Adapting a Kit Meal for a 5:2 Diet Fast Day
For the most part I cook from scratch. But, there are days when I want something different and don’t have time to shop and cook for the spices and seasoning I might need. I was fortunate to be sent a whole set of samples from Old El Paso. Wonderful! I really do like Mexican food but very rarely cook it. So, being sent a few crafty cheats was really great.
Then I realised that the only time I would be cooking at home was on days when I should be following the 5:2 diet and keeping my calorie count really low.
The solution for me was also something that I believe will be of value to anyone with a family or partner to cater for. One of the things I like best about the 5:2 diet is that the changes you HAVE to make to your lifestyle are minimal. So what I wanted to do with the One Pan Rice Meal was to adapt it just a little to keep the calories down. A quarter of the kit (one portion) has 184 calories. By the time you add in the recommended half a tablespoon of oil, chicken, pepper and onion you’ll need to add 235 calories (419 in total). That’s not terrible, but, I’d like to get a meal that is around 350 calories maximum, without losing the flavour.
Since I’ve been adapting my own recipes for the last year or so, I thought it would be interesting to see what I could do with the Chilli and Garlic Chicken One Pan Rice Meal.
I was only cooking for myself, so I weighed out just under a quarter of the rice (40g) and a quarter of sauce. I cut the recommended amount of chicken down from 125g per person to 90g. And, I cut the oil out almost completely, just wiping a non-stick pan with a few drops of oil on piece of kitchen towel. I added more vegetables too – for my single portion, half a red pepper, half a green pepper, a whole small onion and 50g of mushrooms. It looked like a lot of vegetables initially, but they cooked down quite a lot and for me, the proportions were perfect.
The result – the kit component adds up to 147 calories, the fresh ingredients to 158 calories. Total for the meal = 305 calories.
The dish was VERY easy to make and took about 20 minutes from start to finish. When I tasted I thought it would have benefited from some extra spice, but then I do enjoy spicy dishes.
I had enough spare calories left over to add a teaspoon of low fat creme fraiche as a garnish.
So, yes you CAN use kit meals on a 5:2 fast day. And, I don’t believe anyone would complain about this particular dish. When I use up the rest of the pack I will probably add a little extra chilli. But, it was a nice, simple way to enjoy a supper with plenty of fresh ingredients and minimal hassle.
Disclaimer: I was provided with samples of Old El Paso free of charge but all opinions are my own.