What to eat on the fasting diet


The 5:2 fasting diet

Lose weight with minimal effort, live longer, look younger, feel better, boost your energy: the wonders of the fasting diet seem never ending.

The basic idea behind the fasting diet is to restrict your calorie intake to 500 calories for two days a week and eat normally for the remaining five days.

Does the fasting diet work - and is it safe?

The fasting diet seems to work well for many people, who find that by re-educating their eating habits they reap the benefits of long-term weight loss, appetite control and mindful eating. But if you're not sure exactly what constitutes a 500-calorie day's-worth of meals, you might be looking for some guidance.

Nutritionist Angela Dowden has put together a book of 100 recipe options, which allows you to combine breakfast, lunch and dinner to come in at the magic 500-calorie mark.

Click through the following pages for four fasting days of food ideas for each of your three meals a day to get you started.

The 5:2 cookbook, 100 recipes for fasting by Angela Dowden (published by Spruce, £7.99)


Fasting diet breakfasts:

Option 1: 163 calories

1 poached egg on half a slice of wholemeal toast spread with 1 teaspoon of low-fat spread and 1 medium (85g/3 oz) tomato, grilled why we should all be eating more eggs

Option 2: 270 calories

1/2 plain bagel topped with 30g (1 oz) light soft cheese and 50g (2 oz) smoked salmon

Option 3: 153 calories

1 boiled egg with half a slice of wholemeal toast spread with yeast extract

Option 4: 147 calories

1 slice of wholemeal toast spread with 1 teaspoon of low-fat spread and yeast extract, and a bowl of raspberries, (about 90g)

How to stick to your diet

carrot soup

Fasting diet lunches:

Option 1: 60 calories

1 rounded tablespoon (30g) of tzatziki with 100g of cucumber and red pepper sticks

Option 2: 45 calories

1 slice of cantaloupe melon and a clementine

Option 3: 150 calories

300g shop-bought fresh carrot and coriander soup and 1 smallish apple (about 100g/3 1/2 oz)

Day 4: 183 calories

95g can skinless, boneless sardines in tomato sauce on a bed of bagged green leaves and 100g cherry tomatoes

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Fasting diet dinners: option 1

Thai Noodles with Tofu: 276 calories

This recipe serves four. Eat one portion (obviously!)


250g tofu, diced

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 teaspoon grated lime rind

175g dried egg noodles

125g button mushrooms, sliced

2 large carrots, cut into matchsticks

125g sugar snap peas

125g Chinese cabbage, shredded

2 tablespoons chopped coriander

For the broth:

1.8 litres vegetable stock

2 slices of fresh root ginger

2 garlic cloves

2 corriander sprigs

2 lemon grass stalks, crushed

1 red chilli, bruised


1. Mix together the tofu, soy sauce and lime rind in a shallow non-metallic dish. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the broth. Put the vegetable stock in a large saucepan and add the ginger, garlic, corriander sprigs, lemon grass and chilli. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Strain the broth into another saucepan, return to the boil and plunge in the noodles. Add the mushrooms and tofu with any remaining marinade. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 4 minutes.

4. Stir in the carrots, sugar snap peas, cabbage and chopped coriander and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Beef Skewers

Fasting diet dinners: option 2

Beef Skewers with Dipping Sauce:  140 calories

Serves 4: eat a single portion, with a dessert bowl of undressed green leaf, pepper and tomato salad


350g lean rump steak, cut into strips

For the marinade:

1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds toasted

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon olive oil

For the dipping sauce:

1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce

1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

To garnish:

2 tablespoons chopped coriander

1 tablespoon unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped (optional)


1. Mix together the marinade ingredients in a non-metallic bowl. Add the steak and stir well to coat, then cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2. Thread the steak on to 4 bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water for at least 20 minutes. Cook on a hot griddle or under a preheated hot grill for 2-3 minutes until cooked through.

3. Meanwhile, mix together the sauce ingredients in a small serving bowl. Serve the skewers with the dipping sauce, scattered with the chopped coriander and peanuts, if liked.

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Fasting diet dinners: option 3

Moroccan Tomato & Chickpea Salad: 200 calories

Serves 4: eat a single portion


1 red onion, finely sliced

2 x 400g cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

4 tomatoes, chopped

4 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 handful of fresh mixed herbs, such as mint and parsley, chopped

Pinch of paprika

Pinch of ground cumin

Salt and pepper


1.  Mix together all the ingredients in a large non-metallic bowl and leave to stand for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse before serving.

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Sweet Potato

Fasting diet dinners: option 4

Sweet Potato & Cabbage Soup: 160 calories

Serves 4 : eat a single portion


2 onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, sliced

4 lean back bacon rashers, chopped

500g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon chopped thyme

900ml vegetable stock

1 baby Savoy cabbage, shredded


1. Put the onions, garlic and bacon in a large saucepan and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, parsnips, thyme and stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Transfer two-thirds of the soup to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return the blended soup to the pan, add the cabbage and simmer for a further 5-7 minutes until the cabbage is just cooked.

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