5-2 Diet Witches Soup

5-2 Diet Meal Planning  and Red Cabbage Soup:

My name is Fiona and I am a foodaholic.  Seriously, one thing the 5-2 diet has made me very aware of is how much my life revolves around food.  I’ve developed a snobbery about ready meals and I really miss not cooking.  So for me, the only way to make the 5-2 diet fast day works is to cook.  Quite often lunch as well as supper, although I do sometimes manage to eat something simple for lunch.  It’s not that I dislike ready meals or pre-prepared soups but, I think there’s a therapy for me in counting the calories of the food I am making and then actually spending time ensuring that my 5-2 fast day food is tasty and filling.

5-2 diet red cabbage soup

Anyway, I also hate food waste – and I had a head of red cabbage lurking in the depths of my fridge left over from Christmas.  So rather than buy more vegetables for soup making, I decided to make a red cabbage soup.   Cabbage is very low in calories (a small whole head of cabbage should be around 150 calories depending on weight) so even with the addition of a little potato, onion and some vinegar and spiced quince confit (another Christmas leftover), a bowl of this stuff should be around 70 calories.  I loved the smell of the caraway seed when I was cooking this soup and the slight sweet-sour of the vinegar and quince really worked well.

What I wasn’t (quite) prepared for though was the witches brew that would result.  It tastes wonderful, but I’m not sure I’d serve it at a dinner party, except perhaps at Halloween.

Just in case you DO want to try for yourself, here’s the recipe:-

Red Cabbage and Caraway Soup

Serves 4
Prep time 35 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Soup
Misc Serve Hot


  • 3 Sprays 1cal Oil
  • 1 head Red Cabbage
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 1 teaspoon Caraway Seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Quince Confit (or honey)
  • Creme Fraiche (to serve)
  • 1 Medium Potato


Step 1 Chop the onion finely
Step 2 Spray a heavy bottomed pan with one cal and gently sweat the onion for 2-3 minutes
Step 3 Add the caraway seed and continue to cook for a minute or two
Step 4 Shred the cabbage and cut the potato into quarters.
Step 5 Put the cabbage and potato in with the onion mixture and top up with water
Step 6 Bring to the boil and cook for 30 minutes till the cabbage and potato are soft
Step 7 Blitz with a wand mixer and add the wine vinegar and quince or honey
Step 8 Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste
Step 9 Serve with a teaspoon of low fat creme fraiche or greek yoghurt in each bowl.

Meanwhile, what about the rest of the day?  For this 5-2 fast day I skipped breakfast and my first food of the day was the soup.  I had a healthy portion with a teaspoon of creme fraiche and probably used up 100 calories at lunchtime.

mexican bean chilli

I’ve been sent some ‘Easy Beans’ to review and my original plan was to eat a pot of beans for supper.  But, I was rather hungry and at 214 calories for the Mexican Chilli Bean pot, I thought it might not be substantial enough.  So, I made up a Mexican feast for myself.  Salad, half a breast of chicken, a teaspoon of Luchito mexican chilli paste, the remains of my Konjac rice and half a pot of Easy Beans.  I have no idea what the calorie count of  Luchito chilli paste is, but just a teaspoonful is unlikely to be more than pure oil (40 calories).  I estimate this meal at around 325 calories.  Which ensures I’ve stayed well under the 500 calorie count for my 5:2 diet fast day and gives me enough space for milk in my coffee all day and perhaps a bed time snack if I am hungry again.

a mexican feast


Filling yes – the Easy Beans would make a great lunch on a 5-2 diet fast day and they are very tasty – the next best thing to home made if you don’t want to cook.  Would I make it again?  Yes, but not with the Konjac rice because it has no flavour of its own and a rather rubbery texture.  So, while it might work if you stirred it through something like a curry, on the side it added very little.  The noodles work a lot better, I suspect because you stir them into a stirfry or soup so that they absorb the flavour of the other ingredients.

I’m going to try a few more ready meals.  And I do understand that for some people it is easier not to cook and not to think about food at all on a 5-2 diet fast day.  But, my feeling is that the opposite is true for me.  Even if I do end up making purple soup.





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  1. says

    Fabulous colour!!

    Jacqueline, it is the vinegar that keeps it that colour, if you don’t put anything acid in, you will get an amazing BLUE soup! Try it by boiling a little piece of red cabbage, it will be really blue, then you add a splash of vinegar and it turns purple again. Brilliant science for kids to see too :)

  2. says

    I’m not on the 5:2 diet but on the subject of weight loss in general skipping breakfast isn’t a good idea because breakfast assures our digestive system that we will be eating today and so the body isn’t so inclined to ‘hold on’ to any calories we consume. At least, that’s what I was taught when I did my nutrition course at college.

    • says

      I think that learning has been discarded, along with the idea that you shouldn’t restrict your calories to under the BMR. The concept of the fasting diet is to do just that, e.g. restrict your calories to under 1/4 of your daily need and if possible have as long a period without eating at all as you can within the 36 hour time slot. It’s intermittent because on the days you are not fasting, you need to eat reasonably to avoid the effect you are talking about.

      If you want to know more, you could look at the original horizon programme or at this article, where they explain the original research into the effect of breakfast http://timesenterprise.com/news/x2056572230/Hunger-games-The-new-science-of-fasting

  3. Sam Cornwell says

    Hi, I just made this for my tea. My wife and I thought it was delicious! I actually forgot to add the honey and it still tasted great. There is enough left over for tomorrow and as that’s one of my ‘5’ days I’ll add the honey to that.

    Delicious, thanks!

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