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5:2 Diet Recipes

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With so many people coming back to the diet this times of year, this seems like a great time to start a new discussion about what foods work best for our diet days.

My concern with fast days has always been to get enough protein and vitamins, since I know that our bodies can't store protein, so if we don't get enough to fill our daily need for enzymes, etc, our bodies may break down existing muscle. This is why unhealthy diets lead to weight loss too much of which is due to losing lean muscle rather than fat.

The food I rely on to solve the protein problem without piling on calories is Fage Greek 0% Yogurt. It is 100 calories per container and 18 grams of protein (the same as 3 ounces of meat, cheese, or 3 eggs.) There are a lot of yogurts labeled "Greek" on the market, but this is the one that has the most protein, no added sugar, and the thickest texture. I use a sugar free flavoring to turn it into dessert. (Pudding for you Brits)

For vitamins I have come to rely on either cabbage or Brussels sprouts. Both have much more vitamins per calorie than the other veggies I've looked at. Microwaving 3 oz of Brussels for 2 minutes avoids the nasty sulfury taste and smell that boiling gives them. The cabbage works well in an Asian slaw (the sauce is made with soy, vinegar, a small amount of sweetener, ginger, lime, etc. I use a bottled Ponzu sauce.) I use bagged slaw mix for the cabbage. I also add an ounce of fresh carrot for extra Vitamin and bulk.

Finding low cal meats are tough as I don't like fish or frozen shrimp. I ate so much chicken the first 7 months of this diet I got to where I can't stand the site of it. That leaves tuna (dangeously full of mercury) and lean pork roast, beef roast, and ham. 2 oz of those will work on a sandwich made with a slice of whole grain bread with a spread of Laughing Cow.

Sometimes I have 2 oz of brown rice with Thai peanut sauce as a change from the bread.

But I would really like to hear some more ideas. There are no packaged meals available in our supermarkets in the US that aren't laden with additives, particularly forms of MSG like "yeast extract." MSG is known to promote overeating and weight gain so I avoid it. The packaged foods are very high on starch and sugar and very low on protein, too. But if anyone knows of any packaged food available in the US that comes in under 350 caloreis and is "clean" I'd love to know about it.

So what are your fast day go to foods?
@PeeblesYou might want to look at this ... -curry.php Sorry, their products tend to be chicken!! but with Indian spices, maybe it would be acceptable.

I don't use it on fast days because I don't mind eating the same thing on those days. But the label says that one 5.5 ounce serving has 240 calories and 23 g of protein. The ingredients list looks pretty clean to me, but I don't have your expertise to judge.

The naan can be passed on to someone else in the family :shock:

I find the medium spice a little too hot for us so I add a can of cocoanut milk for dilution to two packages of the entree in a large saucepan to heat instead of microwave or conventional oven--I don't know what this does to the calorie count
I find some of the Atkins frozen meals work well for me on a fast day - many are around (or just over) 350 cals., have lots of protein and are low in carbs. However, they may have a little too much in the way of additives for you, @peebles. I know they are high in sodium (not good) but still make a filling meal when you don't really want to cook.

There's even pizza - haven't tried it yet !!!
Oh, I forgot to say that adding the coconut milk makes an awful lot of sauce, so I add vegetables to the concoction, making it into a chicken-coconut-curry stew--tastes great!
I like something spicy on fast days and before I found out I had an egg allergy, I used to love this one ... ato-sauce/. My short cut was just to make it with tinned tomatoes, cumin and hot smoked paprika, so the one here is very elaborate.

The one I make the most is Hairy Dieters Chicken Tagine. I can't find the dish on-line so if I get a chance tomorrow I will post here. I freeze it in portions so it is handy for fast days.
@Marybeth, That Sukhi's curry looks wonderful, but they don't appear to sell it anywhere near me. Still, the idea of the curry is a good one. I can easily make my own curry with Thai Red Curry Paste and TJ's coconut milk. I could throw in those veggies and have a complete meal.
@rawkaren, That is a very interesting recipe. I'm not crazy about fried eggs, but might like some kind of huevos rancheros along the same lines made with scrambled ones.

Keep the ideas coming!
Most often on a fast day I have scrambled eggs made with a little butter and some smoked salmon for my main meal and may also have a bowl of full fat greek yoghurt with a drizzle of honey as a snack earlier in the day. I don't buy any low-fat or low-calorie products any more - they seem to switch my hunger on and I don't like all the chemicals they contain!
Nice thread @peeblesand i share your fear of not enough protein and vitamins on fast days.

Prior to my main fast day meal which is usually lean and carb free, Ive been opting for an egg or a small bit of lean meat, maybe chicken if theres any around (breast or leg or thigh fillets, not processed slices).. And Aldi brand cottage cheese for protein. (you have to be selective about cottage cheese)

I keep wanting to make those protein bars and even bought the protein powder. time time time.

For vitamins, I guess i eat so much fresh fruit and veeg that I think i have enough though will go for brazil nuts and walnuts occasionally
@madcatlady, I love the full fat Greek yogurt, but at 190 calories per 7 oz container it has too many calories to fit into my 435 calorie allowance.
I went through a phase of being bored by chicken, after having a chicken stir fry almost every fast day for over a year. Switching up the vegetables helps, but I needed a break. I had a lot of cottage cheese during that time. Now I'm bored of cottage cheese. So I'm back to mostly chicken stir fries, with the occasional Mexican pizza or sashimi. Oh yeah… I have a soft boiled egg every day.
MaryAnn wrote: I went through a phase of being bored by chicken, after having a chicken stir fry almost every fast day for over a year. Switching up the vegetables helps, but I needed a break. I had a lot of cottage cheese during that time. Now I'm bored of cottage cheese. So I'm back to mostly chicken stir fries, with the occasional Mexican pizza or sashimi. Oh yeah… I have a soft boiled egg every day.

@MaryAnnWhat about using beef, pork or lamb as a substitute for chicken in the stir fries. I guess the same thing can be boring for many months.
I find fritattas like this one ... i+fritters a nice way to get some veg and protein. Made it the other day and was so yummy as I remember wanting more but then i had to consider it was a fast day.

My motto at the moment is that fast day need not be devoid of spice and flavour. Its a fast day for me and im making tandoori chicken (will limit portion size) and a spicy tomato/onion/coriander/cucumber salsa on the side. Chicken is now marinating in the paste and yoghurt and i just want to eat it.
I don't know if it's the weather or just the fact that I crave liquids on fasting days, but I've been creating a lot of soup recipes. I'm an avid cook and take immense pleasure in creating the tastiest possible, lowest calorie soups I can figure out. It's one of the highlights of fast days! Today I made a low calorie (279 cal) Cullen Skink, actually, and it was very tasty. I want to submit my recipes but I think I need to make sure they're consistent enough. I've also created a kind of 'chicken satay curry soup'... a ham and bean soup... a white bean chicken chili... and a turkey chili. All around 300 calories each serving. I tend to start with a good, regular recipe and then shave back as many calories as I can by omitting unneeded calories. Spice and flavour seem quite important as well. The spicier it is, the more filled up I feel.

I reckon this will shift back to salads as the seasons change, but for now I'm loving soups. Yum.

There are a few Persian recipes that I want to perfect before I share as well.

A small tip: If you want to shave back a few unneeded calories, consider using onion powder in place of actual onion (for soups/stews, etc). A tsp of onion powder is 8 calories, while a small chopped onion is 28. And if you want to saute the onion, you have to use butter or a low calorie spray, which also adds calories.

All those soups sound wonderful! I ate soup for every fast day until very recently (almost a year) and will go back to making them when I get some new ideas.

I'm good with unspecific recipes that just list the things that go into the soup. I rarely follow any recipes for soup as the ones I make are so forgiving. So just giving us a general idea of what goes into the soups would be wonderful.
Hi Peebles - this time last year I also ate chicken for protein on fast days. As I chickened myself out it is only on the menu when visitors drop by these days. I think that will change as time moves on. With the cold weather here I'm also making spicy veggie soups - following my palate, not recipes. I don't worry about protein intake on fast days at the moment - if I feel like a small piece of cheese I'll have that. I enjoyed a very nice lunch out yesterday - a small baked goats cheese, with beetroot, chopped walnuts, green leaves and French dressing. I think it would be a good fast day meal if I can work out the calories. I'm not good at numbers and my FD calories are 335 upwards. Eggs work for me, wondering if anyone bakes a soufflé? I haven't tried that yet.
Hi @peeblesI hope you are well. I returned to work today and it reminded me of this thread for fast day as well as no fast days. At lunch time I either miss it if I feel like that way or go to Pret a Manger 5 doors down from the office and pickup either a protein pot or a soup, the ingredients and cals are clearly marked - below is a link to protein pots, soups and sushi (includes non fish) - they have 3 protein pots and 3 different soups on offer each day. Today I had the smoked salmon and boiled egg protein pot with fresh baby spinach that has a slice of fresh lemon to squeeze over, 110 cals and I was more than satisfied all afternoon. It's amazing how a small about of protein can full fill. Have a look at cold drinks menu too - I often pick up a vit juice.
I hope it gives you some creative ideas. The protein pots are non meat based. I minded to experiment with protein pots at home.
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