Healthy, Filling 5:2 Diet Recipe – Spinach and Lentil Soup:
Yes I know I keep making soup for the 5:2 diet. Particularly in winter I find that a generous bowl of home made low calorie soup is one of the best ways to manage a 5:2 diet fast day. And, I’ve learnt a new trick thanks to Diana, the nutritionist on the Revival Boot Camp. One of her recommendations to us was that we should try to include protein in every meal, as a way to stave off hunger pangs. So, even though I used to think ‘pulses’ were for a particular type of uber-healthy vegetarians, I’m now busy working on some of my favourite soups to see how well they work with the addition of lentils or chickpeas (both of which are relatively high in protein) rather than potato, rice or pearl barley.
While this may look very like ‘last year’s soup’, there are subtle differences. I was actually quite suprised that my soup didn’t turn out a murky brown colour. I am trying my best not to open every packet of pulses in the store cupboard to colour co-ordinate lentils with soup and the pack I am currently working through are puy lentils – lovely small nutty black lentils that I’ve discovered I particularly like served with chicken or fish.
- 1 Medium Carrot Finely diced
- 30 g Black or Puy Lentils Dry weight (Washed)
- 750 ml Vegetable Stock
- 1 teaspoon Coconut Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Coriander
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 3 teaspoons Zero fat Greek Yoghurt
- 200 g Fresh spinach Washed
- 1 Medium Onion Peeled and finely diced
- Heat the coconut oil in a heavy based pan and add the spices. Heat through for a minute or two before adding the onion and carrot and stir to coat well. Turn the heat down to it's lowest and cook for around 8 minutes stirring frequently
- Pour in the stock and add the lentils. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender
- Add in the spinach and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Blitz with a wand mixer or in a blender. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary
- Serve with a teaspoon of yoghurt as a garnish
The result was a substantial and thick soup that really does seem to help to fill me up on a 5:2 diet fast day. I made enough for three portions (my supermarket pack of spinach was just right for that) and used just 30g of dried lentils. By doing that, I’ve added 20 calories or so per bowlful, but 3 hours after I ate, I’m not in the least bit hungry. I served my soup with a teaspoon of Zero Fat Greek Yoghurt just to make the texture a little creamier and even including that in the calorie count, it’s just a little over 100 calories for a substantial bowl of soup
So I do think it’s worth the extra calories. Even if you are on a 5:2 diet fast day and looking for low-calorie recipes, a satisfying lunch for around 100 calories is, in my book, rather more likely to succeed than one with fewer calories that results in snacking later in the afternoon.
I’m planning to carry on working on recipes that help to keep you full for longer but that are also suitable for the 5:2 diet. Because for me, this way of eating has become a lifestyle choice not a short term diet.