One of the most popular diets around is the 5:2 – where you consume less calories for 2 days per week (500 for women and 600 for men) and on the other 5 days you eat as normal while keeping to a balanced healthy diet.

What many people find difficult with the 5:2 diet is on those fasting days they struggle to find a decent (filling) breakfast option that could tide them over for several hours. Below, we’ve included our favourite low calorie breakfast options when fasting and some rules to abide by if you are going to start with the 5:2 diet.

The rules of 5:2

  • Aim for 500 for a women and 600 for a man in terms of calories. Don’t be too particular, but, for simplicity and efficacy, do try to stick to these parameters.
  • You can do your Fast Days back to back, or split them.
  • Aim for a long-ish ‘Fasting Window’ between episodes of eating. A 7am breakfast and a 7pm supper seem to work well for most people.
  • Stick to veggies and proteins.
  • Avoid fast-release carbs and refined sugars, as they will add to your hunger.
  • But pile on the veg.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • If you must snack, snack smart: an apple or some carrot sticks and hummus should take the edge off.
  • Keep busy. If time flies, tomorrow will come quicker – many people find fasting days at work easier than those days off.
  • Do it with friends – a little moral support.
  • Choose a day when fasting will be feasible; work out your 5:2 calendar according to your social commitments.
  • It’s fine to exercise on a Fast Day, as long as it feels good to you…and you stay hydrated.
  • Don’t fast if you are under 18, pregnant, diabetic or ill. Consult your doctor first if you have any concerns.
  • Once you’ve achieved your target weight, progress to a modified 6:1 format to maintain that ideal.

Top 5 Low Calorie Breakfast Ideas for the 5:2 Diet

1 – Banana, blueberry and cinnamon porridge – up to 250 calories

Measure out 40g oats, cover with just-boiled water and stir for a few minutes until the oats have expanded and started absorbing the water. For some extra calories, you could either avoid or add a mashed banana to make the texture creamier, a handful of blueberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon to taste. If you like your porridge runnier, add more water, and if it’s not hot enough, you can stick it in the microwave for a quick blast to harden up. This could come in at about 250 calories, but if you don’t add extra’s like the banana and blueberries it will come in a lot less, however, porridge and water will keep you fuller for longer.

2 – Mini Breakfast Pancakes – 200 calories

Mix flour (25 grams) and icing sugar (5 grams) together in a bowl. Gradually add 50 ml of milk, while whisking to make a smooth batter. Heat a small non-stick frying pan on a high heat. Wipe the pan with a small amount of oil, or use an oil spray. Make 3-4 small pancakes. Serve the pancakes on a plate, spoon on the yogurt and sprinkle with the dried fruit and seeds.

3 – Poached egg, smoked salmon and asparagus – 195 calories

Cook around 80 grams of asparagus in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain and immediately submerge in ice cold water. Poach one egg, and to make a dressing, combine some natural yogurt with the dill and lemon juice. Serve 50 grams of smoked salmon, asparagus and poached egg with the dressing on the side.

4 – Fruit salad with yoghurt.

You can use whichever fruit you like,just remember to count up the calories alongside any amount of yoghurt. You can opt for lower calorie fruits like strawberries and blueberries – also make sure to go with low fat greek yoghurt to spare some extra calories for your fruit.

Apple with peanut butter dip.

A penanut butter dip and is very yummy and seriously filling. After this you will feel really full. With these quantities you get to have a really good amount of dip with each bite of apple, and the creamy peanut buttery dip with the crisp, juicy fruit is a marriage made in heaven.