Last Updated on February 28, 2019 by Fiona Maclean
5-2 Diet Tips – Eat Well and Cook Less?
OK, a guilty little secret about me and the 5-2 fast diet. I enjoy cooking on 5-2 diet fast days. Maybe a masochistic tendency, maybe just wanting to keep busy. But like everyone there are days when I simply don’t have time to make home-made soups. Or, when I am somewhere where it’s not possible, perhaps with just a microwave to warm something up. So here are some 5-2 diet tips for those of you who prefer not to cook.
I’ve been testing a few things to see what works for me. And, while I’ll still carry on making my own meals most of the time, some of what I have tried has been very good indeed. And, I’ve also experimented a bit with mix and match – adding my own personality to a ready meal of some sort.
The first things I tried were Innocent veg pots. Why? Well, because on special offer at the Co-op these were under £2.00 for a complete meal. And, that’s not bad at all for something very fresh and healthy tasting. The one I tried was Thai Curry, very nice, it came complete with rice so would work very well if you had access to a microwave as an office lunch. 312 calories a pot though.
It does live up to the marketing – with a great coconut aroma as you open up the pot and some crunchy bits of of veg. Not really spicy enough for me to think it was authentially Thai, it WAS very good to eat, though didn’t seem as substantial as some of the alternatives. I tried eating it with shirataki rice (5 calories for a portion), but I’m afraid it was dreadful, rubbery and I regretted even thinking it might be a good idea (the noodles ARE quite ok!!!)
My second experiment was with a couple of sample pots kindly sent to me to try. Now, I know that one of the best ways to stay feeling full on 5-2 diet fast day is to eat food like beans and pulses that are low GI. So I was quite keen to try and see if it worked for me. And these cheerful pots are really very low calorie – the Morroccan Chickpea Tagine is just 211 calories while the Mexican Chilli is 214 calories. They also won the 2012 Healthy Awards for best Slimming and Fitness products!
For my personal taste the Chilli just wasn’t hot enough. Easily remedied, I added a touch of luchito. I also ate this as a side dish, half a pot at a time, with Mexican chicken (a baked chilli spiced chicken breast). Which sort of defeated the purpose of the ready meal, though it was very good!
The Morrocan Chickpea Tagine was my favourite of all the ready meals for dieting. I really didn’t need or want to do anything to it. And, although I thought I’d be hungry and had enough calories to add a small portion of rice (75g cooked rice at 100calories), I really didn’t need it and ended up leaving most of the rice!
Easybeans are made in Somerset and available from Waitrose and a few other supermarkets. The two pots I was sent are both Fairtrade. I’ll definitely be keeping a chickpea tagine in the fridge for emergency 5-2 fast day feeding!
Then, my final review is of some rather lovely looking garlic prawns sent to me by Foods Unearthed. I genuinely love their products so I was delighted to win a great hamper of goodies from them but rather despairing of things that I could eat on fast days…although you might remember my cod recipe with nduja. Then I checked the back of the packets of garlic prawns. 141 calories per 100g (a whole pack of 4 skewers is 170g). So I figured that I could have three skewers for about 200 calories, leaving me enough room to add in a shirataki noodle and vegetable stir fry at 68 calories. As it turns out I could easily have just eaten the prawns alone…they are succulent and come in a very tasty garlic and parsley sauce. Strictly speaking not a ready meal, they have the advantage of a long shelf life (2-3 weeks) and suit my personal style of eating because I can cook ‘around’ them!
Anyway, I’m including the recipe for the vegetable and shirataki noodle stirfry, which differs a little from a normal stir fry because the noodles need plenty of added flavour. The calorie count is for using the recipe as a side dish (e.g. half a portion).
So, even if you prefer NOT to spend your time in the kitchen on 5-2 diet fast days, well, you really can feast, even on a fast day!
If you are doing the 5-2 diet (or any other low calorie diet programme) do you eat ready meals? If so which ones do you like best? And if you are thinking of starting the 5-2 here’s a link to my 5-2 diet tips for beginners!