If you haven’t heard of the 5:2 Diet, here is a quick primer on it. The concept is that you eat normally for five days out of the week without limitations on calories or fat. Two days out of the week, though, you limit your caloric intake to just 25% of what you would normally consume. For men, the caloric limit on those two fasting days is around 600 calories, and for women it is around 500 calories.
Trying to find recipes for those fasting days may be a little difficult, if not slightly limiting. Below is a recipe specifically designed for those fasting days that are low in calories, but not short on flavor. The one thing to remember about creating meal choices for low caloric days is to focus on spices. They often have little to no caloric impact on your meal, yet they are powerful tools to bring out the flavors of your food and even each other. This recipe serves two people.
Herb Crusted Baked Chicken Breast
2 medium sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon chopped basil (fresh or dried)
¼ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chopped parsley (fresh or dried)
A dash of chili powder or sweet paprika (optional, depending on the heat you want)
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Low fat cooking spray
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Coat a shallow glass or metal pan large enough to comfortably fit both chicken breasts with the low fat cooking spray.
Cut small slits in the surface of each chicken breast with the tip of a very sharp knife. This helps the chicken to absorb more of the flavors of the spices. Place them into the cooking pan.
Combine all of the ingredients (with the exception of the vegetable broth) into a small bowl. Rub the mixture all around the chicken – tops and bottoms – with your hands. Use your fingers to get the spices into the slits that you cut earlier. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling the raw chicken.
Spray a little of the low fat cooking spray once again over the tops of the chicken breasts – enough to moisten the spices but not drown them.
Pour the vegetable stock into the pan around the chicken, not over them. You don’t want to wash off the spices, but just create a pool around the chicken.
Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through. The crust should have a nice golden brown color with a slightly crisp coating.
Once they are fully cooked, remove them from the pan and slice them into manageable pieces. Place them over a fresh salad, or you may serve them with one half of a cup of cooked vegetables, rice or pasta.