5:2 Lunch Ideas

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Laura Herring shares some fantastic lunch ideas to keep you going on your fast days

6 Jan 2017 |

For many fasters, lunch is the first meal of the day. So you have to make it count. The focus here is on fresh, punchy ingredients to excite your senses – lots of aromatics and strong flavours – and lots of high-fibre, high-protein dishes to make you feel full. They are also quick to prepare and almost every one can be made ahead and packed in a lunchbox (so no lurking in the canteen wondering how many calories are in a baked potato). Absolutely none of these are ‘diet foods’ either – every single one would feel right at home on a non-fast day, too. There’s no need to stop eating the foods you love just because you’re eating less – enjoying what you eat on fast days will help you stick with it. Keep going, you’re halfway there!

Asparagus with Chopped Egg, Mustard & Capers

110 KCAL
Serves 1 

It’s so important to eat proper food on your fast days. Just because you’re eating less on those days, that doesn’t mean your meals should be any less delicious. This light lunch – which you can really have at any time of day – feels so much more substantial than the 110 calories that it is, and it’s all to do with the balance of textures and flavours, as well as the huge protein hit from every dieter’s favourite food – an egg! Obviously you can multiply the amounts to feed more people.

1 small egg
200 g (7 oz) trimmed asparagus spears
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon capers
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the egg in a pan of cold water. Bring to the boil and boil for 8 minutes. After the egg has been boiling for 3 minutes, heat a frying pan over a medium heat and drop in the asparagus. Cover and cook, shaking occasionally – no need to add any water.

When the egg is cooked, peel and chop into a bowl. Keep shaking the asparagus. Mix the chopped egg with the mustard and capers.

Place the asparagus on a plate and squeeze over the lemon. Top with the chopped egg and capers and season with salt and pepper.

Watermelon & Feta Salad

150 KCAL
Serves 2

Watermelon juice provides a sweet dressing for this creamy, salty, crunchy, fresher-than-fresh-tasting salad. This is a great one to pack up and take to work – the red onion will mellow beautifully with the watermelon by lunchtime, and you can’t be sad with a bowl of bright red fruit to eat! Better than a shop bought sandwich any day of the week.

400 g (14 oz/ 3 cups) watermelon
½ small red onion, very finely sliced
½ small red chilli,
very finely chopped
8 mint leaves, shredded
90 g (3. oz/2/3cup) low-fat feta
zest of 1 lime

Put the watermelon chunks and juice in a bowl. Gently mix in the onion, chilli and mint leaves. Scatter over the feta and grate the lime zest on top. Ta-dah!

Nori Wraps

175 KCAL
Makes 2 wraps

This recipe is super easy and perfect for packing in a lunchbox to take to work. Seaweed is SO good for you too – it’s a great source of iron, protein, fibre and iodine, which is quite hard to find in natural sources, as well as tons of other minerals. Definitely worth swapping these nori wraps for your usual sarnie, even on non-fasting days.

Filling options are endless, but aim for something smooth and a bit sticky (like this mashed avocado or hummus or even tahini paste) to help hold it together, something fresh and crunchy and something with a bit of a kick to make those taste buds happy. Avoid anything too wet though, as it can make the wraps soggy and then they can fall apart.

2x nori sheets
½ ripe avocado, mashed
chilli sauce, to drizzle
1 smallish carrot, grated
1 red cabbage leaf, chopped
a few spinach leaves, chopped
a few coriander (cilantro) leaves
6 cooked king prawns (shrimp), chopped (optional)

Spread each nori sheet with the mashed avocado – go right up to the edge as this will help them stick together when you roll them up. Keep the layer thin, as too much can make the wrap soggy and likely to tear. Drizzle over some chilli sauce.

Layer on the grated carrot, cabbage, spinach, coriander and prawns, if using. Then roll up from the edge closest to you, using the avocado edge to help it all hold together. That’s it! Pack ’em up and off you go! (You can trim them if you’re very concerned with rough edges and slice into pieces or halves.)

For more ingenious and delicious low calorie lunch ideas check out The Fast Days Cookbook by Laura Herring, available now where all good books are sold.