How do you do the 5:2 diet? In a six week series, nutritional therapist Vicki Edgson leads the way - here she is with week two of her diet plan

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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.

Normal days

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.


1. Seafood noodle soup with green salad. Apple.

2. Tagliatelle with tomato, olive and pine nut sauce, watercress and rocket salad.

3. Plain beef burger with grilled tomatoes and small fries.

4. Lentil and nut burger with mixed Greek salad.

5. Tuscan bean soup with wholegrain roll, with an apple or pear.

N.B. All these lunches may be accompanied by a fresh vegetable juice, but
no fruit juices.


1. Homemade chilli con carne with brown rice.

2. Blackened cod marinated in soya sauce and mirin, baked in the oven, with broccoli and snap peas.

3. Chickpea and black-eye bean casserole with leeks, kale, garlic and tomato, with chopped coriander to flavour. This is ideal cooked in a slow-cooker throughout the day so you come home to dinner ready to eat.

4. Fish pie with prawns and potato topping and large green salad.

5. Lentil dhal with chapati and cauliflower aloo gobi (supermarket bought rather than Indian takeaway).

Low calorie days

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


1. Baked apple with orange peel and cinnamon, with 1 tablespoon creme fraiche.

2. 2 egg white and 1 egg yolk scrambled eggs with chopped basil.


1. 4 slices Parma ham wrapped around asparagus tips with lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.

2. Large kale, chard and beet leaves salad with 1 medium beetroot and 2 carrots grated over. Walnut oil and lemon juice dressing. Add 4 walnuts if you wish.


1. 8oz roasted monkfish rubbed in garlic and olive oil with fresh or dried tarragon.

2. 6oz hummus with toasted pumpernickel bread topped with watercress.

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

Find more  5:2 diet recipes here