January: Fast Day menu ideas

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January: Fast Day menu ideas

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  • January: Fast Day menu ideas


    Breakfast: Tricolore Omelette

    This is a great way to get punch and flavor into what could be a bland dish. Lightly fry a chopped spring onion and add some chili flakes (as many or few as you fancy) in a small frying pan with just a spray of oil to stop it sticking. Separate two eggs and whip the whites with a fork until bubbly. Add salt and plenty of pepper, and cook gently until the omelette is set to your liking. Perhaps add a small crumble of goat’s cheese too, plus chopped parsley, and serve with a handful of baby herb leaves.

    Supper: Winter Waldorf Salad

    Try this with endive leaves, red and pale varieties, with half a red-skinned apple, a stalk of celery (both chopped), a handful of walnuts for crunch and protein, perhaps a quartered fig for prettiness. Dress with low-fat yoghurt, a little Dijon mustard and a squeeze of lemon juice, mixed and then drizzled over the dish. If you have calories to spare, add a hint of a hard blue cheese – perhaps some of the Christmas Stilton.


    Breakfast: Jumbo Porridge with Jewel Fruit

    OK, so I’m stuck on pomegranate at the moment – but add a swirl of pomegranate molasses (get it here) along with the seeds, together with a dust of cinnamon, and you arrive at a wonderful ruby-studded dish with a flash of inspiration from the middle east. Use jumbo oats as they keep you fuller longer than the more processed varieties. Perhaps add mandarin segments or chopped kiwi for more glistening colour, and a swirl of agave syrup (a low GI sweetener) to taste.

    Supper: Spinach Soup with Tapenade Toasts

    I love Jane Lovett’s book Make It Easy – and this is my homage to one of Jane’s lovely soups, modified for the Fast Diet: a glorious, nutritious bowl of jolly green goodness….

    Fry half a chopped onion, a small chopped potato and a clove of chopped garlic in a little oil. Add a grate of root ginger and nutmeg and a pint of vegetable bouillon (from a cube or your own veg stock). Bring to the boil and simmer until the potato is softened. Add 250gms – or more – of washed spinach, and simmer till the leaves are wilted. Puree and serve with a crisp, thin slice of toasted ciabatta spread with green-olive tapenade (or pesto) and a swirl of low-fat crème fraiche. The soup will keep in the fridge for two or three days.

    The magic of beansprouts!
    Try adding a couple of handfuls of beansprouts to a lettuce and tomato salad, and then pouring a couple of tablespoons of low-fat french dressing over it, plenty of salt and pepper… a really satisfying, crunchy, massive plateful! Keeps me going in the middle of a fast day for around 120 calories.

    I would love to see some 500 kcal meal ideas as I skip breakfast and lunch on fast days. Currently I always have oven baked salmon fillet with a massive plate of oven roasted veg (roasted in a tablespoon of pesto) which although really tasty (especially after not having eaten for 24 hours) is getting rather repetitive!

    fatmanslim – think you’ve hit the nail on the head with this beansprout salad – your mouth really needs crunch, flavour and the bulk of lo-cal veggies on a fast day. You could try adding a handful of nuts for some protein too. I like other sprouts too – radish sprouts give a kick of pepper

    Thanks for these recipes that look delicious. As a vegetarian I am especially pleased these have been offered. Vegan suggestions would also be good.

    Why is fresh salmon more calories than tinned?

    I’ve been doing this since the Horizon programme, and have found it pretty straightforward. I discovered http://www.graze.com and get 2 of their light boxes each week, and they have between 350 and 500 calories on average, so that is mostly what I eat on my “Graze days” as we now call them, though I usually have a small cup of soup at lunch as well.

    I’ve lost a couple of stone, though not exclusively down to this, we have also stopped drinking during the week and I’ve also started playing football as I now feel so much more like doing so. It is all part of my revelatory way to get a bit thinner which is 1. Eat less, 2. Move more, 3. Repeat (it wouldn’t make a very large book).

    If anyone want to try it, use code 5VMTL6T and they’ll give you a free box (and send £1 to an Ugandan farm!)

    I’ve ordered the book as I would like to read more about this whole idea, and get some more ideas for alternative as I’m bound to get bored with the Graze boxes eventually, though they send so many different and yummy things I haven’t yet.

    Jeremy Knowles
    age 46 and feeling better than in years!

    I am a 65 yr old very overweight Nanna. Saw Mike on the TV over Xmas and decided to buy the book and give it a go. I have tried all the usual diets and now weigh more than when I started them, so what have I got to lose.
    1st day was Wednesday and found it very easy, Friday is the next Fast day hopefully it will be just as good.
    I have planned out my menus and based them around the family food so that I am not tempted to eat other things, does anyone have any other hints to keep me out of the kitchen in the evenings.

    Good on you fatnanna! Good attitude too, you have nothing to lose. Let us know how you get on – you may be thinnanna before too long… my best tip to break snacking habits is to be tough on yourself when you’re shopping, not when you’re foraging for food in the kitchen. Once the snacks are in the house, it’s almost impossible to ignore them (they cry out till you come and fetch them, I find). And on non-fast days, don’t forget, a treat is just fine.

    Joined in with the 5:2 diet in August after the Horizon programme. It’s the only way I have found to lose weight and the only diet that I have ever followed for more than a few weeks. I feel better, have lost 2 1/2 stone and have got rid of some annoying aches and pains.
    Tried lots of ideas for recipes and find the Hairy Bikers approach worth looking at. Removing fat, dry frying, adding flavour with herbs and spices, use strong flavours then you don’t need so much. Think outside the box enjoy your food don’t be greedy and you can lose weight and still lead a normal life.

    Lovely recipes. I’ve been 5:2ing since 2nd Oct and feel great on it. I find mixed roasted veggies work well on Fast days, I make thick parsnip soup on Non Fast days and a few spoonfuls makes a lovely gravy on 500 days to brighten up Kale. Frozen grapes are fab in place of a boiled sweet. Agree with the above comments about bean-sprouts and Graze boxes although I have normal Graze boxes as Non Fast day treats. Homemade coleslaw can be created with very little cals by cutting the mayo with fromage frais. The tiniest amount of a strong cheese or onion chutney can make a roasted courgette or mushroom interesting. Rocket and a small amount of pickled gherkin creates a punchy side salad with a couple of walnuts. Sharing tips or even text group messaging with local IFs is also great in addition to Internet forums since shared goals with people we know adds motivation. Love this lifestyle change, already have 14 friends on board and numbers of motivated IFs are climbing fast. Thanks Michael and Mimi!

    Hello , Thanks for including me on your site and my also posting up my soup recipe ..

    Just to say, yes make your fast meals as tasty as t you can on fast days .. Add lots of fresh herbs and use things like lemon juice , chilli, cumin, and pickles etc if you like them , they are all low cal.

    I’ve been doing this since August and I eat a lot of veggie stir fries on fast days with a few prawns or fish .(stir fried in spray of oil and a little stock )

    One of my absolute favourites is cauliflower chopped up and roasted in a little spray oil and sprinkled with cumin and lemon juice.. its fab ! .. In fact cauliflower is also great ‘riced ‘ (grated and lightly steamed) with a veg curry or used in a stir fry .

    Another great idea I often have for breakfast is omelette made with 2 eggs and a tiny touch of butter, filled with a mixture of wilted spinach, spring onion and fresh coriander , with a couple of sliced cherry tomatoes and my ubiquitous chilli sauce! Stunning!

    Hi Mimi and Michael..
    Do you know if the Horizon programme will be goingout again soon? If not are there plans to host it on this site or release a DVD?

    I post on Mumsnet 5:2 threads and we are now getting so many people are finding 5:2 who would love to see the programme.

    It was on You Tube but pulled I suppose due to copyright

    Hi Jackie – try this link: [deleted due to copyright issues]

    Jeremy – the graze boxes sound a good idea. When you say “light boxes” are these on the website? Or do you just pick your own things to go in them? Also how do you know how many calories are in what you’re choosing?


    Hi Fatnanna, best of luck with the 5/2, I have been doing it since August, finding it effective and easy to maintain. One suggestion to keep you out of the kitchen on Fast evenings- I have taken to going to the cinema on one Fast day a week, carrying my flask of herb tea. I love films, and it is my treat to myself.

    After much experiment I now eat the same thing every fast day-coffee with low fat milk for breakfast, large bowl of spicy lentil and veg soup for lunch, noodles with stemed veg and chicken or prawns for supper, flavoured with soy and sweet chilli sauce. Marks and spencer egg noodles are 80 calories per ‘nest’. Both meals are satisfying and filling, and I stay under 500 calories.

    Thanks for the additional ideas.

    I have just received the book and my husband and I are keen to start a.s.a.p.

    I was a bit disappointed to find that your suggested meal plans in the book are different for men and women. I was hoping to have something that we could just get started with straight away. Especially as you say how helpful it is to do this in company. It would have been a lot easier to have had one plan with ‘men add a slice of toast or an extra egg’ or whatever….

    So now I have to sit down with a calorie counter and work out what we can BOTH eat.

    Busybee I would just do a slightly larger or smaller portion to make the difference, I’m not too strict about making it exactly 600 kg for me, sometimes I’m a bit over sometimes a bit under. I don’t think it is critical to be precise as we are all different, just by eating less 2 days a week you will be doing yourself a favour 🙂

    Thanks for these ideas. I notice that in the book a lot of the recipes involve fish.
    I personally don’t eat fish unless its breaded or battered, so can I encourage more fish-free recipes.

    I am note overweight and eat a very low carb det. I tried this fasting but find it really hard to stick to 500 calories on the down days. Is that because I don’t have weight to loose or do I need to eat more carbs on the up days to give me reserves on the down days. I follow this diet for the other health benefits, not the weight loss.

    There is a big need for a book of interesting 500 calorie meals as some of us save all our calories for the evening on fasting days. Does anyone know of any recipe books with 500 cal meals?

    Breakfast-as an alternative to omelettes pinched this from the Dukan diet whci I find quite filling- one egg beaten with herbs and chilli,pepper & salt with a splash of semi skimmed milk and a dessert spoon of oatmeal dry fried in a non stick wok. Eat this after a weight watcher yogurt with a teaspoon of Linwoods milled flaxseeds and mixed nuts. This keeps going all day.

    I did the 5:2 since Michael’s programme up until Christmas and lost about 5kg (I also cycle a lot). I’ve since put 2kg back on through laziness (and food obviously)so I’m going to start again. I wanted to ask, with fruit and vegetables, how do we work out their calorific value?

    Hi “Likingthis”
    The best way of doing this, for me, has been to download the free app “MyFitnessPal” which you can log into with your personal weights and measurements, and then keep track of your success story too! You can search for foods on there; lots of fresh options as well as well-known brand ready meals too. (Hubby and I enjoy M&S stuffed mushrooms at 120kcals per half packet….delish) Seems a good app, and I find it motivating to record my fast day 500 (ish!) cals. Hope that helps!

    By the way, the myfatsecret app and website (http://www.fatsecret.co.uk) also tracks calories, weight, recommended intake, and has many calorie-counted recipes as well as hundreds of UK supermarket foods.

    I am a mega fussy eater, always have been! I can count on one hand the amount of veggies I like. I am 35 and 5ft 11 and around 14 and half stone. Because I am very fussy with food, my diet is not the best eating more not so good food over the good food (cheese, bread, meats etc). What also does not help is my wife eats what she wants, when she wants, more than me and is always been a size 12 so she always has lots of various good and bad food in the house. I work as a sales rep so am driving all day every day then home to 2 small children and the family business that is 24/7. By the time the kids are in bed and we are sorted it is 9pm so have no real time or desire to exercise. I started this diet around Sept time and lost almost a stone in around 8 weeks. I came off the diet in Nov time as was going on a break with the family. I completely fell off the wagon and am back where I started now. As Christmas was coming up I thought I would start again in January. I was really gutted over Christmas as I had managed to fit nicely into shirts I had not worn in a long time back in Oct/Novemeber, my belt had gone up two notches and like I said was now back at square one. I am now coming up to my 4th fast day of the New Year and am not going to fail this time. I have never been a big eater, just the wrong foods so my fast day usually consists of porridge, soup and a banana. I am going to hit supermarket now though and stock up on some weight watchers meals as they look good! My aim is to get to around 13 stone. Any tips are gratefully received.

    Apparently Quorn is supposed to very low GI. Has any body tried it on a fast day?

    I almost always use Quorn substitutes in my meals for fastin – quorn sausages, quorn mince, quorn chicken. You get more bulk of food for less cals, and it actually tastes pretty good (as do most things on a fast day!). I made a quorn lasagne the other day, around 315 cals per portion and it made a lovely fasting dinner last night.

    Thanks shiningmoogie. I’m a vege anyway so I always have stuff in the freezer and Tescos have got their Quorn range on offer

    Or you can freeze it in and have quick and easy calorie counted fast meals 😀 That’s what I do, I’ve got all sorts in my freezer – quorn chilli, quorn bolognaise, quorn lasagne, chunky veg soup, ratatouille… I find it so much easier to batch cook a normal recipe, substituting in low cal options like quorn and cutting down some of the oil/fats etc. Then I add up the total cals, divide it out into weighed/calorie counted portions and freeze it in!

    I’m nearly at the end of my second lot of chemotherapy for stage 4 lymphoma. I was diagnosed in January 2012 had 6 rounds but unfortunately it didn’t make any inroads so was put on a more aggressive chemotherapy regime and I have just had my 5th chemo with one more to go. Results so far seem good but I was very interested to read about the effects of the 5.2 diet on cancer patients and how it makes chemotherapy more effective. I started at the weekend and so far so good. Today is my second ‘fast’ day. I have become used to feeling not hungry while having chemotherapy so i am hoping it is not going to be too difficult. When i have my next chemotherapy, I won’t do the fast days for that week except maybe the day before as the book said it would help. Has anyone else gone through chemotherapy and then done the diet with no ill effects? Between courses of chemotherapy I am not on any other medication. Any information or tips would be useful. I have put on weight since I lost it at the beginning which is encouraging but now want to get back to my comfortable weight. Thanks.Jane

    So glad to find this site. I have been fasting (actually 3 days a week, not 2) since seeing the Horizon programme and so far lost 2 stone. It is is great to find a resource for ideas about what to eat on fasting days – I was a bit stuck with eating the same 3 meals each week on the fast days and it can get a tad tedious. Aiming to keep going both with this and with at least 3 gym visits a week, for the time being!

    I have just discovered the book after remembering the programme last year. Unfortunately it was not a good time to try a new eating lifestyle as my father was dying from motor neurone disease and my emotions were bouncing off the ceiling. I am a 49 year old 5’1″ overweight menopausal female who really needs help. I am going away for a well earned holiday in 4 weeks so was thinking of doing a 4:3 as I really dont think I could cope with intermittent. I love porridge and eggs so breakfast will not be an issue. I love making veg and lentil soup so a batch of that should help. my problems are that I am somewhat an emotional eater. Emotions still raw after loosing dad 5 days before christmas so all advise would be gratefully received.

    Hi everyone, I started the fast diet after seeing a little bit of the Horizon programme. I am male, 54 and 5’9. I was very overweight at 222lbs and was told by my doctor to lose weight or risk a stroke, diabetes, cancer or heart attack. I had tried many different diets to no avail. However,after starting this diet in August I was down to 178lbs in December. I fast on a Tuesday and Thursday. I have my dinner on Monday evening and Wednesday evening then fast for 24 hours. It was difficult to begin with but now it is second nature. I use the ‘myfitnesspal’ app and find this an invaluable tool. On normal eating days I weigh everything as before we just piled our plates high. The only problem (a good one) is the cost of buying new clothes although the’British Heart Fiundation’ are delighted at my donations.
    loved reading the other posts and look forward to seeing some more.

    QUESTION and jubilation: Hi, enthused by reading book and watching Michael (Horizon) I decided to try this for myself and after only 1.5 weeks have LOST AN AMAZING 7.5 pounds. 215 to 217.5 pounds.

    I decided to fast consecutively for 2 days a week, is this wrong, incorrect??

    I don’t know how but I managed to miss the programme and resulting publicity. Stumbled across the book on Amazon last week and ordered it. I have never dieted and do not have any scales but judging by the way my body has changed shape over the years (I am 44), I would say I am about a stone over my ideal weight for my height. So having read the book and liked what I read, today is my first Fast Day! I have not eaten anything yet (2pm) and feel fine, have discovered I can drink tea without milk but not without sugar so 1 tsp = 15 cals per cup. At this rate I think it unlikely that I will eat before evening, before starting I had thought that I would eat breakfast and dinner but in the end decided to only eat breakfast if I felt really hungry, which I didn’t and still don’t. So, good start but don’t know how I will manage on a work day, only time will tell..

    Dear neverdiet try the link below to watch the original programme, not the original. from BBCIplayer as it seems to have been removed.

    [deleted due to copyright issues]

    Can you advise whether following this diet would be okay while I exclusively breast feed my (almost) 5 month old son or is it advisable to wait until I stop ?

    kcleminson, I am not a Doctor but I would finish breastfeeding before you start this diet. When I breastfed, I found I got so hungry! My feeling is that fasting could affect your milk production. Best thing is to have a word with your GP. Take care.

    I’ve found a use for my old diet books and magazines. I’m searching through them to make a collection of recipes my family and I will all like. The recipes are usually calorie-counted and portion sizes clearly stated.
    I’ve just completed my first day and have already made use of my Dukan book. Lots more recipes to try! By the way, I had a really good first day today and feel optimistic that I shall see good results.

    Hi Kickidee, glad you’re feeling so positive. I too use past issues of Woman and Home mags to find really tasty recipes. I eat all my calories on an evening and last night I made a dinner of 2 mini Yorkshire puds, 3 roast potatoes and loads of veg. My gravy was calorie counted as I used Bisto. To make the roasties, I had potato left off from the lunch on sunday. I sprayed them with olive oil, about 20 squirts, came in well under 500 cals. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as did my willing husband!

    Started the Fast diet a week ago. I did intend to put my own spin on it! Have now seen the error of my ways, why change something that works? I am seeing why I have stayed overweight and yoyo dieted for years. This two day fasting is easy, I like others find I am not at all hungry, knowing you can eat whatever you like the next day changes everything. The most important thing is I am losing the weight and feeling so many benefits already. I also find I am eating better on non fast days. My appetite has changed and I have become more conscious of how much I used to graze when I wasn’t even hungry. I now make a point of eating consciously and enjoying meal times. I skimmed the book at the start but have now taken time to read it. I will continue this not only for the weight loss but the health benefits. My unhealthy eating and extra weight was making me old before my time! Also the links with depression, I have suffered bouts over many years and turn to food for comfort. I think it becomes a viscous cycle. This may be a tool to help deal with that.

    Started diet today. I used to fast once a week when I was younger so I knew what to expect. The pressure is that I live in a culture that revolves around food. The beauty is that I have to only do two days per week. I have chosen Tuesday and Thursday but alas, the first week a colleague is leaving and wants to go out for pizza. On this diet, it’s no problem. Will switch my days for this week only.

    Felt a little hungry but had a cuppa with no milk (don’t take sugar anyway). Hunger gone . I did twelve hours without food.

    Hi I was very impressed with the program and bought the books. Have been on the 5:2 for 4th week now. In the first week lost 4lbs but now have put on 2lbs and not lost any in 2 weeks. I am sticking to the recipe on the fast days and work out with a trainer at the gym twice a week. The rest of the days, I eat healthy. So why am I not losing any more weight?

    Just waiting for the book to arrive.I have made a huge pan of leek lentil and carrot soup,and am wondering if I can have that a couple of times a day?

    Thank you 13Fisher1, have now watched the programme.
    2nd Fast Day tomorrow!

    Started the diet on 14/01/13 – On first week lost a couple of pounds. Am disappointed now as after 2 and a half weeks, I have now gained back one of the lost pounds. I have chosen Monday and Thursday as my fast days as this fits in with my exercise regime. I don’t eat until 2pm and have dinner at 9-9.30pm. Do you think I’m not losing as I am eating too late at night? I really want this to work. I don’t have a huge amount of weight to lose, about a stone. Any tips greatly received. Haven’t seen the program but have got the book.

    I’m just getting ready for my second Fast Day tomorrow. Oven at 200C, I tossed a punnet each of baby courgettes, cut into chunks, and whole cherry tomatoes with 1tsp olive oil, 2tsp red wine vinegar plenty of salt and pepper and a generous pinch of dried oregano. I spread this in a shallow dish in a single layer. I let it roast covered for 20 mins, then 10-20 mins uncovered. I think it’s delicious with a dessertspoon grated parmesan processed with a thin slice full-grain soda bread sprinkled over then toasted to a crunchy topping.

    I have just started the fast/diet, and am going well so far, but I have been wondering about the implications of fasting on the daily recommended dairy/calcium intake, as I am a 55 year old woman going through menopause, and I don’t want to end up increasing my risk of osteoporosis. I am guessing this is more of an issue long term, but it is being suggested as a life-long eating plan. Any ,anyone?

    Hi Clarissa – I have a response from MM for you:
    ‘The really important thing to prevent osteoporosis is not so much calcium intake (though that needs to be adequate) but vitamin D, which regulates absorption. particularly important at this time of year to boost your vitamin D levels because they are largely driven by sunshine. Can get vit D in diet from oily fish but consider supplements. Get vitamin D levels measured by GP and discuss’
    Check this paper from American Journal of Nutrition –

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