Coping with Christmas, New Year and holiday parties on the 5:2 diet

Photo by: torbakhopper / CC

The holiday period around Christmas has to be one of the worst times to be on a diet or about to start a diet. From Thanksgiving in North America to New Year's Day we are bombarded with food, food and more food. 

Not to mention the wine, champagne and cocktails. One big calorie fest that can pile on the pounds and leave us starting the New Year feeling very unhappy with ourselves. 

Or you have the will power of the strongest steel and have to face party after party holding a glass of sparkling water and a celery stick watching everyone else indulge. 

The great thing about an intermittent fasting diet is that it's a perfect solution to both staying on a diet and enjoying the festivities. As long as you're not planning to party seven days a week (Oh, you are? Then you'd better just put off dieting until the middle of January)

It's not that hard to have two rest (fast) days a week in the middle of all the rest of the excess, your body will probably thank you for it. 

Also many of the foods you are cooking for the non-fast days through this season will probably work very well for creating low-calorie options for the fasting days - you'll probably have lots of left over Turkey at some point - try some of these recipes to use on the fast days. And smoked salmon is another ingredient which works both on fast and feast days.

And if you just finding this post feeling hungover and bloated at the end of the holiday season - then welcome! And you will probably want to start over here.

5:2 diet: Turkey recipes
Photo by: Steven Depolo 

Turkey is a good option for a low-calorie meal if you simply can't do without meat. It is much lower in fat (as long as you're not eating the skin!) than other meats. 

Yes, it can seem a little dry sometimes but with the right recipe you can easily work around this. The other useful thing about Turkey is that the leftovers are easily turned into some really tasty but low calorie recipes which makes it perfect for the 5:2 diet. 

On a feast day you can roast your turkey and have gravy and all the trimmings. Then save some of the plain meat and turn it into one or more of your meals on your fast days. Not a bad plan for getting through the holiday season. 

Two slices of Turkey breast meat - about 43g of meat - comes to about 45 calories  

As with chicken you can add a couple of slices of  breast meat to a large salad for lunch or even use 1 slice as a mid morning or afternoon snack to keep the cravings at bay - perhaps wrapped around a pickle.

See below for some of my favourite low calorie turkey recipes for the 5.2 diet. Remember the calories below usually refer to one portion from the recipe.

Stuffed Courgettes with Turkey   (176 Calories)

Cumin-scented turkey burgers with tomato salsa  (174 Calories)

Turkey Bolognese  (182 Calories)

Thai Turkey meatballs and stir fry noodles  (206 Calories)

Turkey Soup  (111 Calories)

Turkey Crock Pot Stew  (110 Calories)

Turkey Pasta Fagioli  (126 Calories)

Fasting Meal Plan: Week 4

Fresh salad leaves from the garden taste so good they don't need high calorie dressings

A light summer intermittent fasting menu plan for hot days when light dishes of fruits and salads appeal.

One of the reasons I like the intermittent fasting diet plan is that it's not one of those diets that tells you only to eat vegetables or limits your choices to only certain types of food.

But one of the benefits of regular 'diet' food like salads, fruit, raw vegetables etc is that they are usually quite low in calories so you do get a substantial volume of food for your calorie allowance.

So if you are in the mood for a menu plan for your fasting days which heavily features salad, fruit and vegetables then week 4 is for you.

Fasting Day One:

Breakfast: Half a cup of raspberries, black coffee (or with a small splash of non-fat milk) - 50 calories

AM Snack: Ten pistachios - 50 calories

Lunch: Green Salad (3 cups of mixed greens with a tablespoon of low calorie salad dressing) + half a boiled egg + 2 tablespoons of grated fat free parmesan cheese - 100 calories

PM Snack:  - Seven almonds - 50 calories

Dinner: Green Salad (3 cups of mixed greens with a tablespoon of low calorie salad dressing) + half a boiled egg + 3oz  smoked salmon, half a small cantaloupe melon - 250 calories

**Men add your extra 100 calories by adding just under 2oz of chopped cooked chicken breast to lunch. Or double the salmon at dinner.

Fasting Day Two:

Breakfast: Black coffee (or with a small splash of non-fat milk. One cup of chopped watermelon. - 50 calories

AM Snack: Half a medium apple -50 calories

Lunch: Guacamole (100 calorie snack pack) + rice cake + crudites (half a cup of raw carrot sticks, half a cup of cucumber sticks, 2 sticks of celery) - 215 calories

PM Snack: Half a medium apple - 50 calories

Dinner: Classic gazpacho soup ,  green salad (3 cups of mixed greens with a tablespoon of low calorie salad dressing) - 135 calories

**Men add just under 2oz cooked chicken breast to your dinner salad to make up your extra 100 calories

Previous weeks' menu plans:

Week 1 - Spreading the calories across the day
Week 2 - Soups and Snacks to keep you going
Week 3 - Saving calories for the evening meal

Remind yourself about the intermittent diet plan basics:

The basics - how to follow the diet

The journalist who started the intermittent diet craze