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5:2 Diet Tips and a Feast Day recipe that rewards without over indulging:
One of the questions which seems to pop up time and time again is ‘what can I eat when I am not on a 5:2 diet fast day?’. The simple answer of course, is anything you want. Regardless of what else you eat, two days a week with a calorie deficit of around 3000 calories should still help you. But, sadly, if you really do over eat continuously on days when you are not fasting, you are unlikely to lose weight. Manage your expectations accordingly. My weight loss can be VERY slow, because there are weeks when I am genuinely eating out at least once a day other than the two days I am fasting. And having been in a few professional kitchens, I can promise you that many are very generous with butter, cream, oil and other lovely things that pile on the calories.
Having said that, although I am not a dietician I suspect it’s important not to overdo it. For me, 5:2 is a lifestyle diet and I am planning to continue fasting once a week on an ongoing basis once I hit my target weight. The joy of the 5:2 diet is that it really doesn’t make me feel as if I am missing out. And I like to indulge with a little treat, although I am trying to avoid buying biscuits at the moment. Instead I’m BAKING! My cakes may not look as if they have come from the Great British Bake Off, but they taste lovely. At least to me. And that’s what counts!
One of the real results of following the 5:2 diet for me is an increased awareness of portion size. And, for that matter of what ingredients will pile on the calories. So, now, when I cook I am much more cautious with the quantities of starchy processed carbs (potatoes, rice etc), sugar, butter, oil and cream. And I honestly don’t find I miss out by reducing the sugar content on the rare occasions I bake something. Just as I have done in these muffins.
These muffins are adapted from already healthy breakfast muffins that we were shown at the recent Lake District Dairy Quark event. But, I’ve reduced both sugar and oil down a bit further. I’m also still using up various oddments of dried fruit from Christmas, so my version uses sultanas and dates, both soaked for an hour in a mug of strong hot tea. And, again because I still had some left, I used spelt flour rather than normal wheat flour. The original recipe is 240 calories per muffin. My version comes in at almost exactly 200 calories – which makes the muffins ALMOST something you could eat on a fast day. The low GI oats and high protein quark help to make these quite filling and they are certainly very tasty. If you don’t think they are sweet enough for you but still want to save the calories, try adding a teaspoon of stevia or better still, a tablespoon of unsweetened applesauce.
- 120 g Rolled Oats
- 250 g Quark I used 'The Lake District Dairy Co Quark
- 65 ml Skimmed Milk
- 60 ml Sunflower Oil
- 1 Large Egg
- 60 g Soft Brown Sugar
- 150 g Spelt Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
- 1 pinch Salt
- 50 g Dried Dates
- 100 g Sultanas
- 1 Cup of hot strong tea
- Soak the dried fruit in the tea. You can do this overnight if you are organised, or for at least an hour, if like me you chose to bake on a whim!
- Pre-heat the oven to 200c and prepare a 12 hole muffin tin. My non-stick tin from George Wilkinson didn't need lining, but use paper liners if you prefer (they look a little prettier too)
- Mix the quark, milk and oats together and allow to soak for five minutes
- Add the oil, egg and sugar and beat well. You should have quite a sludgy mixture at this stage.
- Drain the dried fruit which should be nice and soft.
- Weigh out the flour and mix in the bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Now sift this into the oat mixture. scatter all the dried fruit in and then fold everything together quickly
- Dollop into your muffin tins. Don't worry too much about levelling off, because these will rise nicely in the pan. If you like, scatter a few oat flakes on top.
- Bake for around 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked so that a skewer comes out clean.
- Take the muffins out of the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the tin. Allow to cool on a wire rack, rewarding yourself with one while it is still lovely and warm.
You can vary the dried fruit used. The original recipe suggested dried dates, chopped dried apricots or dried cranberries. I'm planning on trying the recipe with apricots which I think would be delicious! If you are not using sultanas, raisins or currants, there is no need to soak the fruit in tea, though you might like to soak cranberries in orange juice.
So, go ahead and treat yourself. I don’t generally eat breakfast but I’m having one of these with my morning coffee at the moment instead of eating biscuits. And, strangely enough they REALLY do fill you up. Or is it simply that the 5:2 diet is changing my food expectations?