5:2 Diet Recipes


Starving yourself was never going to be fun ... here are some recipe ideas to make it a bit more bearable.  


Under 200 cals per serving

Skinny Swedish


Not everyone's a fan of pickled herring but if you are, get yourself some jarred sweet herrings in a dill marinade.  Chop a few up in a bowl with some gherkins, cherry tomatoes, a softly boiled egg with some lettuce.  Sprinkle some pine nuts, dill, parsley, a squeeze of lemon and few squirts of low cal olive oil spray.  Picture yourself at your summer cabin on your Swedish archipelago and … Bjorn's your uncle, Frida's your aunt, you're a Skinny Swede!




150 cals per serving (not including garnish)



This is a good one if there’s nothing much in your fridge and you need a quick fix.

Serves 2

1 red pepper

1 tomato

1 clove garlic

1 tbsp sherry vinegar

½ cucumber

1 cup of passata

Handful of coriander or parsley


Whack of all of the above in a blender and add salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with finely diced cucumber, green pepper, olives, melon, croutons, quails eggs, crème fraiche, pumpkin seeds, spring onion, chopped ham, diced chorizo … whatever goes.  So good and so filling!  (You're really meant to peel the tomatoes but when you're this hungry, I don't think it matters!)




 196 calories per serving



Serves 2

The Salad:

1 tin of tuna

½ a grapefruit – remove pith and chop into small chunks (52 cals)

2 spring onions – sliced (10 cals)

1 handful or sugarsnap peas or mange tout – chop them diagonally with scissors (25 cals)

1 handful of grated carrot (25 cals)

1 handful of radishes finely sliced (10 cals)

1 tsp of finely chopped chilli

1 handful of chopped coriander

The Dressing:

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tbsp white miso paste (find in Oriental supermarkets or Waitrose) (30 cals)

1 tsp sesame/rapeseed oil (40 cals)

1 tsp palm sugar (15 cals)

1 tsp crushed ginger

¼ clove crushed garlic

Salt and Pepper

406 total

203 calories per serving

Whizz together the dressing ingredients in a food processor.  Mix together all the salad ingredients.  If you are bringing it into the office, try and mix in the herbs and peas at the last minute for maximum freshness.




 210 cals per serving

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Serves 1

1 chicken drumstick or thigh - 70 cals

½ a carrot, peeled and cut in half – 15 cals

½ a stick of celery, peeled and cut in half

½ an onion – 5 cals

¼ of a stick of lemongrass

1 bay leaves

A few peppercorns and salt

0.25 litre water

Handful of parsley

½ a leek, sliced – 10 cals

¼ of cup of petits pois – 30 cals

½ a cup of shredded spring greens or any other green veg you have knocking around – 10 cals

110g Shirataki Noodles (20 cals) – these are the lowest calorie noodles out there.  They are carb free and practically calorieless.  Made from Konjac yams, ‘shirataki’ means white waterfall in Japanese, describing their appearance.  Drain and rinse before you use, they taste as good as any other noodle.  Buy from a Japanese supermarket.  Use other low cal noodles if you can’t find them but allow for 40 more cals or so.

1 tbsp parmesan per serving (40 cals)

1 lemon, juiced

Salt and Pepper

Bring the chicken to the boil in the water with the carrots, celery, onion, lemongrass, bay leaves.  Simmer for 45 mins and then remove the drumsticks and strain off the stock.  Remove the skin from the drumsticks and pull the chicken from the bones.

Bring the stock back to the boil and chuck the leeks in.  After 5 minutes add the rice noodles, spring greens and peas and cook for another few minutes.  Then add the chicken.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon to taste.  Garnish with the parmesan and parsley.   Great to take into work, again garnish and add greens as late as possible.




153 calories per serving

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Serves 2

2 aubergines, halved lengthways

2  dessert spoons white miso paste

2 tbsp mirin (rice wine, again get it in a oriental supermarket or Waitrose)

2 tsp palm sugar (or agave nectar, honey, caster sugar will work just as well)

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp white or black sesame seeds

4 spring onions, sliced


Heat your oven 180c.  Score a criss-cross pattern into the aubergine, spray with olive oil and roast for 20 minutes.  Mix the miso, mirin, sugar and lemon in a small bowl and spread over the roasted aubergines.  Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and grill for 2-3 minutes until golden.  Scatter the spring onions and serve with rocket.



160 calories per tomato

  Surprise Tomato


Serves 1

1 beefsteak tomato – large as you can (30 cals)

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 medium egg (60 cals)

1 small dessert spoon of crème fraiche (you can use ricotta or cottage cheese, which has the least calories)

1 tsp tomato puree (10 cals)

salt and pepper, some herbs

1 tsp grated parmesan (20 cals)

160 calories per tomato

250 calories served with 2 slices of ham + rocket

Heat your oven to 200c fan and 180c gas.  Slice the lid of the tomato and scoop out the insides (save the insides for a tomato sauce if you’re making a few); easiest to do with your hands.  Turn the tomatoes upside down for 20 mins to drain.  Then rub the insides with the crushed garlic.  Crack the egg inside, leaving out some of the white if it doesn’t all fit, followed by a mixture of the cottage cheese, tomato puree and basil (and salt and pepper).  Top with the parmesan and bake for 10 minutes, then brown under the grill for a few more minutes.

Yum!  This really doesn’t taste like diet food!  Serve with ham, rocket and balsamic vinegar… and if you’re with a non faster, whack theirs on a slice of thick toast to mop up the juicy bits.




196 cals per serving

egg white omelette


Serves 1

3 egg whites (save the yolks for some spaghetti carbonara the next day) (48 cals)

1 cup or big handful of spinach (40 cals)

1 small handful of sundried tomatoes (50 cals)

1 tbsp cottage cheese (but any cheese is good - depending on how many calories you have to spare) (40 cals)

A sprinkling of toasted pine nuts (15 nuts = 18 cals)

salt and pepper

Whisk the egg whites, salt and pepper until slightly frothy.  Coat a frying pan with a cooking spray (if you have one), if not a tiny bit of veg or olive oil and warm on a medium heat.  Swirl the egg whites around the pan until it’s coated and cook on a gentle heat until it’s set.

Meanwhile wilt the spinach slightly in the microwave and lay it in the middle of your omelette.  Top with cottage cheese, chopped sundried tomatoes and the pine nuts.  Slide onto a plate and fold into the middle.




226 calories per serving

Recipe from The Fast Diet Recipe Book by Mimi Spencer and Dr Sarah Schenker

by romas Foord


Serves 1

150g monkfish tail, cut into thick chunks

1 tbsp lime juice

Salt and pepper

1 garlic clove, crushed

lime wedges

kaffir lime leaves

groundnut oil

1-2 skewers

For the coleslaw:

50g each of mangetout and sugarsnap peas, blanched in boiling water, drained and refreshed in cold water, sliced

50g chinese cabbage, sliced

1 spring onion, finely sliced lengthways

For the dressing:

1 tbsp soy sauce

1.5 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp lime juice

1.5 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds


Marinate the fish in the lime juice, salt, pepper and garlic and allow to rest while you prepare the coleslaw and dressing.

Combine the mangetout and sugar snap peas with the sliced cabbage and spring onion.  For the dressing, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice, sesame oil and chilli flakes in a small bowl.

Thread the monkfish pieces onto skewers, alternating chunks of fish with lime wedges and lime leaves.  Heat a frying pan until hot, spray with groundnut oil and fry the skewered fish for 2 minutes on each of the 4 sides.

Dress the coleslaw, top with the fish skewers and garnish with sesame seeds.



Shopping List


SHIRATAKI NOODLES  (see above, get them in any Japanese shop or online.  These guys are basically FAT FREE)




And in the words of Gok Wan ...




A drizzle of white balsamic or raspberry vinegar, a dressing of lime juice, fish sauce and soy or a sprinkle of sumac or smoked paprika on a piece of white fish can make all the difference between dull and delicious.


When you’re this hungry, raw veg has never tasted so good.  Dip them in flavoured salts – it’ll brighten up any carrot.

HOMEMADE CELERY SALT: pick the leaves from a bunch of celery, wash and dry well.  Arrange on a baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes at 180c, until crispy but not brown.  Shake in a jar with an equal amount of Maldon Sea Salt.


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There are infinite salty possibilities.  Try these …

Lime zest, chilli flakes, finely chopped coriander and sea salt

Toasted fennel seed, lemon zest, thyme and sea salt

Lemon zest, finely chopped mint, cumin, cayenne pepper and sea salt

Smoked paprika, finely chopped rosemary and sea salt


And to dip in:


6 carrot sticks – 35 cals

1 cup of cucumber – 14 cals

1 stalk celery – 6 cals

1 radish – 1 cal

4 spears asparagus – 12 cals (boil for 2 mins, then blanch in cold water to retain crunch)

1 tomato – 22 cals

1 quails egg – 14 calories

10 green olives – 42 calories

2 tsbp hummus and 2 slices of red pepper – 50 cals