12 Super Soups – for fast days or any day

Italian Vegetable Soup Spicy Chickpea and Spinach Soup _MG_5269-2 Tuscan Zucchini Soup Mushroom and Celery Soup Spring Minestrone Soup Hot and Sour Chicken and Mushroom Soup Watercress Soup Carrot and Coriander Soup butternut squash soup _MG_3080 Simple Vegetable Soup

I love soups! They are a great way of filling up before your main course, or make a perfect lunch. They can showcase all kinds of vegetables and elevate them to become star ingredients. They are a great way of increasing your veg intake, so helping you to have more fibre and get your five-a-day.

I make my own stock quite often, but if not, a good quality bouillon powder or cube is perfectly acceptable – especially on a fast day, the extra salt can be very helpful at balancing your electrolytes, so keeping headaches and light-headedness at bay.

Most of these soups are easy to prepare and quick to cook and can be simmering gently while you get on with making a main dish. I often make a larger quantity than I need and freeze leftovers for another day.

Vary your textures, from a clear broth such as in Hot and Sour Soup, to a hearty chunky soup such as the Spicy Chickpea and Spinach, with a variety of smoother textures in between. A stick blender is a really useful but inexpensive tool that helps to make smooth soups easily, right in the pan, without extra washing up.

Make the most of herbs and spices to add flavour and depth – a little sprinkle at the last minute is appealing to the eye as well as to the palate. Try a grating of strongly flavoured cheese, such as parmesan, a spoonful of pesto, a few toasted slivers of almonds, a swirl of yogurt, finely chopped fresh herbs, some drops of chilli sauce or some freshly roasted and ground spices.

Here they are, in order of calorie counts and with links to the recipes.

12 Super SoupsPhotosNumber of Calories
Click on the links above for the recipes
Mushroom and CeleryMushroom and Celery Soup36
WatercressWatercress Soup60
Hot and Sour (Tom Yum)Hot and Sour Chicken and Mushroom Soup76
Moroccan Cauliflower with AlmondMoroccan Cauliflower Soup87
Tuscan ZucchiniTuscan Zucchini Soup89
Carrot and CorianderCarrot and Coriander Soup97
Bargeman's Tomato_MG_5269-2110
Caribbean Butternut Squashbutternut squash soup120
Italian VegetableItalian Vegetable Soup124
Spicy Chickpea and SpinachSpicy Chickpea and Spinach Soup150
Spring MinestroneSpring Minestrone150

All the recipes are in my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life, available on Amazon in kindle and print editions

A Fast Day Meal Plan, with porridge for breakfast

Winter TreeOn a chilly day, you might like to start a fast day with porridge, which is low-GI and can help keep you feeling full for a remarkably long time. Make the porridge using water and add a little soya or semi skimmed milk when serving, if you like – or have a chopped prune instead (20 calories per prune), which can be helpful for your digestive system.

Simple Vegetable Soup

I’ve included my Simple Vegetable Soup again, which is a fast day standby for me. I always have a packet of ready prepared chopped vegetables in the freezer, so it is a quick and easy soup to make when you are hungry, with 100g of vegetables, a tsp of stock powder and 250ml of water – bring to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes and whizz with a stick blender to vary the texture.  If you choose not to have breakfast, you could have a more substantial soup instead.

Smoked Haddock with Poached Egg and wilted Spinach

Again, main course is really simple and doesn’t take long to prepare, so this menu is ideal when you have had a busy day. You could use frozen fish and frozen spinach too, so as long as you have some fresh eggs, this is something that can be prepared entirely from what you have in store. No excuses!

Mocha Dessert

For dessert, it is easy to use fromage blanc or greek yogurt as the basis and vary the flavours with some simple additions. Here I have used the classic combo of coffee and chocolate, but you can experiment with different essences, fresh or dried fruits, snipped candied peel, chopped toasted nuts, a sprinkle of cinnamon… lots of possibilities and it doesn’t take much to give it a bit of added zing. I find it helps to make a meal feel complete, and it doesn’t need any sugar (though I did add a little honey to the mocha dessert, as it can be helpful to getting a good night’s sleep after a fast day).

You’ll find the recipes for this dinner here or in my book, 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life, which is available in kindle and print editions from Amazon worldwide.

Fast Day Menu with Breakfast and Dinner
Total Calories for the day 460/550
Breakfast
Make up your porridge using water
15 / 20g of Porridge Oats (55/70), with 50ml soya milk (20)
Dinner
Simple Vegetable Soup_MG_0303Mocha Dessert 105 kcals
Simple Vegetable Soup (70)Smoked Haddock with 1 or 2 Poached Eggs on a bed of Wilted Spinach (210/285)Mocha Dessert (105)

For tortoises and slow losers….

Following on from a post on the 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Diet group on Facebook about slow losers, I thought it would be helpful to share some suggestions for those who are following 5:2 but get stuck without losing any weight for 4 weeks or more.

Provided you are actually managing to do 2 fast days a week of under 500/600 calories, and you really do have some weight to lose – well there are lots of things that you can do to make a difference.

In general, we aren’t overweight because we don’t eat enough (though not eating enough on a regular basis may confound our attempts to lose). Fast days will help us to cut back – maybe enough to stop us gaining any more, but for some of us, not enough to make a noticeable difference to weight loss.

Intermittent Fasting is excellent at helping you to burn dangerous visceral fat, so that at least should be shifting, as your body transfers resources to more easy to access locations. So you may realise that you are changing shape, even if the scales don’t budge.

You may be happy enough with the long term health benefits to continue with little or no weight loss, and that is absolutely fine. But if you are frustrated enough to want to change things, then here are my suggestions (in no particular order, pick whatever appeals to you):

  • Option 1. Add in an extra fast day. Try 4:3 for a couple of weeks and see if it makes the difference. That may be enough to kick start the process again, so then go back to 5:2. You may learn through doing this that non fast days are your problem and that you need to cut back, just a little, on your portion sizes or particular types of foods in future.
  • Option 2. Mindful eating. Consider what you are going to eat before you put it in your mouth. So much of what we do is habit and nothing to do with appetite or hunger. So much of what we eat isn’t really food! Close the fridge/cupboard door again and come back later. Leave some on the plate. Put less on your plate in the first place. Mindful shopping is a good adjunct to this – if you don’t buy it in the first place, it won’t be there to tempt you. Planning ahead so that you have a week’s worth of well thought out menus to choose from before you go shopping can really help too. With mindful eating, if you think about it, really want it, and are hungry, then go ahead and eat – but stop before you are full. Eat slowly enough so that your fullness sensor has a chance to detect that you have eaten!
  • Option 3. Portion control. Using the hand guide to portion sizes can be a simple way to limit your intake, especially of things like pasta and other starchy carbs. No more than a fistful of those. See the graphic for more info.
  • Option 3. Start tracking. Track everything that you are eating and drinking for a week or two – it can be really illuminating, showing you where you eat those little extra things that are really high in sugar, or just generally high in calories. Once you have a handle on what you are really having, you can target things to cut back on. 
  • Option 4. Cut back on non fast days**. We may be shocked to discover how little we really need to stay the same weight, and gaining weight slowly over the years, is testament to that. Check your sedentary TDEE – If it is the average of about 2000 for a woman, then fast days alone will give a 3000 calorie deficit (we need to drop 3500 calories or so to lose a pound, as a rough guide). But you need to not exceed your TDEE on the others! It can be helpful to vary your intake, so some days can be lean and mean, and others can be more indulgent. ** Please note, I say cut back (to normal), not calorie restrict as you would with other diets. Intermittent Fasting requires that you refuel properly on non-fast days and eat normal amounts, which gives a good contrast to fast days and help keep your metabolism working normally.
  • Option 5. Avoid snacking. Make your 2 or 3 meals a day truly satisfying and nutritionally sound, so that you don’t need to top up between meals or afterwards. Snacks are often calorie dense and nutritionally poor, so ditching them can save lots of potential excess and leave room for adding some extra deliciousness to your meals – have a starter course instead of crisps, have a dessert instead of reaching for the sweets and so on.
  • Option 6. Cut out added sugar. Lots of prepared and packaged foods have hidden sugar that we really don’t need. If you make your own sauces, dressings, desserts and so on, you can easily avoid the unnecessary extras. Don’t be tempted to substitute with non-nutritive sweeteners, or even natural alternatives; it is better to let your palate become accustomed to less sweetness. Fruit is naturally sweet. Vanilla, Cinnamon and other spices can enhance the natural sweetness in our foods. Lots of root vegetables are naturally sweet too and the more you stay away from sugar, the more you will notice and appreciate them.
  • Option 7. Ditch highly refined foods. Refined foods like white rice, white pasta, white flour, white sugar and anything made from them, not only rack up your carb intake and spike your blood sugar, but for lots of people they cause bloating, inflammation and water retention. Cutting back on these sources of carbs can help enormously. Don’t be tempted to cut back on carbs too far, they are a much needed source of energy and you will end up feeling tired and cranky if you go too low. Aim for mostly low GI carbs and go for whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruits.
  • Option 8. Ditch processed and packaged foods. Go for fresh, seasonal, local and home-made whenever possible. You will know that what you eat is full of good ingredients and you can add liberal amounts of love while preparing your meal. Read the labels! Long lists of ingredients and unpronounceable names are a warning sign. Not all ready meals or packages are bad, but many of them make up for poor ingredients and short cuts with additives and fillers, plus ingredients and techniques to extend the shelf life, that rob the food of its intrinsic qualities. Home-made doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. Remember that 2 days a week you are eating less anyway, so your shopping bill should be lower and give you a bit of leeway for buying fresh, organic, good quality food and supporting local producers.
  • Option 9. Ditch the low fat and light products. It may seem counter-intuitive, but fat is not the enemy. Fat helps to add flavour, texture and satiety to many foods and lowers the glycemic load of carbs when eaten together. Better to eat a small amount of the real thing than something that has been modified with fillers, flavourings and sugar to make up for what has been removed. Yes, fat has a high calorific value, with 1 tsp of oil coming in at 40 calories, but there are plenty of techniques to help you make the most of using just a little. Use a little strong cheese, such as parmesan, some real butter, flavourful olive oil, rich seed oils, full fat greek yogurt and so on to enable your body to benefit from fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Option 10. Add Activity. Exercise alone is not a good way to lose weight, but as an addition to your Intermittent Fasting regime, it will make you feel good, boost your metabolism, firm up your flab, help you get into fat burning mode on a fast day and may stave off hunger. Many of us have found that a small amount of weight loss has made us feel a whole lot more enthusiastic about various exercise activities. So go for it! Do be aware that starting a new activity may temporarily increase your weight, as your muscles retain water to repair and grow. Stick with it and you will get the benefits.

I hope this has given you some ideas to encourage you to stick with fasting and to realise that maybe just a small tweak here and there may be all that is needed to make the difference between staying the same and seeing the scales going down…

This may seem more like following a ‘diet’ for a bit I guess, but the way I look at it, this is a way of eating, something you are going to follow for the rest of your life, so you may as well make some small, permanent changes that you can really live with, that will give you the results you want – and enable you to look and feel good.

 

Hand Guide to Portion Control

 

Breakfast ideas

There’s been a lot of buzz about high protein – low carb, especially since the BBC Horizon programme ‘What’s the Right Diet for You?’ recently. This programme explored some of the science behind why people put on weight and how they can best lose it. They divided a group of obese people into 3 types – Feasters, Constant Cravers and Emotional Eaters – and devised specific diets to suit them. 

Smoked Trout and Scrambled Egg _MG_3123 _MG_0303 Hot and Sour Chicken and Mushroom Soup

Each dieter underwent a series of scientific tests to find out the main reason for why they put on weight. The Constant Cravers have genes that mean they feel hungry all the time, the Feasters have a misfiring gut hormone that stops them from knowing when they’re feeling full. The final group, the Emotional Eaters, eat in response to stress.

They picked participants for the 8 week trial on the basis that they were quite strongly characteristic of one of the 3 types.  There is an online test which can help you to determine your own type. Most people actually are a combination of the 3 types to a greater or lesser degree and many people may not be significantly aligned with any of the types. The test can be found here http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z2csfg8, along with other related resources.

For the Feasters, a diet high in protein and low GI carbs, helps boost the lacking gut hormone and increases feelings of fullness

For the Constant Cravers, an Intermittent Fasting diet that restricts calories on two days a week, combined with very low carbohydrate intake on those days, helps to retrain the appetite and enables you to become more accustomed to not snacking or grazing.

For the Emotional Eaters, controlling intake by limiting high fat/high sugar foods and counting calories, combined with being part of a support group to help keep motivation levels high, is very helpful.

In my view, all the types will flourish by following an Intermittent Fasting diet (i.e 5:2), combined with limiting processed foods and cutting back on simple carbs such as sugar and white bread/pasta/rice. A diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, good fats and a variety of protein sources, with nuts and seeds, pulses and whole grains, is the way to go.

We have to be a little careful with the idea of high protein, as pointed out by Michael Mosley in ‘the fast diet’, as research shows that protein, and animal protein in particular, raises our levels of IGF-1, which is needed when you are young and growing but appears to accelerate ageing and cancer in later life. We should aim to keep our protein intake to within 0.8grams per kilo of body weight (per day) and aim to get as much as possible from plant based sources, says Prof Valter Longo. However, protein is very good at keeping you feeling full and so it is a very good choice for breakfast. 

So “revenons a nos moutons“, getting back to our sheep, or the main subject…. here are some ideas for sustaining breakfasts which have ample protein but are low in carbs or use low-GI carbs. I prefer not to have breakfast at all on a fast day, but I think it is a useful tactic when you are starting out with fasting and on any normal day it can stop you from reaching for the croissants mid-morning….

  • Get those little offcuts of smoked salmon and stir them into scrambled eggs… yum
  • How about going oriental and having a spicy broth with tofu?
  • Don’t forget nuts! Some oats soaked overnight in water with toasted chopped nuts and seeds and some fresh grated apple added in the morning makes a fab Bircher muesli
  • Make your own grunchy granola with whole rolled oats, wheat and rye flakes and add plenty of chopped hazelnuts. Stir in some honey or malt extract for a little sweetness and bake in the oven until golden. Then add in some luscious dried fruits. Serve it with natural yogurt.
  • Full fat greek yoghurt, with berries and nuts, or made into a smoothie with a banana 
  • Smoked salmon and cream cheese, on a thin slice of rye bread or crispbread
  • Cottage cheese with sliced pear and chopped walnuts
  • One of my favourites – wholewheat toast with almond butter
  • Another frequent one for us, as our chickens are producing so many – a boiled egg, I usually have it with a slice of wholewheat toast, but you could have asparagus spears to dip in for a low-carb alternative
  • egg and bacon, or egg and ham
  • bacon and mushrooms
  • smoked haddock with a poached egg
  • banana pancakes (banana whizzed up with an egg, made into scotch pancakes), use a little coconut oil or butter in the pan
  • veggie pops – grated pumpkin or squash with some parmesan cheese and ground almonds, mixed with a beaten egg, add some chilli or spice for variety and bake in silicone moulds or cupcake cases

I hope this helps you to avoid the elevenses….

Best possible start to your 5:2 journey….

Thousands of people like me have successfully taken up 5:2 Intermittent Fasting and succeeded in reaching a healthy weight, improving their health and reducing their risk of life shortening diseases.

But what if you are a little intimidated by the idea and not sure how best to get started?

Unlike other weight loss and diet programs, up to now 5:2 has been very much a thing for self-starters and there are a various websites, blogs, Facebook groups and forums where those following this way of eating have been discussing it and sharing their hints and tips. There is a lot of information and support, but it can be bewildering and confusing, especially if you are not accustomed to using social media.

Maybe you haven’t started yet or are ready to re-start after a lapse?

Now the people over at the FastDay forum have launched an exciting new online program designed to give you the best possible start and give you the resources that you need to help you succeed.

FastStart Program6 week FastStart program, beginning on January 15th

I observed the trial that was run before Christmas and was very impressed by the well-organised material and the resources made available to the participants.

If you would like to know more, pop on over to the FastDay site and visit The FastStart Program where you can read about it and reserve a place.

Anniversary 5:2 Meal Plan

Anniversary? Yes, I’ve been maintaining my weight on 5:2 for a year today!

Scotch Eggs with Light Coleslaw Griddled Courgette Salad _MG_2492

 

 

 

 

 

I was so thrilled to achieve my healthy weight target (55kgs for me, which is somewhere in the middle of the normal BMI range for my height and age) let June, but I am even more delighted to have been able to stay there. I gave myself a 2 kg range to stay within (53 – 55) and in the last year I have not gone below the bottom, and only temporarily very slightly over (like when I have been away on holiday and not fasted for a week).

So I thought it would be of interest to show you a typical menu plan for a week, bearing in mind that I have a TDEE of about 1300 without exercise, so I don’t have a lot of calories to play with, but I certainly eat well and pretty much what I want.

_MG_3346

 

 

 

 

 

Ok here’s my meal plan for the next week. It’s BBQ weather! I still have lots of strawberries, the cherries are ripening, artichokes are ready and the shops are starting to be full of summer fruits. Recipes for dishes in bold text are included in  5:2 Healthy Eating for Life, those in italics are in Focus on Flavour. Some recipes are new and once I have cooked them again and calorie counted them, I will share them with you.

  1. Friday
    • Ham, Egg and Chips
    • fresh fruit
    • Spanakopitta – spinach and feta filo triangles (recipe here)
    • Lemony Lamb Kebabs with Wholewheat Pita  (recipe here) and Greek Salad with Feta and Olives 
    • Homemade Strawberry ice cream drizzled with strawberry coulis and sprinkled with strawberry dust from my latest thing, dehydrated strawberries
  2. Saturday
    • Thin Crust Wholewheat Ham and Chorizo Pizza with Green Salad with Seeds
    • fresh fruit
    • Spring Rolls (if I am able to buy fresh beanshoots, I will make them myself)
    • Chicken Satay with Satay Sauce, cucumber, spring onion and carrot ribbons and Beanshoot Salad. Maybe a little rice to go with it
    • Cheesecake in Chocolate Cups with Strawberries
  3. Sunday
    • Globe Artichoke hearts with lemon juice and melted butter
    • Leftover pizza and salad
    • fresh fruit
    •  Out for dinner
  4. Monday – Fast Day
    • Harira style Soup (vegetables in a spicy tomato based broth) 125
    • Harissa-rubbed Chicken breast with vegetable accompaniments  250
    • Poached Spiced Cherries with Fromage Frais – 100
  5. Tuesday
    • Peppered Mackerel with Avocado, Cherry and Walnut Salad and Minted Beetroot Salad
    • fresh fruit
    • BBQ Sweetcorn
    • Moroccan style Chicken Kebabs with Kachumber Salad drizzled with argan oil, Wholewheat Maneesh (seedy flatbread) and yogurt with ginger
    • Poached Spiced Cherries with filo sesame wafers
  6. Wednesday 
    • A picnic of Oven Baked Scotch Eggs,  Black Pepper Chicken Sticks with Spicy Tomato Dipping Sauce and Light Coleslaw with Cherries
    • Strawberry Marshmallow Mousse
    • Chargrilled Courgette Salad (recipe here)
    • BBQ Toulouse Sausage with spicy Puy Lentil Salad
    • Cherry and Choc Chip Gelato
  7. Thursday – Fast Day
    • Italian Vegetable Soup – 124
    • Haddock in Saffron Sauce – 205 with cauliflower rice (recipe here)
    • Mocha Dessert – 87 with a few blueberries (recipe here)

Pizza

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • I usually start my day with two cups of tea (with soya milk as I don’t like dairy milk).
  • Breakfast on non-fast days is a plain yogurt with a few berries and one slice of wholewheat toast with almond butter and marmite; or two slices of toast. Black coffee. I don’t eat breakfast on fast days.
  • Mid morning on non-fast days I have a small capuccino made with soya milk. On fast days I have espresso.
  • Mid afternoon I have a herbal or ordinary tea.
  • While preparing dinner I have a glass of water kefir.
  • On non-fast days I do usually have wine.  As we often don’t eat dinner until 8pm or so, if I have a glass of wine before dinner, I will also have some nuts. At the weekend I enjoy having one or two pieces of dark chocolate after dinner, but I rarely think of chocolate these days!
  • I drink plenty of water and occasionally a glass of unsweetened lemon squash

I hope you have a great week! I’m looking forward to it…. 🙂

November 5:2 Weekly Meal Plan

The weather is decidely cooler and today I picked the last fig in our garden. Miraculously we didn’t have a frost in October this year to bring their development to a premature halt. 

I realise that we won’t be wanting to eat so much in the way of salads, so I am looking for some other ideas for our light lunches on normal days, and some warming meals for fast days and ordinary evening meals.

I’m looking to use the following seasonal ingredients: hazelnuts, walnuts, chestnuts, pumpkin, celeriac, brussels sprouts (tiny ones ready for tasting in the garden), parsnip, swiss chard, quince, apples, pears. There may still be some wild mushrooms to be had from the market.

So here’s the plan:-

Friday

lunch: ham, egg and chips (just a few, baked in the oven)
dinner with friends: Smoked salmon with gravadlax sauce and thinly sliced wholewheat bread; Duck breast with a maple syrup jus, celeriac and pumpkin paillasson (literally, doormats!), potato and garlic mash, beetroot relish; Apple and Quince filo layers with toasted hazelnuts, served with creme fraiche

Saturday

lunch: homemade pizza and salad
Strictly TV dinner – nachos; turkey chilli enchiladas; mojito cheesecake

Sunday

lunch: spicy pumpkin soup
dinner: nut loaf with oven baked vegetables, baby brussels sprouts and a wild mushroom sauce; upside down pear and ginger cake with custard

Monday – fast day

Thai style vegetable soup
pan fried red mullet with a puy lentil salad and coconut-lime sauce
apple and ginger compote with fromage blanc

Tuesday

lunch: leftover nut loaf with winter salad (beetroot, celery and apple)
dinner: rocket salad; Pumpkin Risotto with crispy sage leaves; upside down pear cake with walnut and maple syrup ice cream

Wednesday

lunch: french toast with grilled bacon and tomatoes
dinner: Pumpkin and Sausage casserole with stir-fried greens; plum and marzipan filo tartlets

Thursday – fast day

Bayonne wrapped pumpkin wedge; fish parcel with fennel; apple compote with fromage blanc

Summer Meal Plan for 5:2

The forecast is for it to be hot and sunny all this coming week, so looking to do lots of fresh salads, cooking on the BBQ, chilled desserts and making the most of summer vegetables and fruit.

Ok, off to the shops now, armed with my meal plan. I’ll see how close I can get!

Saturday

thin crust wholewheat pizza with salad
fresh melon and berries

melon with cucumber, goats cheese and sundried tomatoes
BBQ salmon skewers with chargrilled courgettes and new potatoes
cherry and choc chip gelato with cherry cinnamon coulis

Sunday

salad niçoise (tuna, anchovies, olives, tomatoes, egg) with sauté potatoes
melon and blueberries

lamb and apricot tagine with minted cous-cous
creme catalan au lavande

Monday – Fast Day

Fresh green salad with nuts and seeds
Griddled sardines with tomato and red onion salad
Peach and raspberry sundae (frozen fromage frais)

Tuesday

Gazpacho
Salad with charcuterie, toasted walnuts and roquefort
Nectarine

bean and coriander dip with taco chips
griddled chicken and peppers in a tortilla wrap (fajitas)
frozen lime and coconut dessert

Wednesday

piedmont stuffed peppers with puy lentil salad
frozen banana ‘ice cream’

chicken skewers with satay sauce and pickled cucumber, with pilau rice
baked stuffed peaches

Thursday –  fast day

summer minestrone
crustless courgette quiche with green beans almandine and cole slaw
fresh fruit salad with fromage blanc

Friday

leftover crustless quiche with salads
peaches with blue cheese and crackers

steak haché with sauce au poivre, french fries and mixed salad
apricot frangipani tart with creme fraiche

I’m normal! At least weight-wise….

After goodness knows how many years of being overweight, I have now achieved a major target – I am in the healthy, normal zone of BMI for my age and height! Thank you Michael Mosley for revealing the benefits of 5:2 to us! I really think that this has radically changed our lives for the better.

Not only do we look better, but we feel more energetic and have been able to tackle a major change of outlook. With the prospect of improving, rather than declining health, we are now considering moving aboard a barge and exploring the canals of Europe. Having lived on a yacht for several years in the Caribbean earlier this century, this isn’t such a major upheaval as it might seem for us, but before we can undertake such an activity, we need to sell our house, so this week I have spent time on creating a website for that http://houseinfrancewithincome.com/ – hence not much in the way of updates here!

But of course we are still eating healthy food and are planning to continue with the 5:2 way of life. I still have a couple of kilos to lose to get comfortably under 9 stone and well within the healthy BMI zone and Graham is finding that he is hovering around his target quite comfortably.

Here’s a few of the interesting and flavourful meals we have eaten this week. I’ve not had time to write up the recipes or check the calorie counts exactly, but I can assure you that these will all fit into a healthy, balanced meal plan designed to keep you slim 🙂 I hope they will inspire you  :-

Wholewheat Tagliatelle with Tenderstem Broccoli and Chilli

Wholewheat Tagliatelle with Tenderstem Broccoli and Chilli Flakes with Parmesan – based on recipe in Delicious magazine

Sticky Chicken with Rice and Sweetcorn

Sticky Chicken on a bed of stir-fried vegetables, with Camargue Red and Brown Rice with Sweetcorn and Satay Sauce

Scotch Eggs with Light Coleslaw

Oven Baked Scotch Eggs with Light Coleslaw

Flageolet, Pepper, Spring Onion and Guindilla Salad

Flageolet, Red Pepper, Spring Onion and Guindilla Pepper Salad

Crustless Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Quiche

Crustless Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Quiche with Cauliflower Mash

A duo of beetroot, celery and apple salads

A duo of beetroot, celery and apple salads with a tahini and yogurt dressing

Baked Fish with Caper Dressing and Salsa Brava

Baked Salmon with Caper Dressing and Salsa Brava

Pea, Lettuce and Sorrel Soup

Pea, Lettuce and Sorrel Soup

Stuffed Pancakes au Gratin with a fagot of asparagus

Stuffed Crepes with a cheesy sauce, with a fagot of asparagus and a fennel, radish and rocket salad

 

If you do find inspiration from my blog, the best way I can think of for you to say thank you, would be to help support the sweet granddaughter of my closest childhood friend. Little Lexi Sky was born with muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy and has a difficult life ahead of her. She requires 24 hour care and equipment that is not covered by the NHS. Any donations would be so gratefully received, thank you.  Please go to http://tinyurl.com/LexiSky

5:2 Meal Plan – a springtime Mediterranean meander

As usual I have more ideas than days in the week! I’m still much inspired by Meditteranean flavours, from Morocco to the Middle East

I have a little more rhubarb to harvest and am expecting to find better asparagus this week. Not sure what else my trip to the market will bring, hopefully some broad beans….

Rhubarb

Saturday – a Middle Eastern evening

Paul Hollywood’s flatbread and the recipe that John Torode cooked on Masterchef this week looked great, so we will have a middle-eastern inspired evening

  • Baba Ganoush with Sesame Flatbread
  • Lamb Cutlets with Skordalia and a Beetroot and Jalapeno relish
  • Honey and Walnut Ice Cream, with Apple and Quince Filo wafers

 

Sunday – leave room for the chocolate!

  • Asparagus with shaved Parmesan 
  • Spatchcocked Herby Chicken with Spring Vegetables
  • Apple and Blackberry Filo cups

Broad BeansMonday – Fast Day

  • Scrambled Egg
  • fresh Asparagus and Lemon soup
  • Light Chicken Caesar Salad (using leftover chicken) 
  • Rhubarb Compote with Cardamom Custard 

Swiss Chard 

Tuesday – Seasonal Treats

  • Fennel and Citrus salad with Sheep’s Cheese
  • Smoked Mackerel with Horseradish dressing, with Broad Bean and Lentil salad
  • Rhubarb and Strawberry Meringue pots (using leftover rhubarb)

 

 

 

CarrotsWednesday – Morrocan spicing to the fore

  • Asparagus and Chickpea Salad
  • Chicken Tagine with preserved Lemons and Green Olives, Herbed Cous-cous
  • Plum and Almond Frangipane

Thursday – Fast Day Italiano

  • Scrambled Egg with Parma Ham 
  • Spring Minestrone Soup 
  • Baked Fish and Vegetables with Gremolata
  • Raspberry Pannacotta

Asparagus

 

Friday – exploring the Maghreb

  • Sweet Potato and Ginger Brik parcels
  • Moroccan Meatballs with Minted Bulgur Wheat
  • Cumin and Coriander Carrot Salad
  • Sliced Oranges with Dates and Pistachios
 
I’ve now updated last week’s meal plan with photos and calorie counts – do take a look, it was a really yummy and delicious menu  – if we can eat like that and still lose weight, then it looks like we really can stick with this way of life. I certainly feel that way and don’t ever want to see those 9 kilos again, thank you! Bye-bye, you’re no longer needed 🙂
 
Great news this week, that Kate Harrison is going to include one of my recipes in her new 5:2 Diet Recipe book. It should be published in the next couple of months. More news and link once available.