Seared Scallops for 5:2 Diet

5:2 Diet Recipe Seared Scallops with Chilli Lime Butter

Along with a number of other food bloggers I was rather taken by the 5:2 diet as described on a recent Horizon programme where Michael Mosley highlighted some research that suggested that by having two days a week of ‘semi fasting’ you could not only lose weight but also improve your health overall. Hence the term 5:2 diet.  If you want to find out more, here’s the link to the BBC iPlayer clip for the Horizon Programme

Now, as someone who regularly eats out I’ve found most diets almost impossible to follow.  You can’t go to review a restaurant and order a green salad, no dressing and egg white omelette.  It just doesn’t work.  So, this particular diet seems like the perfect solution to me.  I don’t eat out EVERY day of the week, so hopefully I can find days when I can do the fasting part of the 5:2 diet.  I also like the idea of having something really special as part of my fasting day that I might not think is enough for a main meal on a normal day.  I’m thinking of exotic soups and salads and some special seafood like these seared scallops

seared scallops

Anyway, today was my first attempt at a fasting day – no more than 500 calories. I was lucky, I had some fabulous scallops from Delish Fish in the fridge, so I decided they would be the perfect solution for my main 5:2 diet meal.  I didn’t want to feel I was eating something very bland, so I made a lime and chilli butter to dress them.  That may sound bad, but I grilled the scallops on the George Foreman Grill (you could use a heavy frying pan or griddle if you don’t have one), so the small pat of butter I used to dress the scallops was the only fat in the entire meal.

I did split the calories into two meals.  My food diary with estimated calories for the day is as follows

Breakfast – 100g low fat greek yoghurt with 1 teaspoon honey (around 100 calories)

Early supper – seared scallops (129 calories) with chilli lime butter (30 calories), pea shoot salad (30 calories)

Throughout the day – 5 cups of coffee with 1% milk,  one coke zero. (65 calories)

Total = 354 calories

Scallops are a very low calorie seafood, so if you are trying to lose weight they are a good option to try, so long as you avoid adding a lot of cream or butter based sauce.  By searing them, you get a lovely flavour which blends perfectly with the chilli lime butter. Without more hesitation, here’s my first 5:2 diet recipe.

Seared Scallops with Chilli Lime Butter

Serves 1
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 5 minutes
Total time 10 minutes
Allergy Shellfish
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Starter
Misc Serve Hot
This is a low fat, low carb recipe for the 5:2 diet


  • 100-150g Scallops
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 Red Chilli
  • 20g Butter
  • 1 handful Pea shoots (or your favourite green salad leaves.)


Step 1 Dry the scallops carefully between kitchen paper. You need to do this if you want the searing to work if not, they will stew rather than sear on a medium-high grill
Step 2 Zest the lime and squeeze the juice from one half only
Step 3 Deseed the chilli
Step 4 Blitz the chilli and butter with a little salt, then add in the lime zest and juice. You will only need a tiny amount of this, but the remainder will keep well in the fridge for a week or so.
Step 5 Heat the grill or griddle to medium hot. You may want to wipe the surface with a little sunflower oil on some kitchen roll if you are not sure how non-stick the surface is.
Step 6 Put the scallops on the grill and gently put the lid down. You will need to cook them for approximately 3 minutes. If you are cooking them on a griddle or pan then flip them over after a minute.
Step 7 Put the peashoots onto a plate and lay the scallops on top. Dress them with just a tiny pat of the chilli butter on each one.

Now I just have to work out my next 5:2 Diet Day meal plan.  If this works as promised, it will enable me to lose weight, improve my overall health and carry on my hedonistic lifestyle on five days of the week for just two days of torture.  A small penalty to pay.  So keep your fingers crossed for me and the 5:2 Diet


seared scallops with lime and chilli butter

Update – I thought it might be useful to cross link the recipe ideas I have made so far for the 5:2 Diet
5:2 Diet Celery and Spinach soup

5:2 diet Livorno Fish Stew

Smoked Haddock Rarebit for the 5:2 Diet

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  1. says

    Great to have another faster on board Fiona – the more of us that do it, the more suport we will get and it might not be quite so hard – maybe!!!! I’m only doing one day a week, but am eating only fruit – which is what I used to do years ago and it worked very well. It was an interesting programme.

    CT would love these.

  2. Malcolm James Harnden says

    Hi, just started the diet, I actually thought you could only have one meal per day not split it, that’s good.

    Ive just had 1 scotch egg two banannas and two satsuma’s. I could eat again today espcially after the gym but I shall continue on one meal per day until further research is carried out.

      • Debbygolden@ btconnect .com says

        Hi Fiona, fab recipe thanks! Just on first fast day, surprisingly easy mostly fruit & salad. One thing tat wasn’t clear was if your 2 days need to be consecutive or can you choose 2 that fit in ?
        Thanks Debby

        • says


          I’m about to post another day’s recipes and a link to the BBC article. So far as I can see, the research in the states was based on consecutive days, but Michael Mosley didn’t do consecutive days so, I’m not either. If it worked for him, then I think it’s worth trying!

    • says

      funnily enough I was fine on the first of the fast days (this one). But, the second one (the smoked haddock rarebit) has been harder. I suspect it’s all down to what else is going on (I went to see the olympics on the first day!

  3. Lynda S says

    I’m thinking of trying the 5/2 diet but does anyone know if it has to be 5 consecutive days of normal eating followed by 2 consec days fasting, or can it be split, such as 3 normal, 1 fast then 2 normal, 1 fast which would still add up to 5/2. Thanks.

    • says

      The original research was consecutive days, but the BBC reporter who tried it DIDN’T do consecutive days, and nor am I…so I’d have a go if it works for you splitting them. I suspect it’s marginally easier if you can do consecutive days. I had a fast day yesterday, today I wasn’t really hungry when I woke up and I’ve just had a smallish lunch and feel REALLY full. But since I’m going to a baking class later there’s no point in pretending I can have a fast day today!!!

    • Jay says

      You can split them.. If i split them I would only have all meals before 12:00 noon to enable maximum fast time.. back to back i would allow myself a slight spread of intake :)

      • says

        see my reply to lynda…the BBC presenter DID split, into breakfast and supper (which is what I am doing). but still VERY low calorie intake in total. The original research didn’t split, although I believe you could drink miso soup/tea/coffee as you wanted….

  4. Jay says

    I have committed to doing this to. Is alternate day fasting different does anyone know? Obviously its every other day, but I mean in terms of calorie consumption.

    Also, a question, anyone seen any research which leads them to believe you can break the 600 threshold say my 200 calories if you are doing a hard exercise class?

    • says

      I think there is very little research at all on this right now. Personally I wouldn’t try exercising to up the calorie intake because I think part of the point is to allow your body’s organs to rest. If you exercise to burn more energy then eat more, that ‘resting’ isn’t happening. But, that’s my instinct not research or science!

  5. says

    These scallops sound delicious! I love scallops. I am also doing the 5-2 diet. I’m on my second fast today. I am not doing consecutive fast days, I don’t think Id be able to stick to that for long! I must admit to being very lazy about cooking, on my 1st fast I just made big bowls of lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes! Maybe another time I will add your scallops!

  6. Andy says

    Have recently started this too – have you noticed how much better food, any food, tastes on fast days? I normally dislike most veg but load up the plate with them on fast days, because I know I’ll appreciate them!

  7. Pabboo says

    On my third “fast” day (started on a friday, then did monday and now today). The second day was terrible! But today has been fine – just ate the hugest ever bowl of vegetables in a chicken stock and miso broth. I am stuffed and it was less than 200 calories! I am sticking to around 500 a day and am eating three meals a day as I have no gallblader and if I don’t eat regularily I get really ill.
    The doc from the show has a twitter feed and has been giving some really useful info on there if anyone is interested or wants to know more.

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