Sweet and Sour Chicken the Low Calorie 5-2 Diet Way:
A little while ago I was sent a sample of Truvia, a natural sweetener that is almost zero calorie. The idea was supposed to be that I could cook with it, but when I checked, I found I’d been sent small sachets, the sort you might add to tea or coffee. Since I don’t have either, the Truvia has been sitting in the cupboard for a while, but, on my last 5-2 diet fast day I had a craving for sweet and sour chicken. A perfect opportunity to experiment with a low calorie sweetener, because all 5:2 diet recipes need to be very low in calories and just the addition of a teaspoon of sugar can push you over the 500 calorie allowance that a woman has following the 5:2 diet.
My mother’s old recipe, probably the one you use yourself if you make this at home, involved tomato ketchup, sugar and a tin of pineapple, none of which would have worked particularly well at keeping the calories low so that the dish was suitable for the 5-2 diet or for that matter any other low calorie diet. So, my adapted version uses fresh tomato, Truvia and no pineapple though if I’d had some around I might have added a little fresh pineapple.
The result is a dish that is considerably lighter than a conventional sweet and sour, but still with that sweet and sour tang. I really couldn’t tell that I’d used sweetener instead of sugar – I’ve cooked with sweeteners before when I was looking after my mother who was diabetic and while I am still in two minds about the potential pitfalls, I don’t think it hurts to do so occassionally. I made a noodle and vegetable stirfry to go with the chicken – if I’d had the spare calories, I might have cooked some rice and the vegetables would have been added into the sweet and sour mix instead, but shirataki noodles, while filling, really do need to be cooked with something. This makes a substantial plate of food which should feed even the hungriest person on a 5-2 diet fast day and is under 300 calories for a portion. It is also a low fat recipe.
I particularly enjoy the asian flavouring and ginger is a great appetite suppressant while both chili and ginger are supposed to be thermogenic and will help increase your metabolism. You can adjust the amount of chili to taste. If you don’t particularly enjoy spicy foods, then by all means leave it out completely or add chili sauce to taste at the end. You can also use different vegetables. Green peppers, celery, mushroom and bamboo shoots would all be good in here.
I hope the 5-2 diet is working well for you. I’m persevering, although some weeks I think I simply eat too much food on feast days (three meals out in a row doesn’t really help if you are trying to lose weight. But I do always feel better the day after a 5-2 diet fast day and even if I don’t lose weight every week I suspect it is stopping me from becoming a balloon!