5:2 diet meal plans: What to eat for 500 calorie fast days

Everything you need to know about the 5:2 diet including how it works and what you can eat too...
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  • Our 5:2 diet meal plans are easy to follow and are full of inspiration and delicious dishes to help keep you on track while on the 5:2 diet.

    Our 5:2 diet meal plans below will help guide you through this new way of eating.  Being on a diet doesn’t mean missing out on your favourite treats.

    We’ve got lots of low calorie versions of classic meals including curry, stir-fries, sandwiches and more.

    What is the 5:2 diet?

    In short, the 5:2 diet is a part-time diet. It means that you can eat normally for five days of the week, and fast for just two. As you can imagine, this has huge appeal for many people who don’t like the idea of being on a diet full time and not being able to enjoy a good feed from time to time.

    On your two fasting days, you can only eat 500 calories per day of your recommended 2000. Because of the very low intake of calories on these two days, it’s recommended that you spread them out, rather than do them consecutively.

    The diet works by limiting your calorie intake to just 25 per cent of your usual intake, but only for two days of the week, which still delivers results.

    How does the 5:2 diet work?

    It’s simple. For two days each week, you eat no more than 500 calories. The other five days, you eat normally. That’s it! You should lose around 1.5lb a week – more if you have 
a lot of weight to lose.

    The two days fasting also helps you to 
eat normally on other days. Simply carry on with the plan, using 5:2 diet meal plans, until you’ve achieved the weight you’re happy with. At this point, you can maintain your weight 
by having a 500-calorie day once a week. Read on for details of what to eat (and when).

    On the days you eat normally, you should be aiming for around 2,000 calories 
a day, but don’t worry if you have a blow out, such as going out for a meal and/or drinks, 
a couple of times a week.
 Your 500-calorie days will help to stabilise your insulin levels and hunger. You should find your appetite is smaller 
on normal days, so you won’t have to work so hard to stay around the 2,000 calorie mark.

    Is the 5:2 Diet healthy?

    Fans of the 5:2 Diet say that not only will it help you to lose weight but that it can increase life-span and protect against diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. However, fasting can have some nasty side effects, noteably, dizziness, lack of energy, irritability, headaches and trouble sleeping, so make sure you’re prepared for this!

    While it’s thought that the 5:2 Diet can also help to prevent type 2 diabetes, it is not suitable for people who already have diabetes, who need to regulate their sugar levels.

    What and when can I eat on the 5:2 Diet?

    While the calorie restrictions are strict on the two days spent fasting, the diet is actually very flexible. It’s up to you what you eat on your fast days, as long as it comes in at no more than 500 calories for the whole day. You will need to be committed and pretty strong willed as you’re cutting your calorie intake by 3/4, but if you keep busy and plan what you’re going to eat – it’s definitely achievable.

    You can eat whatever you like, but the below foods are some of the most sensible as they’re low in calories so you can eat more throughout the day than if you eat smaller, high calorie foods:

    You can split your 500 calories as you wish, into just one meal, two, or three, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner – but the healthiest way is to eat little and often throughout the day.

    While it’s allowed, filling up on a croissant at breakfast will use up most of your calorie allowance and you’ll be starving for the rest of the day. Experiment a little with what times work well for you on your fasting days. You might find skipping breakfast and having 2 small meals for lunch and dinner works well for you. Or having a larger, more satisfying meal in the evening and a few snacks during the day might be better – it’s really down to personal preference.

    What can I drink on the 5:2 diet?

    Plenty of water! You can drink as much water as you like, and you should aim to drink as much as possible during your fasting days, it’ll keep you hydrated, and may help you to stave off hunger for a little longer.

    You’ll need to watch out for drinks with milk in, as these will use up calories that could be otherwise put towards a meal.

    Can you exercise on 5.2 diet?

    You can still exercise on the 5:2 diet meal plan too – and in fact, you should. Exercising on 500 calories a day might sound daunting, but it can speed up weight loss and improve overall health and fitness. Some people even find that exercise alleviates hunger pangs.

    Research shows fasting has no negative effects on the ability to 
do moderate activity. Even so, it’s important to listen to your body.

    Also, doing cardio can help your body tap into its fat stores, and maximise the benefit of your fasting days.
 High intensity interval training (HIIT) could be your best choice (check with your GP if in doubt), as short bursts of intense exercise have been shown to be hugely effective, with the fat burning lasting for hours after the workout is finished. 
HIIT can be as simple as sprinting 
in short spurts while jogging. And try saving some calories until after your workout. The thought of 
a tasty meal will keep you going!

    5:2 diet meal plans: What to eat for 500 calorie fast days

    We’ve got 27 days covered for your 5:2 diet, breakfast lunch and dinner ideas are all below – Plus, the best bit? All days come in under 500 calories!

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 1

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: Start your day with 2 Rye Ryvitas and spread with 2tsp Marmite. Calories so far: 90.

    Lunch: Make soup your choice of lunch with a can of Weight Watchers’ filling Chicken, Potato & Leek soup (96 cals). As lunch is low cal, you have room for another snack, and a Sun-Maid Mini-Box (42 cals) is a great choice. Calories so far: 228

    Dinner: You still have quite a few calories for today, so tuck in to our tasty chicken tikka masala (136 cals),  two Jaffa Cakes for pud (90cals).

    Total intake for whole day without snacks = 454 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 2

    Breakfast: Top 25g of low-fat Greek yoghurt with two chopped apricots. Calories so far: 68.

    Lunch: Tesco’s Broccoli and Stilton soup (140 cals) is a great option as you can still get a cheese fix. Calories so far: 228.

    Dinner: Fusilli makes this Lemon and chicken stir fry rice (204 cals) super filling.

    Total intake for whole day = 500 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 3

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: Give a slice of white bread a kick – toast it and top with half a teaspoon of cinnamon. Calories so far: 91.

    Lunch: Mushroom soup keeps lunch healthy and Knorr’s version (106 cals) means you’ll have more calories to use up for snacks. For a sweet afternoon treat, have two Jaffa cakes (90 cals). Calories so far: 287.

    Dinner: One all the family will enjoy, a serving of this spicy pepper pulled pork comes in at 290 calories.

    Total intake for whole day = 491 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 4

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: Start the day off with a Muller Light Strawberry yoghurt (89cals). Calories so far = 89.

    Lunch: Heinz Weight Watchers Tomato Soup is just 76cals, and if you need a bit more filling up try munching on two rice cakes (70cals). Calories so far = 255.

    Dinner: Low calorie doesn’t mean tasteless! We love these cornflake chicken dippers that are just 257cals.

    Total intake for the whole day = 492 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 5

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: A medley of a banana (90cals), 25 blueberries (20cals) and a kiwi (46cals) Calories so far = 156

    Lunch: Young’s Cod Steak in Parsley Sauce (101cals) is perfect. Eat it on a bed of 60grams of lettuce (8cals). Calories so far = 261

     Dinner: Try our hunger-busting veggie balti to fight off the fasting blues! (131cals) and two and a half rice cakes (100cals).

    Total intake for the whole day = 496 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 6

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: Kickstart the morning with a mini bagel – halve and toast, spread each side with 2tsp of low fat cream cheese. Calories so far: 96 cals

    Lunch: Chunky soups are a great way to fill you up at lunch, whilst still keeping the calorie count low. We love a bowl of Weight Watchers from Heinz Tuscan Minestrone soup (129 cals). Calories so far: 225.

    Dinner: Creamy chicken kormas aren’t off the menu, as our version is low cal at (240cals) with 25 blueberries for dessert (20cals).

    Total intake for the whole day = 485 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 7

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: A banana (90cals) is ideal for breakfast on the go and will give you plenty of energy for the rest of the day. Calories so far = 9

    Lunch: Low calorie foods don’t have to be boring. Pop to Prêt and grab a Simple Tuna Salad (170cals) and two rice cakes (70cals). Calories so far = 240.

    Dinner: Try whipping up a low cal mushroom ragu with courgetti (103cals) and 25 blueberries for dessert (20cals).

    Total intake for the whole day= 453 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 8

    Breakfast: Make a fruity concoction with a strawberry and almond yoghurt, using 25g Greek Style yoghurt, 50g strawberries and 4g ground almonds. Calories so far: 75.

    Lunch: For lunch, rustle up our Roasted veg chilli (190 calories). Calories so far: 265

    Dinner: For dinner, it’s a Roast cod and parma ham (228 calories).

    You’re left with 41 calories, so why not choose a snack from our low cal treats to take you up to 500?

    Total intake for the whole day minus snacks = 463 calories

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 9

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: Start off the day with an omelette with two eggs, 50grams of red pepper and 50grams of onion (156cals). Calories so far = 156.

    Lunch: A sachet of miso soup (14cals) will warm you up, and try snacking on two carrot sticks (50cals). Calories so far = 220.

    Dinner: Lean meats are perfect for a low calorie diet. Try a small sirloin steak with 200grams of mixed lettuce salad. Drizzle with some lemon for extra flavour (275cals) Total intake for the whole day = 495 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 10

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: Enjoy a medley of 100g hulled sliced strawberries, 100g cubed watermelon and 50g halved seedless grapes. Calories so far: 88.

    Lunch: Tuck into Sainsbury’s Be Good to Yourself Cous Cous & Chargrilled Vegetable pot (127 cals) and 25 blueberries (20cals) Calories so far: 235.

    Dinner: Filling and delicious, make this Butternut squash and spinach tortilla (199cals) for dinner. As a final treat to end the day, grab your spoon and enjoy a serving of Hartley’s Sugar Free Raspberry Jelly (10 cals).

    Total intake for whole day: 444.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 11

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: Get fruity with a 75g low fat peach yogurt and top with 30g raspberries. Calories so far: 100.

    Lunch: Make our flavoursome Spanish style sizzling prawns (171 cals) the night before and heat up for lunch. Calories so far: 271.

    Dinner: Make fish the dish of the day with our Chinese vegetable chow mein (170 cals).

    You’ve still got 50 calories to use up on low-cal drinks and snacks – take a look at our gallery of guilt-free snacks.

    Total intake for the whole day without snacks: 441.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 12

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: Grab a banana and give it a sweet kick with ½ tsp of honey. Calories so far: 95.

    Lunch: For lunch, enjoy our prawn and pickled cucumber salad which is one salad that guarantees to fill you up (100 cals). Calories so far: 195

    Dinner: In the evening, enjoy our spring chicken traybake (273 calories).

    Total intake for the whole day = 468 calories

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 13

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: Begin your day with a bowl of porridge with a sweet maple syrup topping. Put 20g porridge oats in a bowl with 2tbsp water and 2tbsp skimmed milk. Microwave on high for 1 min 20 secs until the oats are tender and then stir in 1tsp maple syrup. Calories so far: 100

    Lunch: For lunch on the go, opt for Tesco’s Healthy Living Chicken Noodle Soup in a Mug (44 cals) and one Salt & Vinegar Snack a Jacks Rice Cake (41 cals). Calories so far: 185.

    Dinner: Our  delicious Thai curried noodles is a great dinner option (307 cals).

    Total intake for the whole day = 492 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 14

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: Using egg whites for an omelette is a great way to cut calories. Use 3 egg whites, 80g mushrooms and 80g spinach. Calories so far: 60.

    Lunch: You can afford to treat yourself, as Sainsbury’s tabbouleh salad (147 cals) is indulgent but still low-cal. Snack on 50g of blueberries in the afternoon (28 cals). Calories so far = 235.

    Dinner: This Morroccan root tagine with cous cous (238 cals) beats a takeaway.

    Total intake for whole day: 492 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 15

    Breakfast: Start the day with a fruit medley of 1 kiwi, 1 medium satsuma and 25g low-fat Greek yoghurt. Calories so far: 101.

    Lunch: Go veg heavy with this roasted veg ratatouille  (150 cals) and snack on a packet of Weight Watchers salt and vinegar Crinkle Crisps in the afternoon (78 cals). Calories so far: 329.

    Dinner: Speedy and super low in calories, this baked aubergine dish is only 81 cals per portion.

    Total intake for whole day = 410 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 16

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: Kickstart your day with a banana at 90 calories. Calories so far = 90

    Lunch: Pick up a Beetroot and Cheese Salad from Waitrose for the ultimate crispy and chunky fix at 172 calories. Calories so far = 262.

    Dinner: This super-easy chicken tikka masala is also surprisingly good for you at 130 calories a portion – and with a Weight Watchers mini naan (108cals) you can get your carb fix too!

    Total intake for the day = 500 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 17

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: Start off the day with a hard-boiled egg (78 calories) and a satsuma (25 calories) as an elevenses snack. Calories so far = 103.

    Lunch: Take half of Weight Watcher’s Mediterranean Veg Quiche (156 calories), and a Tesco side salad (12 calories) for a midday meal to give you a real energy-boost. Calories so far = 178

    Dinner: Soup for dinner might not sound very filling, but this lovely carrot soup  (103 calories), served with two toasted crumpets, no butter but with light sprinkle of grated cheese (200cals) will leave you feeling full – perfect!

    Total intake for the day = 481 calories

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 18

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: hard boiled egg (78cals) and 25 blueberries (20cals)  Calories so far = 98.

    Lunch: Half of Sainsbury’s Creamy Vegetable Soup is a super healthy option at only 53 calories. Calories so far = 151.

    Dinner: Warming, chunky, delicious and easy – what’s not to love about this super filling veggie pie especially when it’s 327 calories per portion?

    Total intake for the day = 478 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 19

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: Perfect to grab on the go, an Alpen Fruit and Nut Bar starts your day off at 109 calories. Calories so far = 109

    Lunch: Make your midday meal a filling one with a slice of toasted rye bread with a small can of reduced sugar and salt baked beans at 195 calories. Calories so far = 304.

    Dinner: Forget a Thai takeaway and try this green miso noodle bowl instead. At just 198cals it’s your better option by a mile!

    Total intake for the whole day = 502 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 20

    Breakfast: Chocolate for brekkie isn’t as awful as it sounds. A Tesco white chocolate and strawberry cereal bar comes in at just 85 calories.

    Lunch: Pack a fiery punch at lunchtime with Tesco’s Chilli Chicken Noodle Salad at 195 calories. Calories so far = 280.

    Dinner: Curries aren’t completely off the menu if you’re trying to be good as this veggie balti curry is just 131 calories with two rice cakes (70cals).

    Total intake for the whole day = 481 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 21

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: Start the day off to a warming start with a sachet of Tesco’s Micro Oats. It’s speedy and healthy at 105 calories. If you fancy a mid-morning snack, opt for a fruity Weight Watchers citrus yoghurt at 60 calories. Calories so far =165.

    Lunch: You can’t beat a classic tomato soup, and Heinz’s Cream of Tomato Reduced Salt comes in at a light 115 calories. Calories so far = 280.

    Dinner: This delicious mushroom ragu with courgetti is a great choice at 103 calories, you would even treat yourself to a small glass of wine (120mls) for 80 calories.

    Total intake for the whole day = 463 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 22

    Breakfast: Melba toast is great when you’re on a diet. Try having two pieces of Melba toast each covered in one tablespoon of Philadelphia Light & Healthy Cream Cheese (48cals each). Calories so far = 98 calories.

    Lunch: One mini Quorn Sausage Roll (48cals) will stop you from missing comfort foods. Serve with a salad made up of 30grams of spinach (7cals), 4 cherry tomatoes (16 cals) and a medium cucumber (24cals). Calories so far = 193.

    Dinner: This Vietnamese prawn curry (192cals) will only take 15 minutes to make, add a Weight Watchers mini naan (103cals) for an extra kick of carbs.

    Total intake for the whole day = 488 calories

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 23

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: Boiled egg (78cals) and a pear (100cals). Calories so far = 178

    Lunch: Home made tomato and lentil soup (123cals) is super easy to make. Simply use 150grams of red lentils, vegetable stock, garlic, ginger and spices and one can of tinned tomatoes. This will make four servings so you don’t need to worry about lunch on fasting days for a while! Calories so far = 301

    Dinner: A quick and easy Mediterranean veg chilli (190cals) is perfect after a long day!

    Total intake for the whole day = 491 calories

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 24

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: Try starting off the day with a hard-boiled egg (78cals). If you’re after a mid -morning snack, have a satsuma (21cals). Calories so far = 99.

    Lunch: If you’re craving carbs, have a small jacket potato topped with 50grams of cottage cheese (198cals). Calories so far = 297.

    Dinner: This bun-less fast fish burger (141cals) will fill you up in the evening, and gives you enough spare calories for a sweet treat! Try swapping pudding for one Walls Mini Milk (30cals).

    Total intake for the whole day = 468 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 25

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: a 100gram serving of Onken’s fat free raspberry and honey yoghurt (79cals) will give you a sweet start to the day. Calories so far = 79.

    Snack: A serving of Saitaku Miso Soup (14cals) will leave you enough calories for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. If you’re missing crisps, try snacking on a packet of Walkers salt and vinegar French Fries (97cals). Calories so far = 190.

    Dinner: Pork pittas and mango salsa (222cals) and a small (120ml) glass of wine (80cals) will make dinner time a little more exciting!

    Total intake for the whole day = 492 calories.

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 26

    5:2 diet recipes

    Breakfast: for a sweet fix try having one crumpet with a teaspoon of honey (100cals) and 20 raspberries (20cals). Calories so far = 120

    Lunch: Enjoy a Love Life You Count Tamarind Duck Lettuce Wrap from Waitrose (86cals). Calories so far = 206.

    Dinner: This zingy rice and prawn salad is the perfect healthy, filling dinner (225cals).

    Total intake for the whole day = 499 calories

    Recipes for 5.2 meal plan – Day 27

    Breakfast: A 36g serving of Quaker’s porridge made with 180ml skimmed milk (216cals) will keep you going throughout the day. Calories so far = 216.

    Lunch: You can still enjoy small treats on fasting days! Try having one McCain oven baked pizza finger (78cals) with a side of Tesco’s green side salad (12cals). If you need a sweet fix, have one party ring (29cals) Calories so far = 335.

    Dinner: Sticking to 500 calories is a great way to get in your 5 a day. Try this  spiced butternut squash and veg tagine  (150cals) for a healthy end to the day.

    Total intake for the whole day = 485 calories.

    The best 5:2 diet recipe books

    Despite all these ideas for 5:2 diet meal plans, staying creative with what you eat on the diet can sometimes be tricky. If you want to find out more about the 5:2 diet or what you can make, nothing beats an old school recipe book.

    We’ve rounded up some of the best 5:2 diet cookbooks out there including The Fast Diet Recipe Book: 150 Delicious, Calorie-controlled Meals to Make Your Fasting Days Easy, The Simple 5 Ingredient Skinny Slow Cooker Recipe Book and Pinch of Nom Everyday Light: 100 Tasty, Slimming Recipes All Under 400 Calories.

    Have a look at these 5:2 diet recipe books for more inspiration.