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)

Spicy Chickpea and Spinach Soup – 150 kcals per serving

Here’s a warming and satisfying soup that works well for a fast day or as a lunch or supper any day. This one is is my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life (available on Amazon worldwide in print or kindle editions).  

Spicy Chickpea and Spinach Soup

I used sunflower oil for sautéing the onions, but coconut oil would be great for this. You can vary the green vegetables according to what’s available – I’m going to try this next time with some of my home-grown kale. You could use any canned beans, but I love the almost nutty flavour of chickpeas. For a non-fast day a swirl of coconut cream on top and some slivers of toasted coconut would be lovely.

Spicy Chickpea and Spinach Soup

Serves 4

  • 1/2 tbsp sunflower oil 60 kcals
  • 1 onion, chopped 44 kcals
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped 4 kcals
  • 2.5 cm root ginger, finely grated 9 kcals
  • 1/2 fresh green chilli, finely chopped 4 kcals
  • 1 litre vegetable stock 24 kcals
  • 2 large carrots, chopped 58 kcals
  • 400g can of chickpeas, drained 339 kcals
  • 150g spinach leaves, washed and shredded 35 kcals

For the garam masala

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds 8 kcals
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds 5 kcals
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric 4 kcals
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper 3 kcals
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder 3 kcals
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 3 kcals

Heat the oil in heavy pan over low-medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli for a few minutes, until the onion starts to become translucent and soft.

Add the garam masala and cook for another couple of minutes, until the spices are fragrant – add a splash of water if necessary to stop them burning.

Add the stock and carrots, bring to the boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or so until the carrots are tender.

Add the chickpeas and then whizz a little with a stick blender, making sure to leave some nice chunky bits.

Add the spinach and cook for a few more minutes until the spinach is wilted.

Serve in warmed bowls.

Per serving: kcals 150
Carbs 23g Fat 4g Protein 7g

 

Smoked Haddock and Cauliflower Gratin – 350 calories

Smoked Haddock and Cauliflower GratinWe really enjoy tasty smoked haddock on a fast day, but were getting just a tad bored with the same old simple wilted spinach, smoked haddock and poached egg that we have had so often.

IMG_1810IMG_1815So I looked online for some inspiration and found an interesting recipe on BBC Good Food, from which I developed this fast day friendly version.  Using cauliflower on top of the spinach and fish turns this into a complete meal.

Choosing a strongly flavoured cheese like parmesan means that you can use a lot less but get a fantastic flavour. 

This got the thumbs up from us both and I will definitely be making it again!

For a vegetarian version, you could use smoked tofu, which would have a similar balance of flavours. But I also think that it would be lovely with a couple of big mushrooms each and maybe some chopped walnuts in the topping and some extra cheese. 

 

 

 

Smoked Haddock and Cauliflower Gratin
Serves 2
A fast day friendly fish gratin! Totally delicious and satisfying, a one-dish meal. the cauliflower makes an excellent alternative to potatoes.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 200g leaf spinach
  2. 2g butter (a trace)
  3. 170g smoked haddock, skinned and cut into 2 portions
  4. 1 large tomato, cut into 8 wedges
  5. ¼ cauliflower, cut into florets
For the topping
  1. 100ml creme fraiche
  2. juice ½ lemon
  3. 20g parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  4. ½ red onion, finely sliced
  5. a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  6. 1 tbsp dried breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180c Fan.
  2. Lightly grease a shallow oven proof dish.
  3. Put the cauliflower florets in a saucepan of boiling water to cover and simmer until just tender.
  4. Put the spinach in a colander and gently pour over hot water from a kettle to wilt it.
  5. Freshen under cold water and then squeeze out as much water as possible.
  6. Roughly chop the spinach and spread over the bottom of the oven dish.
  7. Lay the haddock fillets over the top and tuck the tomato pieces around them.
  8. Drain the cauliflower florets and distribute evenly over the top.
  9. Season well with black pepper.
  10. Mix together the cream, lemon juice, parmesan and onion with some freshly grated nutmeg.
  11. Spread over the top of the cauliflower.
  12. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
  13. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until the topping starts to turn golden.
  14. Serve at once.
Adapted from BBC Good Food
Adapted from BBC Good Food
Focus on Flavour http://www.focusonflavour.com/

Spanakopitta – Spinach and Feta Filo Pastries

These spinach and feta pastries are a delicious treat for any day of the week!

Spanakopitta is a Greek name for spinach and cheese pastries.

Spanakopitta and Salad

Because filo pastry is fat free, you can get the lovely crispness of pastry without loads of calories.

Spanakopitta

They are not difficult to make as individual triangles, but if you prefer you could make one large pie using the four sheets of pastry overlapping each other.

_MG_0317_MG_0306_MG_0331_MG_0332 _MG_0335 _MG_0336 

Spanakopitta - Spinach and Feta Filo Pastries
Serves 4
Filo triangles stuffed with spinach and feta cheese
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 sheets filo pastry
  2. 2 cups spinach leaves
  3. 2 shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
  4. 100g feta cheese, chopped or crumbled
  5. 1 tblsp coriander leaves, chopped
  6. 1 egg, beaten
  7. Pinch of nutmeg
  8. Freshly ground black pepper
  9. 1 tblsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 200c.
  2. Heat 1/2 tblsp oil in a frying pan and gently sauté the shallots or onion until softened but not coloured.
  3. Wash the spinach well and put into a saucepan with the water that clings to it.
  4. Cover and cook gently until tender.
  5. Strain through a sieve, pressing out all the liquid, then turn out onto a board and chop roughly.
  6. Add the shallots, feta cheese, beaten egg, coriander leaves, freshly grated nutmeg and black pepper and mix well.
  7. Work with one single sheet of filo pastry at a time, keeping the remainder wrapped up.
  8. Cut the sheet of pastry into 4 equal strips.
  9. Add a spoonful of spinach mixture at one end and turn into triangles.
  10. Put onto a lightly oiled baking sheet.
  11. Continue until the mixture is used up - should make 16.
  12. Brush the outside of the pastries very lightly with olive oil.
  13. Bake for about 10 minutes until golden.
Notes
  1. Serve with a mixed salad with black olives.
  2. Each Spanakopitta is 50 calories (kcals). A serving of 4 with mixed salad and a balsamic dressing would be under 250 kcals.
Focus on Flavour http://www.focusonflavour.com/

 

Mixed Salad with Olives

Made with Love Mondays, hosted by Javelin Warrior