Fast Diet recipes – day 1

Fast Diet recipes – day 1

Breakfast: Apricot and ginger porridge (201 calories)

Lunch: Butterbean, tomato and parsley salad (166 calories)

Dinner: Fava bean puree with chard (192 calories); Mandarin jelly (39 calories)

= 598 calories

Ok, so at the moment I’m on the 5:2 diet for men – I’m having trouble getting the 600 calorie day down to the prescribed 500 calories for women, but it’s a start! I have a feeling that if I put all my calories into one meal, I’m going to be more open to temptation throughout the rest of the day, so for now at least I’m going to do my best to make 3 well-balanced, tasty, nutritious meals a day that come in around 200 calories each.


Apricot and ginger porridge

My thought behind this was that when breakfast is small, you need to make it work hard to fill you up. I’m afraid there’s not much you can do to make porridge look pretty in the photo (without a big swirl of cream and a sprinkle of crunchy sugar…. stop it!), but the apricots and ginger give it plenty of flavour and just enough sweetness.

201 calories per portion

40 g Rude Health oatmeal (152 cal)

2 dried apricots (26 cal)

½ piece stem ginger, drained of syrup (23 cal)

  • Bring 150 ml of water to the boil in a saucepan, then add the oatmeal and a pinch of fine sea salt.
  • Finely chop the apricots and stem ginger and add them to the pan.
  • Simmer the porridge over a low heat for 5 – 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little more water if it starts to get too thick.
  • Turn off the heat, cover the pan and leave the porridge to stand for 1 minute before serving.


Butterbean, tomato and parsley salad

This is a handy packed-lunch recipe that will survive well when made the night before. You really don’t miss the oil in the dressing and feel like you’ve eaten a substantial meal.

166 calories per serving

100 g tinned butterbeans, drained (85 cal)

1 spring onion, thinly sliced (4 cal)

180 g fresh ripe tomatoes, diced (29 cal)

4 olives stuffed with anchovies, sliced (33 cal)

1 pickled chilli, chopped (1 cal)

5 g (a few sprigs) flat leaf parsley, chopped (1 cal)

½ tsp Dijon mustard (3 cal)

½ tsp runny honey (10 cal)

  • Mix the beans with the spring onion, tomatoes, olives, chilli and parsley.
  • Stir the mustard and honey together then add enough cold water to make a spoonable dressing (approx. 1 – 2 tsp).
  • Drizzle the dressing over the salad and season to taste with salt and pepper.


Fava bean puree with chard

This recipe was inspired by one of my favourite Pugliese recipes, fave e cicoria. The obvious difference with this recipe is the omission of all that olive oil, but it turns out not to be as conspicuous by its absence as you might think. The puree is full of flavour and the dried split broad beans do a good job of filling you up. The final flourish of balsamic vinegar isn’t traditional, but adds a sweet depth of flavour that punches well above its 7 calorie weight. Having made it once, my advice would be to make 4 – 6 portions in one go and freeze the rest as the 2 hour cooking time seems a little extravagant for just one meal.

Makes 2 portions

189 calories per serving


75 g dried fava beans, soaked overnight (263 cal)

100 g (½ a large) carrot, finely chopped (28 cal)

1 small onion, finely chopped (28 cal)

3 parsley stalks, finely chopped (1 cal)

2 garlic cloves, squashed (16 cal)

1 bay leaf

175 g bunch of young Swiss chard (34 cal)

1/2 tbsp best quality balsamic vinegar (7 cal)

  • Put the beans in a saucepan with the carrot, onion, parsley stalks, garlic and bay leaf.
  • Add enough cold water to cover the ingredients by 3 cm, then cover the pan with a lid and bring to the boil.
  • Lower the heat and simmer gently for 2 hours or until you can beat the beans into a thick puree with a wooden spoon.
  • For a smoother texture, squeeze the garlic out of its skin back into the pan and discard the bay leaf, then blitz with an immersion blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper (mine needed quite a lot of salt, so just keep adding in small amounts, tasting as you go until it brings out all the flavour of the vegetables).
  • Cut the chard stems into short lengths and blanch in boiling salted water for 2 minutes.
  • Roughly chop the leaves if very large and add them to the pan for 30 seconds, then drain the chard really well.
  • Divide the fava puree between 2 warm bowls and top with the chard, then drizzle ½ tbsp of balsamic vinegar over each portion.


Mandarin Jelly

While this recipe isn’t seasonal or local it is a welcome treat at the end of a fast day. Using the juice from the tin makes such a difference to the flavour, plus it’s quick to make and will happily hang out in the fridge until the next fast day.

Makes 4 servings

39 calories per serving


23 g sachet sugar-free orange jelly powder (36 cal)

295 g tin mandarin orange segments in juice (not syrup) (118 cal)

  • Measure 285 ml of boiling water into a measuring jug, then sprinkle in the jelly powder and whisk with a fork until dissolved.
  • Drain the mandarin segments and stir the juice into the jelly mixture, then top it up to the 575 ml mark with cold water.
  • Spoon the mandarin segments into 4 glasses or bowls then divide the jelly mixture evenly between them.
  • Transfer the jellies to the fridge and leave to set for 2 hours.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *