Combining 5:2 with (Practically) Paleo Eating

paleo and 5:2 diet chicken stir fry

5:2 FridayI make no secret of the fact that I primarily do 5:2 to lose weight.  I know it is said to have all kinds of other benefits, and that is great, but they are not the reason I do it. 

I’m not hugely overweight.  In fact, for my height, I am fairly certain I would not be classed as overweight at all, but I have a pesky 7lbs that I want to shift.  14lbs if I am really honest.  But I’d be happy with 7.  Happyish, anyway.  Not Pharrell Williams happy, but, I could live with that. 

So it becomes really frustrating when weight loss plateaus out, even though you’re eating well, being active, and doing 5:2 in it’s classic form – ie, 500 calories, 2 days a week, and normal eating the other 5 days without going overboard, and that just doesn’t seem to cut it anymore. 

Which is why I gave paleo eating a go.  I adapted it so it works for me, because if there is one thing I know about modifying your eating habits, it’s that if it is too much of a change, it won’t work, you won’t stick at it, and then you’ll be back at square one all over again.  

Admittedly I started last week as a huge paleo sceptic, only committing to a week, to shock my body into losing again.  I have a breadmaker, which I use almost daily (oy! Waking up to the smell of fresh bread slays me, people, it really does), I love a jacket potato, linguine is just about the best thing ever.  How could I cope with such a huge reduction in my beloved carbs?   I thought I’d get to Wednesday and want to give up.  But in actual fact, I got to Wednesday – the height of ‘carb flu’, and found I was enjoying it.  When I served up spag bol, I didn’t want the spag.  When we had steak, I ate it with sweet potato fries instead of my usual Roosters. 

True paleo calls for no dairy, and that is where I have adapted it.  If I am having salad, you’d better believe I’m going to have it with a caesar style dressing, which I make with creme fraiche, and a little mayo.  I love coffee, but not black.  A little cream cheese really perks up a stick of celery.  You get the idea.  

Combining 5:2 with paleo hasn’t been tricky at all – I’m basically just eating the kind of things I’d eat on a fast day, but eating them all the time, and allowing myself a few treats at the weekend.  I think the two work really well together. 

So far, with a little meal planning, and a fair bit of self control, it’s going pretty well.  Here is a selection of this week’s meals:

Roast chicken salad, with walnuts and apple.  This was a fasting day, so that was my only big meal.  I snacked on a little stir fried veg at lunchtime, and of course, drank a lot of fluids.

paleo and 52 chicken salad

Chicken Waldorf salad lettuce wraps.  Waldorf salad, and I’d forgotten how much I love a Waldorf salad, served in romaine lettuce leaves as a quick lunch that is really delicious, and easy to eat! 

chicken lettuce wraps


Chicken and vegetable stir fry.  Leftover roast chicken, stir fried with grated ginger, garlic, Thai green curry paste and soy sauce, and a packet of stir fry veg.  Simple, and really fast – the entire dish took 5 minutes to cook. 

paleo and 5:2 diet chicken stir fry

(Please excuse the slightly out of focus photo, I am getting to grips with a new lens)

Another fasting day meal, bolognese in baked red pepper, and a simple green salad.  The fam had theirs with pasta instead of the pepper. 

paleo and 52 diet bolognese stuffed peppers

I made flapjack for the kids on Wednesday, and this was somewhat of an error, as I went a bit feral for it on Thursday morning. 

So there you have it, I’m going to spend this evening meal planning for next week.  What I am taking from paleo and 5:2 combined is cleaner eating, a reduction in processed foods, and cooking from scratch, and since I basically ate like that anyway, it hasn’t been a huge stretch.

Pronto Primavera

primavera recipe

primavera recipeI don’t know why I haven’t shared this primavera recipe with you all before.  It’s low in calories, packed full of good things, and is very, very delicious.  A serving of this will see you well on the way to your five a day.  If, like me, you’re following the 5:2 diet, this is low enough in calories to make a great fasting day meal – especially if you forego the pasta, and serve this over steamed cabbage. 

The other great thing about this recipe is that it’s also very quick, so makes a perfect supper for those a little pressed for time.  I timed myself cooking it and it came in at under 30 minutes from fridge to table, and that was with a couple of minutes added on due to my forgetting to stop the timer. 

The key to its fast cooking time is this: slice the vegetables thinly to ensure a fast cooking time, and save time by having boiling water to hand in the kettle.  It’s really as simple as that. pin

I served it with rigatoni for my children, tagliatelle for my husband, and, since I was on a (not very strict) fasting day, I had mine over shredded steamed white cabbage.  We all had a generous grating of parmigiana over the top, which melted into the sauce. Get in! 

I hope you enjoy this primavera sauce as much as my family did. 

Pronto Primavera
Serves 4
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Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
96 calories
13 g
1 g
4 g
4 g
1 g
302 g
590 g
6 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 96
Calories from Fat 37
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 1g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 1mg
Sodium 590mg
Total Carbohydrates 13g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 6g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 tbsp olive oil
  2. 3 spring onions (scallions) roughly chopped - greens included.
  3. 1 yellow papper, finely sliced
  4. 1 courgette, finely sliced into rounds, and then the rounds halved.
  5. 1 carrot, ribboned with a speed peeler
  6. 1/2 head broccoli, cut into florets, which have then been halved
  7. 2 tbsp peas (frozen or fresh)
  8. 2 tbsp sweet corn (frozen, fresh or tinned)
  9. 500ml vegetable stock
  10. 3 tbsp half fat creme fraiche
  11. a good squeeze of lemon juice
  12. salt and pepper, to taste
  1. First of all, fill the kettle and boil it. You'll need the water for blanching the broccoli, cooking the pasta and making up the vegetable stock. Next, heat the olive oil in a large, high sided frying pan (preferably one with a lid) and whilst the oil is getting hot, chop up the spring onion.
  2. Add it to the pan, and get on with with slicing the pepper. Add this to the pan, then move on to the courgette. Add all these to the pan, stir, and clamp on the lid. Having a lid on the pan is important, as it will trap the steam in, and cook the vegetables.
  3. By this point, the kettle should have boiled. Make up the vegetable stock, and pour enough hot water into a sauce pan so that you can blanch broccoli and boil pasta, allow the water to come back to the boil.
  4. Next, take a speed peeler or mandolin, and slice the carrot into ribbons. Add this to the pan of veggies, along with a little of the stock. You don't want to overcook the vegetables - just give them enough moisture to steam in.
  5. Slice up the broccoli and blanch in your pan of boiling water. This shouldn't take much longer than 2-3 minutes at the most, then remove from the pan with tongs or a slotted spoon and throw it in with the rest of the vegetables along with the peas and sweetcorn.
  6. At this point, add the pasta to the broccoli water, and cook as per packet instructions.
  7. To make the sauce, pour in more of the vegetable stock - you might not need the entire 500mls, just use as much as you like. Then dollop in the creme fraiche and mix well. You should have quite a thin sauce, but this is perfect if you're serving it with pasta, as freshly cooked pasta will absorb some of the sauce. Allow to simmer away until the pasta is cooked. If the vegetables are cooked before the pasta is ready, remove from the heat and clamp on the lid.
  8. To freshen it up, squeeze over some lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
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5:2 Friday

5:2 diet

5:2 dietI’ve not done a 5:2 Friday post in ages, but today I am because I’m irked.  I have gained!  Only half a pound, but still.  I managed my fasts, I exercised, I am back into the normal routine after a half term blowout where I definitely let things slide a bit (no exercise, lots of party food). 

I’ll be honest, I was hoping my scales had broken, but I got on and off and reset those badboys 3 times and each time the reading was the same.  

Anyway, despite that smidgeon of disappointment in an otherwise rather pleasant week, I won’t let it deflate me too much.  Here is what I’ve been eating on my fasting days.

Fasting Day 1 (Monday)

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Skinny Sweet Potato and Aubergine Curry

5:2 recipe sweet potato aubergine curry

Sweet Potato and Aubergine Curry 2Friday night, in our house, is junky food night.  We’ll either have a pizza, or a curry, or very, very occasionally a chinese.  Since we’re not exactly rolling in it, and I like to know exactly what I’m putting in my body, I’ve started making my own Friday night takeout-style dinners.  This has also helped tremendously with my weightloss efforts as I can limit the amount of fat I use, and bulk up meals with fresh vegetables.  

Here is my recipe for sweet potato and aubergine curry, adapted from a few recipes I found on Google for the same sort of thing.  It’s tasty and easily adaptable; if a low calorie vegan curry isn’t really your bag, you could spruce it up with some chicken, or add coconut milk for some added creaminess. 

This curry is under 200 calories per serving – not including accompaniments.  It’s filling and great for a fasting day if follow the 5:2 diet. 

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Super Skinny Minestrone Soup

5:2 minestrone soup

5:2 minestroneMinestrone soup it probably my new favourite 5:2 soup.  Not only is is filling, and really really yummy, it’s nice and low in calories.  The quantities I used make a huge bowlful, not quite enough for two people, but definitely a big meal for one.  I shared the last few mouthfuls with my gannet children because I was stuffed. 

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Spicy Ricey Courgette Boats

courgette boats

courgette boatsThis was a bits and bobs kind of meal.  We had a frugal week, and I have a tendency to overshop, so I put this together out of things I wanted to use up.  Leftover chicken from last Sunday’s roast, a couple of mushrooms, a tomato and spinach, all mixed up together with rice and harissa for a bit of a kick, and spooned into something I have to bribe my children to eat – courgettes.

Well, to save myself a dinner time battle, I made them some pasta, but they both still demanded a mouthful of my courgette boat.  I served it with some salad leaves, and half of the creamiest avocado I’ve had in ages.  It was truly a (skinny) supper of kings. 

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