The LighterLife Fastpacks are much tastier than I thought they would be, and surprisingly filling even though the portion size is quite small. Knowing that I am getting my full RDA of nutrients makes the 5:2 diet concept safe and reassuring. I am not depriving my body of any vitamins or minerals, I am just cutting calories for two days a week.
The packs are easy to make up using water. My advice though would be to put the mix into a bowl first then gradually add the water while whisking with a hand whisk. Day 1's rather lumpy porridge taught me the lesson of proper mixing - you can't just chuck it in a bowl and microwave and hope for the best. Since realising this, everything else has turned out perfectly well.
The porridge has a very fine texture, is sweet and creamy. My kids said it looked like baby food, but I am one of those mums who secretly enjoyed the odd bowl of baby porridge or a smooshed rusk, so this was actually a positive to me! I enjoyed it and it was comforting and filling. I have a late breakfast on my fast days, which I find stops me feeling hungry before lunchtime.
Lunch is a bowl of soup. Again I enjoyed it as it is creamy, thick and highly flavoured. I liked the little bits of vegetable in it, giving me something to chew on! Again it was surprisingly filling for a bowl of soup.
The snack bars are actually quite big. I have peanut bars and toffee bars which are both very nice. they don't taste like a 'diet' product at all, which surprised me. The peanut bar, pictured below is like a puffed wheat cereal bar crossed with a soft peanut brittle! The toffee bar is wafer and soft caramel in a chocolate coating. They fill me up until dinner time and give you a sweet treat on fast days, plus they are packed with nutrients.
The pasta carbonara and spaghetti bolognese meals are both vegetarian dishes containing soya. I was honestly quite shocked that they tasted really nice. If I am honest, I expected something akin to a bland Pot Noodle but I was very wrong. Both are really flavoursome with a good texture. The carbonara, pictured below, was creamy with a real taste of smoky ham. It was nice to have the pasta pieces and I felt quite satisfied afterwards. The spaghetti bolognese is really yummy with soya mince and short pieces of spaghetti combined. I have lost a few calories from my dinners because my daughters kept wanting to try them! So hats off to LighterLife for making 150 calories of dinner taste so appealing.
The overall experience of a fast day has been really positive. I drank zero calorie drinks such as water and black decaff coffee. I must confess that I did miss fresh fruit and veg on my first fast day, so I chopped up a carrot and kept it in the fridge to nibble on, just so I could eat something 'real'. At only 30 calories, I feel this was a worthwhile addition that made the fasting much easier and satisfied that craving. But knowing that I would be eating fruit and veg again the next day meant that missing fresh food was a very minor concern.
The food I am eating during the 5 normal days is what I would usually eat, meals such as vegetable stews, curries, Mexican dishes and Quorn based meals. I am definitely noticing a psychological knock on effect from the fast days, making me eat better. On a whole, I am being more mindful of what I am putting in my body and not eating junk and unhealthy snacks between meals, as I don't want to undo the good I'm doing on my fast days. I still enjoy an occasional take away or meal out without worrying too much about my diet. I find myself making better choices such as switching my usual Mocha to an Americano, or having fresh fruit as a snack.
I can switch around the fast days to suit myself as long as I choose two non-consecutive days. So it fits in really well with my lifestyle. I like the fact that I am not deprived of eating foods I enjoy during the week and I only have to be really strict on the two fast days. But given that LighterLife have made the two fast days so easy, sticking to the plan is not an issue and takes minimal effort. The 5:2 diet has given me a much needed focus on my diet after the excesses of Christmas and I do enjoy having a structure to my eating that drives me towards my goal.
You can continue to follow my LighterLife fastdays experience on Twitter @wendymcd83 with the hashtag #tryfast.