ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The 5:2 Fast Diet: Meal Planning Strategies for Fasting Days

Updated on August 8, 2013

Congratulations, you've decided to give the 5:2 diet a go. This article will tell you about the different ways you can approach a low-calorie day, depending on your usual eating patterns, how you respond to reduced calorie intake, and how much, if at all, you're able to adjust your day around the 5:2.

You may have already tried out the 5:2 and found it a struggle: if so there may be some tips here.

On the other hand, some people find they can in fact manage two complete fast days per week where they eat no calories at all, and I've met several people who do this. I wouldn't recommend it as a starting point unless you're used to fasting already. However, you may find that once you have established a routine with the 5:2, you won't need to go to your full nominal calorie allowance on fast days. Remember that the "500 for women; 600 for men" is only a guideline in the same way that 2000/2500 is a guideline for a "normal" daily calorie intake. I'm male, but of slight build, so I aim for 500 on a fast day, and have so far gone as low as 390 without undue difficulty!

Preparation, preparation, preparation

The key to a successful low-calorie day is preparation. If you wake up in the morning and find that you have nothing in the cupboard that will give you a good-sized portion to eat without using up your entire calorie allowance, then it's going to be a struggle. No matter how you assign the calories during the day – and I'll come to back to that shortly – you're going to want to go for foods that have a low calorie content per gram. In practice this means fruits, vegetables, and lean meat or fish. Oily foods including butter and so on, and foods high in carbohydrates like rice, pasta, and bread, need to be avoided completely or reserved for a treat.

So, make sure that you've stocked up on low calorie items to see you through the day: bananas and pineapple for breakfast; low-calorie homemade soup for lunch; and tuna and salad for dinner. To make your calories go further, look for foods with calorie contents of 1 calorie per gram or less. Bananas have 0.9, pineapple only 0.5. Tuna is about 1.1, and lettuce 0.2. Cut a huge slice of cucumber to go in the salad, and it'll only come out at only 0.12 calories per gram. Make up a simple tomato soup from a tin of chopped tomatoes, basil, pepper and Tabasco for 0.2 calories per gram, and enjoy a filling large bowl.

Epica TM Accupro Digital Kitchen Scale 11 lbs Capacity,Stylish Silver/Chrome-Electronic Food Scale
Epica TM Accupro Digital Kitchen Scale 11 lbs Capacity,Stylish Silver/Chrome-Electronic Food Scale

Use an inexpensive food scale to weigh your foods on fast days. Volume measurements aren't as accurate for fruits and veggies.

Herbox Granular Sodium Free Chicken Bouillon, 3.3-Ounce (Pack of 6)
Herbox Granular Sodium Free Chicken Bouillon, 3.3-Ounce (Pack of 6)

Sipping low calorie chicken or veggie broth (5 calories per cup) during the day can help you feel fuller. Look for low sodium products to prevent bloating.


What's your 5:2 Diet strategy for fast days?

See results

Breakfast, lunch and dinner, oh my!

If you need the equivalent of three square meals a day, then what I've just described could work for you: splitting the calories roughly equally between breakfast, lunch and dinner. Snacks during the day are pretty much out, but remember that you can drink as much water, tea and coffee as you like, and you'll probably find that you need more liquids on a fast day. Remember, you need to count any mil you use. If you do need something to pick at during the day, a box of cherry tomatoes is a good idea. A 250 g box is under 50 calories for the lot, and can keep you going if you need a munch.

If there's a time of day where you feel you have to have a good meal in order to keep you going, then plan that in. You'll have to make a sacrifice somewhere else, so decide what works for you. I find I can go light at breakfast if I have a good lunch, or I can pretty much skip dinner if I've eaten reasonably well earlier in the day.

A very important tip is to mix up the types of foods that are giving you your calories. For breakfast, mixing in a small amount of cereal with your fruit will give slow-release sugars to see you through the morning. Cereals tend to be high calories (up to 4 per gram) so go easy, and use skim milk if you must have some. You can even get away with a small amount of lean, grilled bacon if you plan for it.

At lunch, go for calorie-efficient protein foods like tuna and chicken white meat (1.1 and 1.7 cals per gram). Match with a salad, leave the oil out of the dressing and stick to vinegar, and if it's going to be your main meal add a small amount of rice, potatoes or couscous if you need the carbs.

Dinner is then the easy one, where you use up the remaining calories for the day. But don't forget the point of the diet is to restrict your intake, so eat what you need to and don't feel you have to go all the way to the limit if you can manage without.

Good luck!

© 2013 Jay Dickens


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • peachpurple profile image


      5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Good hub, next time i want to fast, i will read this page, gonna bookmark

    • moviesreviews profile image

      Cacey Taylor 

      5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Great hub and advice. Looks to be a cool strategy for anyone trying to lose weight.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)