IF diet meal ideas

Chunky squash, leek and tomato soup

Chunky vegetable soups are low on calories but filling

I’m currently obsessed with the IF (intermittent fasting) diet or the 5:2 diet as it’s also known.

Don’t worry – I’m not going to bore you all with a series of blog posts about  weight loss – i’d not only be boring you, but boring myself! But, for those of you who love food too much to be on a permanent diet, I wanted to share the fact that i’ve lost 7 lbs in two weeks and it’s been very straightforward.

No weird foods, no cutting out carbs, it’s really really simple.

What is the IF diet?

For two days a week I will only eat 500 calories worth of food. The rest of the time I eat what I like. That’s it! It’s 600 calories for men.

At the beginning of the week I decide which days I’m going to fast depending on my plans, and then i’ll plan what i’ll eat so I don’t have to think about it.

I never fast two days in a row or I wouldn’t be able to do it.

500 calories is not a lot of food that’s for sure, so you have to be super smart with it. Here are some of my meal ideas if you want a clearer idea of what a fasting day would look like.

Breakfast ideas

1. Boiled egg + ryvita + Cup of tea with splash skimmed milk
2. Banana + cup of tea with splash skimmed milk
3. Porridge made with 30g porridge oats + 100 ml skimmed milk + 100ml water

Lunch ideas

1. 35g hummus + 1 carrot cut into batons
2. Bowl of home made soup – see recipe below
3.  2 x dark rye ryvita + 25g smoked salmon


1. 2 egg omelette with salad
2. stir fry of quorn pieces + chopped pepper + grated carrot + 2 tbsp cooked rice + 1/4 packet blue dragon stir fry sauce
3. 175g jacket potato + 3 slices wafer thin ham + salad + drizzle balsamic vinegar


  • drink lots of water
  • plan your meals in advance
  • get a calorie counter app on your phone to help keep track
  • go to bed early as you’ll be ravenous and grumpy in the evenings on fast days
  • I wouldn’t try and exercise on 500 calories as you might black out

Why it works: You only have to behave yourself twice a week, and when you’re really hungry you just tell yourself “first thing tomorrow i’ll have a slap up breakfast”. It also means you can get on with your life as if you’re not on a diet – going out for meals, weekends away and even the Christmas calories-fest don’t have to be diet-busters that see you falling spectacularly off the wagon.

Motivation: The weight falls off instantly, despite you eating normally on the other days. It’s strange as I’ve found the day after fasting when I think i’m going to fill my face, my appetite has actually backed off and I physically can’t eat as much as I’d like to – result!

Practicality: It’s hard to stay motivated to be on a diet for months on end, so this allows you to have the best of both worlds. As someone who has to think about food pretty much all the time, it’s like the ideal way to be on a diet.

Maintaining: Apparently once you’ve lost the amount of weight you’re happy with you just switch to fasting one day per week. And that’s it. Finger’s crossed i’ve found my diet salvation at last!

Have any of YOU tried the IF diet? I’d love to hear how you spend your daily 500 calories and any tips that might help me keep it interesting?

The power of soup

Soup is a great friend of the dieter, and on fasting days it’s a real winner. It fills you up but isn’t full of calories – especially if you make your own and have the ultimate control over what’s in it. This week’s version is a nice chunky affair with butternut squash, leek and celery cooked in vegetable stock with a tin of tomatoes.

Chunky squash, leek and tomato soup
Makes 6 portions – approx 80 calories per serving

1 tbsp olive oil
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1/2 butternut squash, cut into cubes
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
500 ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp dried sage

1. Heat the olive oil in a large lidded pan over a gentle heat and then gently cook the celery, leek and squash for five minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes, stock and sage, season and then put the lid on the pan and simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.

For more meal ideas check out Jac over on Tinned Tomatoes who’s got some great 5:2 diet food inspiration that i’m definitely going to be giving a try.


  1. It really is easy to do. I have lost 11 lbs so far, but I know a lot of people have lost more than that.
    Thanks for linking to me :)

  2. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article!
    It’s the little changes which will make the greatest changes. Thanks for sharing!