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Quick, Easy Low-Calorie Sweet and Sour Chicken for the 5:2 Diet:
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.
- 100 g skinless chicken breast sliced into thin strips
- 1/2 red chilli de-seeded and chopped
- 2 large ripe tomatoes skinned and chopped
- 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar or rice vinegar if you have it
- 1 piece ginger (about 2cm peeled and finely chopped)
- 1 clove garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 100 g Shirataki noodles
- 50 g pak choi white part only, chopped or <g class="gr_ gr_112 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_hide gr_inline_cards gr_disable_anim_appear Grammar multiReplace replaceWithoutSep gr-progress" id="112" data-gr-id="112">other green leafy vegetable</g>
- 50 g carrot chopped into 2 cm strips
- 2 spring onions chopped into 2cm strips
- 30 g red pepper sliced into 2 cm strips
- 1 teaspoon light low-calorie soy
- 6 shots 1 cal oil
- 1-2 teaspoon sweetener of your choice. Adjust the calories as appropriate
- Spray a small pan with oil and gently soften the ginger, garlic and chilli for 2-3 minutes, stirring all the time
- Add in the chopped tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of soy, 2 teaspoons of vinegar
- Cook for 3-4 minutes till you have a thick sauce.
- Now taste and add sweetener to your own preference. I found I needed 1 sachet of Truvia which would equate to about a teaspoon of sugar but you may find you a little more.
- Spray a wok with 1 cal and brown the chicken on all sides before adding it to the sweet and sour sauce and cooking gently for 8-10 minutes.
- About 3 minutes before you want to eat stir fry the remaining vegetables, adding soy and water as necessary and then add the pre-rinsed shirataki noodles.
- Place the vegetable stirfry on a plate then add the chicken sweet and sour on top.
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 occasionally. 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 chilli and ginger are supposed to be thermogenic and will help increase your metabolism. You can adjust the amount of chilli to taste. If you don’t particularly enjoy spicy foods, then, by all means, leave it out completely or add chilli 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!
If you are on a diet and are looking to try this low-calorie sweet and sour chicken, here’s the nutritional analysis – as you can see it’s just shy of 250 calories a portion if you use shiritaki noodles.
Thinking of trying this recipe at home? why not pin it for later