Crab, chilli and herb omelette

Best ever easy 5:2 recipes under 500 calories

Our easy recipes all under 500 calories, perfect if you're on the 5:2 diet. In fact, most are under 300 calories, so you have an extra 200 calories to play with! Lighter versions of classics, healthy soups and low cal Asian dishes, there's plenty to choose from

Also known as the Fast Diet, the 5:2 diet is a popular weight loss plan that involves eating normally for five days each week, and reducing your calorie intake to 500 calories on the other two. Not sure if you could manage on such a restricted plan? Read on to discover our tastiest and most filling low calorie recipes that are full of flavour, quick and easy to whip up, and high in protein to keep you satisfied on fasting days. 

Check out our Thai chicken noodle salad for an easy packed lunch, our Asian lettuce wraps that swap the floury wrap for crunchy, low carb lettuce, and our Paleo diet-friendly chicken piccata. Looking for a veggie option? Our vegan fajita bowl with cauli rice ticks all the boxes, switching carb-rich rice for blitzed cauliflower. 


Szechuan prawn noodles

These hot and spicy Chinese-style noodles only take 15 minutes to whip up, so they’d make a super quick and easy midweek meal if you’re stuck for time or craving some healthy, low cal fast food

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Cheat’s chicken mole

This recipe for cheat’s chicken mole uses a clever product to mean it’s ready in less than an hour but still filled with fresh flavour and under 300 calories – perfect for a midweek treat

Cheat's chicken mole
Cheat’s chicken mole

Vegan fajita bowl with cauli rice

Stay on-trend with this vegan fajita bowl with cauli rice. It’s quick and easy to make as well as being vegan, low calorie and 5:2-diet friendly, but still delivers on flavour

Vegan fajita bowl with cauli rice
Vegan fajita bowl with cauli rice

Tuscan pork steaks

This recipe for Tuscan pork steaks ticks all the boxes. It’s low calorie, low fat, low sugar, low salt and high in protein to keep you feeling fuller for longer

tuscan pork
Tuscan pork steaks

Moroccan veg and chickpea tagine

Our Moroccan veg and chickpea tagine is vegan, low-fat and really easy to make. This recipe makes enough for four, but the leftovers freeze well – perfect for midweek meals where you’re pressed for time but still want to keep things healthy

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Moroccan veg and chickpea tagine

Crab, chilli and herb omelette

Ready in just 20 minutes, this crab, chilli and herb omelette is low calorie, gluten free and high in protein  – perfect for a midweek meal or lighter weekend brunch

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Crab, chilli and herb omelette

Courgette, pea and artichoke salad with pistachio pesto

This recipe for courgetti, pea and artichoke salad with pistachio pesto is full of green goodness as well as being vegan, low calorie, gluten free and ready in just 20 minutes

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Courgette, pea and artichoke salad with pistachio pesto

Tofu steak with beetroot noodles and dukkah

Once you’ve mastered the art of courgetti, branch out and try spiralising different vegetables! This quick and easy tofu steak with beetroot noodles and dukkah is a great vegetarian meal for one, ready in half an hour

Tofu with beetroot noodles and dukkah
Tofu steak with beetroot noodles and dukkah

Paleo chicken piccata

This recipe for paleo chicken piccata is fast, healthy and easy to freeze. Serve with a green salad or cauliflower rice to keep things paleo diet-friendly and low calorie

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Paleo chicken piccata

Za’atar aubergine steaks with sesame dressing and pomegranate

This recipe for za’atar aubergine steaks with sesame dressing and pomegranate makes for a quick, easy and delicious veggie dinner, perfect for meat-free Monday. Plus, it’s low calorie and gluten free

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Za’atar aubergine steaks with sesame dressing and pomegranate

Squash toast with feta, sumac and poached egg

Try this squash toast with feta, sumac and poached egg for a healthy vegetarian brunch for one under 300 calories. Ready in less than half an hour and packed with interesting flavour, what better way to start your weekend?

Squash toast with feta, sumac and poached egg
Squash toast with feta, sumac and poached egg

Crispy chickpea and kale caesar salad 

This crispy chickpea and kale caesar salad is a great healthy twist on a classic. The crispy chickpeas also make a great low calorie snack!

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Crispy chickpea and kale caesar salad

Smoked haddock and spinach rye toasts

One for those early risers with a savoury tooth, this quick and easy breakfast idea is full of flavour and high in protein to keep you feeling satisfied throughout the morning

Smoked haddock and spinach rye toasts
Smoked haddock and spinach rye toasts

Tandoori lamb steaks with chilli-spiked slaw

This recipe for tandoori lamb steaks with chilli-spiked slaw ticks all the boxes as it’s low cal, low fat, low sugar, low salt and high in protein. Plus, it’s really easy to make

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Tandoori lamb steaks with chilli-spiked slaw

Prawn and mushroom miso soup

Our super quick and easy prawn and mushroom miso soup means you can have a healthy but comforting meal on the table in just 15 minutes – perfect for a light midweek supper

Prawn and mushroom miso soup

One-pot chicken with cannelloni beans and chorizo

A healthy, high protein one-pot, this chicken with cannelloni beans and chorizo is really easy to make and requires minimal hands-on time, making it a great midweek meal

One-pot chicken with cannelloni beans and chorizo

Fiery chickpea and harissa soup

On the table in 20 minutes, this fast and easy spicy soup is made with chickpeas. This vegetarian recipe gets its heat from harissa, the hot chilli pepper paste from Morocco

Fiery chickpea and harissa soup

Lamb koftas with kale salad

Super easy to put together, lamb koftas make the best weeknight supper. Here we’re serving them with a healthy Brussels sprouts and kale salad for a delicious low-carb dinner

Lamb koftas with kale salad

Thai chicken noodle salad

Low calorie doesn’t mean denying yourself delicious flavours. This chicken noodle salad is full of the vibrant tastes of Thailand, as well as being healthy and quick and easy to make

Thai chicken noodle salad

Lentil ‘meatballs’ with fresh tomato sauce

Lentils are a great way to make a meal vegetarian. Swap these for your usual meatballs and your family will hardly notice the difference. Plus, they’re low cal and ready in just 40 minutes – perfect for during the week

Lentil ‘meatballs’ with fresh tomato sauce

Asian chicken burgers with pickled red cabbage

These Asian-inspired chicken burgers make a great, healthier alternative to the usual beef. Pickled red cabbage on the side adds an extra kick. Serve on round lettuce leaves instead of buns to keep things low calorie

Asian chicken burgers with pickled red cabbage

Healthier beef bourguignon

We love classic comfort food and don’t want to deny ourselves when we’re trying to be healthy. This healthier beef bourguignon is packed full of classic flavours and as well as being low calorie. You’ll forget you’re being virtuous

Skinny beef bourguignon

Chermoula tomato and fish tagine

A simple, speedy tagine made for sharing. It’s full of flavour but doesn’t need hours in the pot. Giant couscous and harissa give it texture and heat and the preserved lemon makes it more authentic. Serve to a crowd at a party or as a dinner-party main course

Chermoula tomato and fish tagine

Asian lettuce wraps

A healthy take on an Asian classic – just substitute the floury wrap for carb-free lettuce. Packed with protein and flavour, this recipe comes from olive reader Sophie Hyam

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Asian lettuce wraps

Roasted tomatoes and avocado on toast

This delicious and healthy breakfast or lunch couldn’t be easier to put together. Ripe tomatoes, avocado and salad leaves on toast are a great vegetarian combination, with the cayenne pepper adding a slight kick

Roasted tomatoes and avocado on toast

Lemon and black pepper prawns

This easy recipe pairs prawns with orzo pasta and rocket to create a healthy and tasty dish. It’s ready in just 20 minutes too, which makes it ideal for during the week

Lemon and black pepper prawns

Courgette, chilli and mint pizza

This easy pizza is made with bought flatbreads, which are topped with mozzarella and ribbons of courgette for the perfect, quick assembly midweek meal

Courgette, chilli and mint pizza

Steak, beetroot and asparagus salad

Steak always feels like a treat to us! This steak salad with asparagus and earthy beetroot is perfect for a lighter dinner, and is ready in under 30 minutes

Steak, beetroot and asparagus salad

Ginger lemon sole with Chinese greens

Our ginger lemon sole with greens is a quick and easy Chinese recipe full of nutrients. In China, fish celebrates prosperity and greens symbolise longevity

Ginger lemon sole with Chinese greens

Miami-style blackened fish sandwich with smoked paprika mayo

A quick and healthy way to serve fish on the barbecue (weather permitting – alternatively you can use a griddle pan). Coat in spices and grill before stuffing into buns and serving with smoky paprika and lime mayo

Miami-style blackened fish sandwich with smoked paprika mayo

Chicken with agrodolce sauce

Agrodolce means sweet and sour in Italian. This dish cooks thin escalopes of chicken in a tomato, onion and red wine vinegar sauce for a punchy super low cal and low fat dish

Chicken with agrodolce sauce

Butternut and sage risotto

This butternut and sage risotto feels indulgent, but is easy enough for weeknights and low in calories. Ready in just half an hour, it definitely hits the spot when you need Italian comfort food!

Butternut and sage risotto

Thai coconut fish parcels

The Asian-inspired flavours of these Thai coconut fish parcels ensure that you can eat inspiring food even when you’re short of time or watching your weight. They’re ready in under 30 minutes, too

Thai coconut fish parcels

15-minute mushroom and tarragon stroganoff

This simple and speedy mushroom and tarragon stroganoff makes for a great, healthy midweek meal, ready in just 15 minutes and low in calories as well as being vegetarian

15-minute mushroom and tarragon stroganoff

Griddled tuna with olive and parsley salad

This quick recipe for tuna makes for an easy and healthy midweek meal, with oily fish packed with vitamins and omega 3. Serve with a green olive salad and new potatoes on the side

Griddled tuna with olive and parsley salad

Aubergine and sesame stir fry

A fast, easy and healthy vegetarian stir-fry. Baby aubergines cook in minutes and soak up the flavour of mirin to make a fast and filling midweek meal

Aubergine and sesame stir fry

Broccoli and roasted red pepper frittata 

This broccoli and roasted red pepper frittata makes for a quick, healthy and delicious midweek meal. It’s on the table in just 20 minutes, plus it’s low cal and 5:2 diet-friendly

Broccoli and roasted red pepper frittata

Grilled cod with salsa rossa

Simple but packed with flavour from the garlic, chilli and cinnamon, this colourful recipe for grilled cod with salsa rossa is quick and easy to make as well as being low in calories

Grilled cod with salsa rossa

Duck stir-fry with ginger and greens

Duck is easy to get right in this Asian stir fry with punchy ginger and pak choi. It’s easy to make and super healthy – and only takes 15 minutes to rustle up!

Duck stir-fry with ginger and greens

Chicken madras

This recipe for chicken madras is a really easy way to feed the family. Lower in calories and fat than creamy alternatives, this classic chicken curry packs a flavour punch and is full of satisfying protein

Chicken madras

Miso-glazed sea bass with ginger greens

Eating healthily doesn’t have to mean compromising on good food and flavours. This miso-glazed sea bass with ginger greens is quick and easy to make as well as being low cal

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Miso-glazed sea bass with ginger greens

Pork fillet with pepper stew

This recipe for pork fillet with pepper stew feeds 4 in less than an hour and comes in at under 200 calories – perfect for the 5:2 diet. Plus, you can freeze any extra – why not make extra at the weekend for easy midweek lunches and dinners?

Pork fillet with pepper stew

Need more healthy inspiration? Take a look at our favourite courgetti recipes now…

courgetti pea and artichoke


Compiled by Rachel Dinsdale