5:2 Diet Frugal Fasting – Turkey Leftovers

5:2 Diet Frugal Fast Days – Using up that Turkey:

One of the biggest challenges of the 5:2 diet for me has been how to cope with family Christmas.  To some extent I haven’t tried too hard.  One advantage of the 5-2 diet, so far as I can tell so far, is that it DOES reduce your overall appetite and cravings for unhealthy foods.  And, a second bonus is that it seems to be possible to ‘tread water’ – either fasting on just one day of the week or not at all, for a short period of time.  When you start back on the 5:2 diet plan, it is a lot easier than it was the first time round.

But, I hate food waste and although I only bought a crown of turkey this year, I’ve still had a lot of left overs.  Apart from the Tom Yum soup I wrote about yesterday, I’ve made and frozen quite a lot of it in the form of potted turkey and potted turkey and bacon (recipe to follow).  And, I’ve now cooked ALL the remains by making a couple of turkey meatball variations that I can freeze for 5-2 fast days when I don’t fancy cooking.  It has to be said, today wasn’t a fast day and I cooked a pan of pasta to go with the meatballs.  And, then couldn’t  eat more than a mouthful of the pasta.  So much for no waste!

5-2 diet turkey meat balls

Turkey IS a lean healthy meat, one of the reasons some people complain that it is dry is because it’s low fat – and has just over 100 calories in 100g.  So, if you can find an appetising way to use it, then it makes a good substitute for other meats like lamb or beef.  Meatballs are a useful way to use up leftover cooked turkey, you just need to be a little careful in how you cook them and what sauce you use to serve with them. In my recipe I’ve kept the bread to a minimum, used egg whites (which I happened to have anyway) instead of whole eggs and seasoned both versions to avoid needing a rich sauce.

Option one is designed to use up more leftovers.  I had some lemon and sage stuffing left over.  It is simply  breadcrumbs, minced onion, lemon juice and rind and minced sage and parsley cooked in the carcass of the bird.  So, I don’t  think it  increases the calorie count unduly as there is no added fat.

Option two is a purer version.  Instead of the lemon and sage I’ve used a mix of spices.  Cumin, sweet smoked paprika and coriander.  That, and some salt and pepper.

5-2 diet turkey meatballs with simple spicy tomato sauce

Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Allergy Egg
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot


  • 1 handful Parsley (Chopped)


  • 350g Cooked Turkey Meat (Finely chopped or processed through a food processor)
  • 50g Breadcrumbs (or 25g left over bread based lemon and sage stuffing and 25g of breadcrumbs)
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1 pinch Smoked Paprika (more if you are only making spiced meatballs)
  • 1 pinch Ground Coriander (more if you are only making spiced meatballs)
  • 1 pinch Ground Cumin Seeds (more if you are only making spiced meatballs)
  • 1 Medium Onion (Very finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Sunflower oil (or 1cal spray)


  • 1 can Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 dash Chilli Sauce (I used Luchito)
  • 1 Medium Onion (Chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon Olive oil


Step 1 If you are using left over stuffing as I did, divide the turkey meat in half.
Step 2 To make the lemon and sage meatballs, mix half the meat with the stuffing and half the onion and egg whites. Blend together with your hands
Step 3 Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
Step 4 To make the spicy meatballs, add the breadcrumbs remaining onion, eggwhite and the spices to the remainder of the meat. Mix well together with your hands.
Step 5 Shape into small balls about the size of a quail egg.
Step 6 Either heat the oil in a large frying pan, or spray with lo-cal spray.
Step 7 Gently fry the meatballs turning regularly, till golden brown on all sides. You may want to drain on kitchen paper if you've used oil to fry rather than lo-cal
Step 8 Put to one side while you make the sauce
Step 9 Fry the onion in oil till translucent and soft
Step 10 Add the tomato and chilli sauce and cook to reduce down by about a third.
Step 11 Season with salt and pepper
Step 12 To serve, heat the meatballs in the oven at 160c for about 10 minutes and warm the sauce through. If you are doing this on a 5-2 diet fast day, then serve with green salad. On other days you may chose to serve with pasta or rice. Serve the meatballs with a little sauce and with chopped parsley to garnish


This is a good way to use left over turkey meat.  You can freeze these meatballs and re-heat in the oven for about 20 minutes from frozen.

I’ve frozen three portions of meatballs and kept one portion for supper tonight, even though it isn’t a 5-2 fast day.  Using the basic quantities I’ve described in the recipes, a portion of 3 meat balls will be around 180 calories.  That leaves some space for vegetables or green salad and a low calorie sauce of some kind.  Or if you are fasting all day and just using your 500/600 calories on a meal at the end of the day, then you could have a portion of pasta too.  I made a simple spicy tomato sauce to go with the meatballs – the quantity in the recipe is enough for four portions, but it also freezes well and keeps in the fridge for a week.  Once again it’s a low calorie option suitable for the 5-2 diet,  with no flour or cream.  So, around 30 calories per serving.  If you don’t like tomato or don’t want to bother making the sauce, try a little 0% fat greek yoghurt with some ground cumin and fresh mint or parsley as a dipping sauce.

5-2 diet lemon and sage turkey meatballs

All in, this wasn’t a 5-2 fast day but I found this meal with the pasta too filling for me.  So, I’ll try the meatballs with salad or perhaps with courgetti (ribbons of courgettes lightly sti rfried in a non-stick wok with lo-cal) on my next 5:2 fast day!


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