Friday, 14 December 2012

12 things you need to start your 5:2 diet

It’s pretty obvious that any diet is doomed to failure if you have the wrong things in your fridge but it’s slightly more tricky with the 5:2 diet where you eat ‘normally’ 5 days a week. The temptation to pitch in to that half open bottle of wine and leftover cheese can be overwhelming. To counter it you need to have some food - and drink - to hand that won’t cause you problems on fast days:

Assuming you have basics like eggs, spices and herbs anyway this is what I’d lay in:

Low fat yoghurt or fromage frais
Surprisingly low in calories so perfect for breakfast along with some fruit - though choose your fruit carefully (blueberries are a good choice). The yoghurt I’ve got (Waitrose organic low fat natural live bio yoghurt) is just 57 calories per 100g - which is a fair amount of yoghurt. Fat free fromage frais is even lower at 50 calories per 100g

Fizzy water
You need - or rather I need - something to drink at the time you might normally be having a pre-dinner glass of wine. Chilled sparkling mineral water on the rocks with a dash of angostura bitters and a slice of lemon does the job. Most of the time, though I found I was craving a sherry tonight.

In tea or water as above. Good for squeezing on stir-fries and salads too

You need something for the times when hunger pangs become intolerable (in my case about 4 in the afternoon). Low calorie crispbreads come to the rescue. I have two - Ryvita Multi-Seed Thins at 37 calories a slice and super-tasty Peter’s Yard crispbreads at 34 calories each which compensate for not having bread.

Some kind of low calorie dip or spread
Surprisingly there are more than you’d think - some not even labelled low fat like Waitrose’s oddly named ‘Distinctive crab paté’ which is only 78 cals for 42g. So about 28 calories for a tablespoonful. Sainsbury’s annoyingly twee but quite tasty Be Good to Yourself red pepper houmus is 65 calories per 50g and Garlic and Herb Philly Light, for which I must confess a guilty weakness, 46 calories per 30g. So a crispbread and a smear of one of these will get you through a wobbly moment.

Cucumber - good for dunking in the above - just 10 calories per 100g

Red and yellow peppers - ditto though slightly more calorific at about 32 calories per 100g. Good for stir-fries too

Instant miso soup
Comforting when you’re starving and when a coffee or tea just won’t do. The brand I’ve got (Clearspring) is only 17 calories per sachet

Fry Light or other low calorie olive oil spray
One of the hardest things I find is doing without olive oil and salad dressings. (Think about it: a tablespoon of oil is over a fifth your daily allowance on a fast day.) This will at least make sure whatever you’re cooking doesn’t stick and give it a bit of flavour. And only 1 calorie a puff

Balsamic vinegar
I was really surprised at this one. Balsamic vinegar is only about 5-7 calories a teaspoon. Which will basically dress a small watercress or watercress, rocket and spinach salad which are virtually no calories at all.

A pack of frozen prawns
Preferably the small North Atlantic ones which will give you the illusion you’re eating more than 2 or 3 king prawns will. 61-67 per 100g.

Some decent tea
So long as you have it without milk, tea - and infusions - are the friend of the 5:2 dieter. Maybe make this the time you get into leaf tea if you’re not already. The whole ritual of making yourself a pot feels like a treat.

What would you suggest for the 5:2 storecupboard - or fridge?


Reloved Remnants said...

You have mine, miso soup is a life saver. I can't count the times I have staved of a proper snack attack with it. redbush, or rooibus, tea is my other hot drink, comes in a few flavours, Earl Grey included, loose or bag. Apart from that I search out anything that is strongly flavoured and throw it in with veggies, green thai curry is a favourite. Any shop bought paste will flavour a HUGE amount of veggies, 350kcals for a big bowl is average.

Charlie said...

Nice to see you're back :-)

I don't really like miso soup but I can understand how a mug of something salty helps with the "must have food" feeling.

Fiona Beckett said...

Thanks, Charlie! You can use Marigold vegetable bouillon powder spiced up with a bit of ginger and garlic and coriander if you've got some.

I'm surprised you can get away with Thai Green curry, @reloved remnants. How much is a spoonful of paste? And the coconut milk?

Reloved Remnants said...

Paste can be quite low. A supermarket brand can have about 250kcals and low fat coconut milk is about 400kcals. Divided by 6 leaves you a lot of veggie room. I usually get 6 350kcal meals out of it. Other curry pastes are equally good and don't require the coconut milk, so you can use nicer veggies. Stef

lapiubelladitutte said...

This is a way to start a diet!

Fiona Beckett said...

Thanks Reloved Remnants - I'll look out for those. Could obviously mix them with low fat yoghurt which would be lower cal than coconut milk

Fiona Maclean said...

Shirataki noodles (you can buy them from the Japan centre or Holland and Barrett). They have just 5 cals per 100g...enough to fill up even the hungriest 5:2 dieter.

Fiona Beckett said...

Yes, have discovered those though didn't know you could buy them in H & B. Don't know why/how they're so low in calories but they're brilliant!

Karen S Booth said...

An excellent and very useful list, I am a HUGE lover of Marigold vegetable bouillon powder, the reduced salt version, and use it as a base for my 5:2 soups.
I also find that fish and chicken breast feed my "protein" cravings, and a lot goes a long way on the calories front.

Fiona Beckett said...

Agree, Karen. Marigold vegetable bouillon powder a staple, even on non-fast days!