5:2 Diet, Fast Days & Feast Days and Roast Tomato & Garlic Soup Recipe (70 Calories)

Roast Tomato and Garlic Soup for 5:2 Diet and WW

Roast Tomato and Garlic Soup for 5:2 Diet and WW

 5:2 Diet,

Fast Days & Feast Day

Roast Tomato & Garlic Soup Recipe

(70 Calories)

I am not a fan of “faddy diets” and yet I must admit to being fascinated about the latest 5:20 diet that was featured in Eat, Fast and Live Longer, part of the documentary featuring the  medical journalist Michael Mosley, where he set himself the challenge to live longer, stay younger as well as lose weight. If you want to catch up on the programme, you should still be able to view it on BBC iPlayer here: Eat, Fast and Live Longer. The “Fast Days” aren’t fast days as we might perceive them, but they are days when you eat considerably less calories than normal, and you need to have TWO of them a week, hence the title of The 5:2 Diet. The total calories allowed on the so-called fast days are: 600 calories for men and a suggested 400 to 500 for women. That may seem VERY low, but I now discover than I have been following this principal for at least TWENTY years on my Weight Watchers diet; basically, on the “points” diet that I have always followed, (and I think that the Pro Points diet may be the same) if you KNOW you have a day coming up where you are going out for a meal or you will be eating MORE than your daily recommended daily points allowance, you can “save” some of your points up from days where you go BELOW your daily allowance, BUT only over the period of ONE WEEK = Fast days then! 

Roast Tomato and Garlic Soup for the 5:2 Diet and Weight Watchers

Roast Tomato and Garlic Soup for the 5:2 Diet and Weight Watchers

 I LOVE going out and as you all may know by now, I LOVE baking and cooking, so these low-calorie days have always been on my agenda whether I am dieting or not……..it’s quite interesting to note, that I have in my own way been following the 5:2 diet principals! And this soup recipe is a BIG favourite or mine; roasted vegetables give BAGS of flavour and it’s flavour that is often missing when dieting, so it’s worth the extra time to roast the vegetables before pulsing them and making the soup, and, the other GREAT thing about this soup (for Weight Watchers as well as 5:2 dieters), is that one bowl only has 70 calories in it! So, on my low-calorie days, I can have at least two bowls of this soup, which will be ZERO points for WW, which is only 140 calories in real money!  I then supplement the rest of my calories with fruit, tea (no milk) and lots and lots of water…….the soup is tasty, it’s filling and at this time of the year you make a BIG batch up with any glut of tomatoes you may have from your allotments. Plus, the large amounts of garlic are excellent for your health too, so that’s why I often call this my “Magic Soup”! 

Roast Tomato and Garlic Soup for the 5:2 Diet and Weight Watchers

Roast Tomato and Garlic Soup for the 5:2 Diet and Weight Watchers

To talk more about the benefits of the 5:2 diet, here is some information that I found on the BBC Health News website:

Scientists are uncovering evidence that short periods of fasting, if properly controlled, could achieve a number of health benefits, as well as potentially helping the overweight, as Michael Mosley discovered.

I’d always thought of fasting as something unpleasant, with no obvious long-term benefits. So when I was asked to make a documentary that would involve me going without food, I was not keen as I was sure I would not enjoy it.

But the Horizon editor assured me there was great new science and that I might see some dramatic improvements to my body. So, of course, I said, “yes”.

I am not strong-willed enough to diet over the long-term, but I am extremely interested in the reasons why eating less might lead to increased life span, particularly as scientists think it may be possible to get the benefits without the pain.

How you age is powerfully shaped by your genes. But there’s not much you can do about that.

Calorie restriction, eating well but not much, is one of the few things that has been shown to extend life expectancy, at least in animals. We’ve known since the 1930s that mice put on a low-calorie, nutrient-rich diet live far longer. There is mounting evidence that the same is true in monkeys.

Growth hormone:

The world record for extending life expectancy in a mammal is held by a new type of mouse which can expect to live an extra 40%, equivalent to a human living to 120 or even longer.

It has been genetically engineered so its body produces very low levels of a growth hormone called IGF-1, high levels of which seem to lead to accelerated ageing and age-related diseases, while low levels are protective. Professor Longo has investigated growth hormone deficiency in humans A similar, but natural, genetic mutation has been found in humans with Laron syndrome, a rare condition that affects fewer than 350 people worldwide. The very low levels of IGF-1 their bodies produce means they are short, but this also seems to protect them against cancer and diabetes, two common age-related diseases.

The IGF-1 hormone (insulin-like growth factor) is one of the drivers which keep our bodies in go-go mode, with cells driven to reproduce. This is fine when you are growing, but not so good later in life.

There is now evidence suggesting that IGF-1 levels can be lowered by what you eat. Studies on calorie restrictors suggest that eating less helps, but it is not enough

As well as cutting calories you have to cut your protein intake. Not entirely – that would be a very bad idea. It’s about sticking to recommended guidelines, something most of us fail to do.

The reason seems to be that when our bodies no longer have access to food they switch from “growth mode” to “repair mode”.

As levels of the IGF-1 hormone drop, a number of repair genes appear to get switched on according to ongoing research by Professor Valter Longo of the University of Southern California.

Intermittent fasting:

One area of current research into diet is Alternate Day fasting (ADF), involving eating what you want one day, then a very restricted diet (fewer than 600 calories) the next, and most surprisingly, it does not seem to matter that much what you eat on non-fast days.

Dr Krista Varady of the University of Illinois at Chicago carried out an eight-week trial comparing two groups of overweight patients on ADF.

“If you were sticking to your fast days, then in terms of cardiovascular disease risk, it didn’t seem to matter if you were eating a high-fat or low-fat diet on your feed (non-fast) days,” she said.

I decided I couldn’t manage ADF, it was just too impractical. Instead I did an easier version, the so-called 5:2 diet. As the name implies you eat normally 5 days a week, then two days a week you eat 500 calories if you are a woman, or 600 calories, if you are a man.

There are no firm rules because so far there have been few proper human trials. I found that I could get through my fast days best if I had a light breakfast (scrambled eggs, thin slice of ham, lots of black tea, adding up to about 300 calories), lots of water and herbal tea during the day, then a light dinner (grilled fish with lots of vegetables) at night.

On my feed days I ate what I normally do and felt no need to gorge.

I stuck to this diet for 5 weeks, during which time I lost nearly a stone and my blood markers, like IGF-1, glucose and cholesterol, improved. If I can sustain that, it will greatly reduce my risk of contracting age-related diseases like cancer and diabetes.

Current medical opinion is that the benefits of fasting are unproven and until there are more human studies it’s better to eat at least 2000 calories a day. If you really want to fast then you should do it in a proper clinic or under medical supervision, because there are many people, such as pregnant women or diabetics on medication, for whom it could be dangerous.

I was closely monitored throughout and found the 5:2 surprisingly easy. I will almost certainly continue doing it, albeit less often. Fasting, like eating, is best done in moderation.

Michael Mosley checks his weight

Michael Mosley presents Horizon: Eat, Fast and Live Longer on BBC Two at 21:00 BST on Monday 6 August
Watch online afterwards via iPlayer (UK only) or browse Horizon clips at the above link
How you age is powerfully shaped by your genes. But there’s not much you can do about that.

Roast Tomato and Garlic Soup for the 5:2 Diet and Weight Watchers

Roast Tomato and Garlic Soup for the 5:2 Diet and Weight Watchers

I hope you find my post interesting, the point I was trying to make is that although the idea of fasting was fascinating, it really is JUST a label attached to something that I suspect that LOTS of us already do on a regular basis, and for me, it has rejuvenated my interest in having MORE regular Low Calorie “Soup and Fruit” days as I have always called them. The recipe for my lovely Roast Tomato and Garlic Soup is below, and I will be sharing many more low-calorie recipes over the next few weeks, that will hopefully help you if you are following the 5:2 Diet, or any diet come to that! Have a VERY happy and healthy Tuesday, and see you later with my VERY late Monday Meal Plan! Karen

Here are the links to my other 5:2 Diet Recipes; more to follow:

5:2 Diet, Fresh Fruit Salad Recipe

Pink Grapefruit and Prawn Salad suitable for 5:2 Diet and Weight Watchers

Barbecued Peaches with Honey and Lavender (5:2 Diet)

Roast Tomato and Garlic Soup for the 5:2 Diet and Weight Watchers

Roast Tomato and Garlic Soup for the 5:2 Diet and Weight Watchers

Roast Tomato & Garlic Soup

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 50 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack, Soup, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Barbecue, Casual Party, Formal Party, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentines day
Region British
By author Karen S Burns-Booth
An intensely rich and satisfying soup with attitude that is only 70 calories a bowl, this soup makes full use of a glut of tomatoes and the quantity can be increased for more people.


  • 500g (1lb 2ozs) ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 red onions, peeled & cut into wedges
  • 1 bulb garlic, divided into cloves, peeled
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded & quartered
  • low-fat cooking spray
  • 600ml (1 pint) hot vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt & black pepper
  • fresh basil to garnish


An intensely rich and satisfying soup with attitude that is only 70 calories a bowl, this soup makes full use of a glut of tomatoes and the quantity can be increased for more people.


Step 1 Preheat oven to 220C/400F/Gas Mark 7 and put the tomatoes, onions, garlic and red pepper into a large roasting tin; season with salt and pepper and spray over some low-fat spray. Roast for 45 minutes until the vegetables begin to char at the edges and they are soft.
Step 2 Remove the vegetables from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. then purée all the vegetables in a food processor with the stock, vinegar and Worcester sauce.
Step 3 Tip the purée into a saucepan and heat through for 3 to 5 minutes before serving with fresh basil leaves scattered over the soup.
Step 4 This soup is also wonderful chilled, cook as above and allow to go cold, if there is no room in the fridge, serve cold with a few ice cubes in the soup, and the basil leaves as before.
A Box of Allotment Vegetables

A Box of Allotment Vegetables

Are you following the 5:2 Diet plan?

Do you have low-calorie days and if so what is your favourite recipe?


    • says

      IT’s a great way to add flavour isn’t it? To roast the vegetables first? I DO have lots of sun-ripened tomatoes, I get them from a neighbour! Karen

      • jaimee says

        Hi, it’s mid-winter here and not a lovely sun-ripened tomato to be found! Have you tried this soup with canned tomatoes?

        • says

          Absolutely, this is JUST as good with tinned tomatoes, you may not get the roasted taste, but the garlic and red pepper adds great flavour!

    • Justin List says

      Made this soup today. Delicious. I had a double bowl size for 140 calories. Not only low calorie but all that veg! Making the tiger prawn curry tonight .

    • Faery says

      Just made this soup and it is soooo delicious, and remarkably filling. I’m living in Spain at the moment and can get 1kg of tomatoes for 1€, so this one is going on the regular menu!

  1. says

    Another food blogger following the 5/2 diet? Ugh starting to feel really guilty – I may have to get on board with you :-) Well maybe in a couple of weeks time! I do think variety is key to stop yourself getting bored and I’m sure you have a lot of relevant recipes at your disposal. Good Luck Karen – having lost weight on WW I am sure this will be fine for you :-)

    • says

      I am not really doing the 5:2 diet Jacqueline, I am on Weight Watchers, and have been (on and off) for years – I just have low cal days when I want to enjoy myself, and this soup (and fruit) is an easy BUT healthy way of having a low cal day with NO starvation!

  2. says

    We watched the programme with great interest last week, my husband has Type II diabetes so we are considering it but it involves being very organised which I can be but unfortunately the world has a way of turning against me when I am! Murphy’s Law is always proving it exists to me. I found it funny because it

    • says

      IT is an interesting diet, that’s why I posted this soup recipe, and I will post more recipes too, to help those who are considering it, as I have been practising low calorie days for years now and never realised how good it was for me!

  3. Jen Christieson says

    I am also a food blogger following this diet! I am on my 3rd fast day. Going to try your soup today, thank you!

    • says

      GOOD for you Jen, are you blogging about it? If so do let me know where, and I will pop over to give you some support! Karen PS: the soup is lovely – let me know if you make it! :-)

  4. says

    It is funny that I also think I have been subconciously following this sort of diet as I find about once a week I feel like I need a break from heavy meals and will just eat a light lunch and often a bowl of fruit salad for dinner then I am fine for the rest of the week.

    Your soup looks delicious, definitely one to try x

    • says

      Exactly what I have been doing too Catherine and I suspect LOTS of people do the same thing too…..for me, it is always fruit and soup! My sister has been staying with me lately and I NEED to have TWO days of fruit and soup after she leaves! Karen

  5. says

    Thank you for this recipe, Karen. I love soup, hate dieting, and feel the need to shed a few pounds from my waistline. My mum makes a lovely tomato and red pepper soup, using boiled water to skin the tomatoes, but roasting them would give an added depth to the flavour. This is one that I’ll definitely be trying out!

    • says

      Thanks Caro and I am glad you like the recipe too! This for me is an easy way to have a low calorie day without all the fuss and somehow a soup seems to fill you up too!

  6. says

    Lovely chilled soup. Love all those roasted flavours. I too think I’m on that diet anyway, it’s just the cake eating in between that gets me. Great post Karen. Very conscise and informative. One thing, do you have to do 5 days followed by 2 days or can you split the 2 days up? This wasn’t clear to me? Xx

    • says

      Thanks Dom, this soup is also delicious hot as well as cold, so very versatile. As for the 2 fast days, I have read (heard) that consecutive days are best, but I cannot manage that, so I do them when they fit in best with my lifestyle and what I am doing each week, usually before or after going out etc! Karen

  7. says

    Soup sounds lovely Karen. We did fasting on fruit and water in the 1980s, I don’t fancy it again, but what I’m doing is my own invention 50:50 diet it’s easy, you just eat half what you were eating before. It means that you don’t have to change to different food which, for me, should be much more sustainable. I’m going to do it for 8 weeks, so far so good!

    • says

      That is a GOOD idea Janice, the 50:50 diet and I MUST stress that I feel that the title 5:2 is JUST a title really, as I have been on a “fast day” principal for the last 20 years, insofar that I always have a LOW calorie day or days in every one week…..and most of the recipes that I make and eat, are normal food that I just eat LESS of anyway, so again, you and I are “fasting” in the sense of the 5:2 diet BUT in our own way, which is perfect for our lifestyles! This soup is delicious whether it is eaten as a 5:2 soup or as a NORMAL meal, and just like you, that’s the way I am trying to keep it! :-) Karen

  8. says

    This soup sounds great and easy to make too. I only wish I could get my hands on lovely tomatoes like the ones in your picture! How many mls in a bowl of soup?

    • says

      I am lucky with my tomatoes Jayne, the bowls are about 180 to 200 mls….depends on the size of bowl, but the whole recipe serves 4 people and the total calories in the recipe is 280 cals!

  9. Andrew McLoughlin says

    I was first made aware of the 5/2 diet from an arictle in Johns Hopkins magazine, which focused on the cognitive & neurological benefits of the fasting, which seems to protect against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other brain disease. Interesting read: http://magazine.jhu.edu/sites/default/files/magazine/JHM_Summer-2012.pdf

    As for recipes, I was chowing a good bit on beet greens earlier this summer, as they were abundant. Steamed until tender and then sauteed briefly with just a tiny bit of olive oil, lots of garlic, a dash of vinegar, and salt & pepper to taste. In general, vinegared greens are an excellent way to get by on fast days since you can essentially eat as much as you want without busting your caloric budget, IMHO.

    • says

      THANKS so much for your great meal tips Andrew, I particularly like the idea of greens steamed with garlic and vinegar etc. that sounds like my kind of food, and I agree, if you can eat more or less what you like, then that’s good psychologically too. Thanks for the link too, I am off to read it now; today’s recipe is a wonderful prawn and grapefruit salad, with a tangy Tabasco dip, and only 90 calories too! Karen

  10. says

    I have been following this 5:2 thing with much interest (usually while eating). It has yet to hit down under, but I’m sure it will pique similar interest. Either way, I think your recipes sound ideal whether you’re following it or not. There should surely be a diet for bloggers, all this time eating and sitting on our bottoms at our computers can’t be good for us!

    • says

      I know there should be a diet for bloggers Lucy! I have put on so much weight in a year, YIKES! But, I have lost a lot over the last 2 months and I am hoping that the 5:2 fast day boost might help now too! Karen

  11. says

    August Bank Holiday and I have just made your soup and have to say it is fantastic. I used a fig balsamic vinegar thae we just bought at http://www.caffedeli-italia.co.uk/ in Melton Mowbray. I love the depth of flavour with the garlic and I added an extra red pepper.

    Will absolutely be eating this on my fast days on Tues and Thurs (week 2) as felt so good after week 1 and lost weight.

    Many thanks I look forward to see many more 5 2 recipes as trying to make lots of flavour from a few calories that will fill you up takes imagination.

    • says

      I am SO pleased Renie, it is a LOVELY soup and so full of flavours, as all food should be when you are dieting! I lost 3lbs last week on my fast week and I am on day 1 for the next week tomorrow. I have posted lots of other 5:2 recipes, and they can be found under general in the index at the top of my blog. GOOD LUCK and we can do this together! :-) Karen

      • says

        A quick word of warning!!! I had this loverly soup at work today and when I came home my husband asked me how much garlic I had eaten as he could smell it from 4 feet away! What must the office have thought?! Will keep making this soup but won’t eat it if I am around others…ot maybe put in less garlic.

  12. Mike B says

    This soup was especially delicious, thank you. I’m on the 5:2 diet, following the Michael Mosley documentary. Now lost 6lbs in about three weeks. Very easy to do when the food is this tasty!

    One question: how do you calculate the calories in your recipes? I’ve just started to calorie count and there seems to be wide variation in what websites say about amounts of calories in different foods (in part, no doubt this reflects different sizes of e.g. eggs or tomatoes).

    • says

      Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know Mike, I am delighted that this soup hit the spot for you and one of your fast days! Well done on all of that weight loss too, you must be feeling better already.
      I calculate my calories with a nifty bit of software, that I subscribe to on-line, but it is a professional bit of kit, and I have my subscription paid for as I am a professional (paid) recipe developer. You can access many on-line calorie counter sites however, and this one seems to be popular: http://caloriecount.about.com/
      I always try to specify size of eggs as well size of tomatoes, but really the difference between a small tomato and a medium size one is about 6 calories, and a small egg is 60 calories and a medium egg is 69 calories, so not a huge amount of difference!

  13. says

    Hi Karen

    Just found your blog. I also wrote a blog about the Fasting diet – different tone and hopefully will make you smile. http://www.magnificentageing.com/the-latest-fitness-fad/

    I love that you’re giving us recipes to help support this concept. Even though I was a bit flippant in my blog, I do think it’s a great idea and am attempting to follow the alternate days regime. Some days it doesn’t quite work but even on those days when I’m supposed to be fasting and a friend phones up and says, ‘fancy a pizza’ I still cut back significantly on food; I might have one slice instead of three, so it is doing me good regardless.

    I guest blog and will be putting my blog on other sites. I’ll make sure I mention your website. Visually it looks great too. You are a good photographer!

    Every success Karen. I’ll sign up for your new posts.

    • says

      Hi Penelope!

      Lovely to meet you and I shall pop over to see your blog later….

      Thanks so much for your helpful and supportive comments and if you need any guest blog posts with photos from me, just shout; likewise, I am happy to have you guest blog here too!

      I have been pretty strict and thus 3 kilos has tumbled off me over the last 3 weeks – which is fabulous, and makes me embrace the next week’s fasting days with more vigour!

      Anyway, I am about to pop over to see you, PLEASE do add my blog and any features you like, and let me know so I can go to visit them!


  14. says

    This 5:2 diet reminds me of my weightwatcher days as well, and of how I eat most of the time now days. When I did WW there was a plan people called the Wendy plan where you would add up your points for the week and plan a super low point day followed by a super high point day, the theory being that it would keep your metabolism from plateauing. This soup looks really delish! There are some late season tomatoes still kicking around my corner of the world, so if I can get my hands on some before they disappear I’ll give this a try!

    • says

      Thanks Katie, yes that is right, I am a lifelong weight watchers member and this 5:2 diet is basically what I used to do/still do when I am on the WW diet – if I was going out for the weekend or to dinner, I would go very low calorie (points) for 2 or 3 days and save my points for when I knew I needed them! Do give this soup a to as it is delicious when the tomatoes are roasted, and let me know what you think! Karen

  15. says

    Have just made this – absolutely delicious! Im starting the 5:2 this week and this has definitely spurred me on that there are lots of great recipes to try!

    I look forward to reading more…..

    Big Thank You!

    Laura :)

  16. Anne says

    I’m not only following the 5:2 diet but am gluten- free as well. My daughter found your website and told me to check it out. Am I glad I did! I’ve just made your roasted tomato soup after raiding the garden and larder and finding all the ingredients I needed. It is really delicious and so easy to make. I plan to try the cauliflower pizza crust next. Thank you.

  17. Catherine says

    Hi Karen, I’ve just made a batch of this soup and can’t wait to eat it but I’m just wondering how long can you keep it in the fridge for? I usually do the 2 fasting days on Monday and Wednesday so I’m wondering will the second lot keep until wed as I know onions can be a bit tempremental?

    • says

      SNAP! I also do my fasting days on Monday and Wednesday Catherine, and if I make this soup on Monday, it is perfectly fine to serve and eat on Wednesday – it’s always been just fine and my onions have been very well behaved! Karen

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