One of the hardest parts about fasting diets is being able to find decent recipes that you can eat on your fasting days. Upon initial research into the 5:2 diet you learn that it is recommended that women eat a total of 500 calories and men consume 600 calories. At first this seems like very little and you question whether it is possible to achieve, but with the right know how and the correct recipes it’s amazing how much you can eat even when you are fasting.
Those who have never considered fasting to lose weight or followed fasting diets may think that it’s a diet consisting of rabbit food; bland salads and steamed veggies. But this is not true at all. You can virtually eat what you like on the two days that you fast; as long as you stick to the recommended calorie count for your gender.
The 5:2 diet doesn’t need to be boring or a diet of greens unless that is what you choose. There are so many options and food combinations available and with the help of some herbs, spices and seasonings, your foods can still be packed full of flavour so that you won’t feel like you are eating cardboard, but tasty satisfying meals.
Advantages to Fasting Diets
Fasting to lose weight means lowering the amount of calories you are consuming. Less energy in means less energy to burn. When you are eating high calorie foods you are eating foods that have been packed with sugars, salt, preservatives and chemicals; all added to give it a heightened taste and to allow for a longer shelf life.
Just walk go to your kitchen pantry and take a look at the label on your sliced bread; or the jar of tomato pasta sauce or even a tub of flavoured yoghurt and you will quickly realise that these common everyday foods are packed full of these additional ingredients; even the so called ‘healthier versions’.
It’s the addition of so much sugar, unhealthy fats and artificial flavours and preservatives that can be adding so many unnecessary calories to your diet. The hidden calories that we do not even realise are there unless we go looking for them.
Fasting diets make you more aware of the foods that you are eating and the nutritional quality of them. The 5.2 diet makes you think outside the box and try new foods, spices and flavours that you wouldn’t normally try.
Fasting diets make you more conscious of what you are putting into your body and helps you to make nutritionally sound choices because when you have restricted your calories you will want to make every calorie consumed count.
Herbs and Spices to Try on the 5:2 Diet
If you have decided to take on the challenge of the 5:2 diet or any of the fasting diets you are going to want to grab some new spices to add to your meals to add some extra flavour to your plate. Fasting diets are not all about plain veggies or just salad leaves they definitely make up a component of your meals but when you add a handful of coriander, basil, thyme or parsley it will really enliven your greens.
And if you thought the only way to enjoy your barbequed meats was with sticky BBQ sauce, try some fiery Cajun spices or Chipotle sauces with your chicken, or try adding Asian flavours to beef and pork meats with marinades consisting of soy, hoisin or Szechuan pepper to give it some real zing.
My top five must have spices and flavours for fasting diets are:
- Szechuan pepper – a tad more of a bite than normal black pepper
- Cajun spice– can be used on veggies and meat for a burst of flavour and heat
- Garam marsala – is a curry spice blend that can be added to any meat, soup or legume based meal, it adds a depth of flavour and with the addition of chilli turn up the heat, for those who like it hot
- Ginger – stir fry some fresh ginger slices with some green beans for a hit of flavour
- Garlic – like ginger, this simple food lightly stir fried or thrown in with your boiled cabbage can really make a difference.
Fasting to Lose Weight – Pantry and Fridge Basics
Once you get your spices, herbs and other flavour mixes sorted, next is your pantry and fridge basics. Throw out those old jars of cooking sauces, marinades and curry pastes, with their high sugar and fat content. With these spices it is so simple to make your own sauces, soups and pastes you won’t go back to buying them in a jar, especially once you realise the difference in calorie count and the value of each calorie you put in your mouth!
Fasting diets can be easy to stick too and achieve great levels of weight loss when you ensure that your fridge and pantry is stocked with the right food staples. Make sure that the following staples are always on hand. Tomatoes and onions, meat and flavoured stocks forcurries, sauces, soups and salads, berries, eggs, and a low calorie natural greek yoghurt will form the basis of just about any meal or snack and easily see you through the fasting week.
Fasting diets can require some effort to start off with, but by having a stockpile of low calorie recipes and the basics on hand, fasting to lose weight doesn’t need to be difficult and with so many recipes available you can easily get through even the hardest of fasting days without all your meals having to be dull and boring.