Lots of people ask what they should eat on Fast Days.
There are no restrictions as such, but it is helpful to stick to low-GI foods and avoid refined carbohydrates. Protein is great for making you feel full and keeping you satisfied and veggies provide lots of bulk without a lot of calories. So most of our fast days are based on that. I prefer to save all my calories for an evening meal – skipping breakfast seems to make no difference to how hungry I feel during the day, and I get the added benefits of an overall fasting time of about 24 hours without eating – more cell repair time and more fat-burning time!
I get into a bit of a rut sometimes, eating more or less the same things which are quick to prepare and I know work – but I have lots of ideas in my recipe book and a lot of strawberries to use, so here’s what I’m planning for tomorrow.
- Spring Minestrone – 150 kcals
- Masala Baked Haddock – 162 kcals
- Kachumber Salad – 45 kcals
- Strawberries with a spoonful of creme fraiche – 60 kcals
There’s enough calories left for a cup of tea to start the day and a cup of hot bouillon somewhere around lunchtime. I may add a drizzle of argan oil to the salad, since I brought some back from Morocco, it is a great addition to this. Recipes below, which can also be found in my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life.
For me, broad beans and asparagus are star ingredients when they are in season. Just a spoonful of crème fraîche and some basil oil gives this soup some extra va va voom and transforms a simple vegetable soup into something luxurious.
- 1 tbsp olive oil 120 kcals
- 1 leek, chopped quite small 56 kcals
- 1 litre vegetable stock, made with 2 tsp vegetable bouillon 24 kcals
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 4 kcals
- 250g green asparagus, trimmed, cut in 1cm slices 52 kcals
- 250g shelled broad beans 212 kcals
- 1 tbsp half fat crème fraîche 24 kcals
- 1 tsp basil oil (or pesto) 16 kcals
- 25g freshly grated Parmesan 80 kcals
Heat olive oil and cook leek gently until soft.
Add stock and garlic and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add remaining vegetables and simmer for a further 5 – 7 minutes.
Stir in crème fraîche and pesto.
Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.
Per serving: kcals 150
Carbs 14g Fat 7g Protein 10g
Masala Baked Haddock
I came across this idea when watching Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey. The first time I tried it I found it far too mustardy and bitter, but the idea of coating a piece of white fish with a masala paste and topping it with onions, then wrapping it in foil or baking paper to cook in the oven won me over. So I have now adapted it and am much happier with the result.
You can make the masala paste in a blender or you can pound it in a pestle and mortar.
This will be good with any firm white fish.
- 250g haddock or cod fillets 200 kcals
- 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
- Some red or green chilli, sliced (optional)
For the Masala
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds 16 kcals
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 4 kcals
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder 2 kcals
- 2 tsp sunflower oil 80 kcals
- 1/2 onion, sliced 22 kcals
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric 4 kcals
- 1 clove garlic, crushed 4 kcals
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
Preheat the oven to 180c (fan)
Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry all the masala ingredients until the onions soften and start to colour, adding a splash of water if needed to stop it sticking.
Blend into a paste, using a food processor or pestle and mortar.
Put the fish in the centre of a piece of foil or baking paper and smother with the paste.
Top with some slices of red onion and maybe a few slices of red or green chilli.
Wrap the parcels and fold over the edges securely.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets, until just cooked through.
Per serving: kcals 162
Carbs 4g Fat 5g Protein 24g
This is the perfect salad to go with spicy Indian style food and introduces the idea of adding spice seeds to enhance everyday ingredients. This goes perfectly with the Masala Baked Haddock (page 94).
- 100g baby plum tomatoes, halved or quartered 22 kcals
- 1/2 red onion, finely sliced 22 kcals
- 1/2 small cucumber, peeled and sliced 22 kcals
- 1/2 lime, juice only 5 kcals
- 1/2 tsp cumin seed 4 kcals
- 1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
- sea salt
Toast the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan, shaking frequently, until they become fragrant but before they burn.
While the seeds cool, arrange the vegetables on a serving dish.
Crumble a little sea salt over the top and scatter the seeds and coriander leaf over.
Per serving: kcals 45
Carbs 11g Fat 0g Protein 1g