tablespoon raw jumbo oats, 3 drops vanilla essence, 1tsp tahini. This is a high protein smoothie and is great to take training with you to have immediately after your workout.