5:2 diet – what I’ve been eating

I started the 5:2 diet on 24 Oct 2012. Since then I’ve fasted two days each week, and have kept pretty much to the meals I devised at the start. On fast days I eat three 200-calorie meals.


I hit on a winning formula straight away, and there has been no need to change anything.

I have a (soft) boiled egg, some plain yoghurt, a small apple, and a small glass of V8 (vegetable) juice.

This is tasty, genuinely filling, and keeps me going. (Admittedly it’s not quite as good as the bread, butter, and marmalade/honey/jam I have on non-fast days).


I have chicken and salad.

I weigh out quantities of raw chicken breast, freeze the portions, thaw when required, then cook by simmering in water. I started with 100g portions, found this was too much, so reduced to 80g. I think it’s important to cook chicken gently – hence I ‘simmer’ rather than ‘boil’. Initially I simmered for 10 minutes, but found I could reduce cooking time to 6½ minutes – making it less tough.

I’ve tweaked the salad over time. I started out with vegetable sticks: celery, carrots, and the like. This was a bit plain, a bit dry, so I added moisture by means of capers and pickled cucumbers/gherkins. I tired of this combination and migrated to: cos-type lettuce, cherry-type tomatoes, and cucumber.


Very early on I hit on the idea of commercial up-market soups: those that come in 600 ml containers. These are nominally two portions, but if you pick the right varieties it’s possible to scoff the lot, and still come in at only 200 calories, or just over. These soups really are very good, if a little pricey. Sainsbury’s sell their own brand, plus two others, and so far it has always been the case that there is a form of multi-buy offer running on one of the three brands – and I alternate on that basis. These are tasty, satisfying, and of course fill you up – although the sense of fullness does not last all that long.

Herbal tea

On fast days I switch from my usual milky tea and coffee, to herbal-type teas. I never used to be a fan, but have found several to like in the Twinings range: in particular peppermint, and fennel. More recently Twinings have introduced a slightly more up-market ‘sensations’ range, and I have to say that the two I’ve tried are excellent: butter & mint, camomile & maple.


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