The 5-2 Challenge. Resetting My Appetite Thermostat. A Bowl of Puy Lentil and Vegetable Soup.

lentil soup

Let me preface this by saying I have always had a more than healthy appetite for good food. In my younger days I didn’t really have to think about how much or what I ate. Being naturally lean and moderately athletic I seemed to burn calories at a rate of knots. Sometimes I wish I could wind back the clock. Just a little.

I’m pretty sure this challenge is working for me. And no I’m not jumping on scales any time soon. My clothes are looser and I’m feeling terrific. Eating less just two days a week seems to have helped reset my appetite thermostat. It’s my fourth fast day on the 5-2 challenge. I definitely don’t feel as hungry as on those first three fast days.  I’m also finding it easier to stick with my restricted 500 calorie eating plan. Today I  even baked a slice. Without licking the spatula, beaters or bowls. That’s a big deal in my world. Come to think of it I’m naturally reducing my portion sizes on my feast days. Simply because I’m feeling fuller faster.

Today started out pretty much the same way as my other fast days. Lots of pots of tea. Mid morning I feel hungry and boil an egg. In the early afternoon I have a late lunch, a tomato, fennel and cos lettuce salad dressed with a little white balsamic vinegar. I’m drinking bottles of sparkling mineral water. It’s a busy day and I barely have time to think about food. That obviously helps as well.

Dinner is a nourishing bowl of Puy lentil and vegetable soup. The perfect meal solution for a fast day. Low in calories, filling and delicious. A neat trick I learned from my Nana was to never throw away the rind of parmesan cheese. Save it, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator and throw it into a pot of vegetable soup. The rind imparts a wonderful rich flavour. And more importantly adds minimal calories. Today was my easiest fast day yet. Tomorrow morning I’m looking forward to trying a square of that slice. My family tells me it is delicious.

Breakfast 2 cups of tea

1 x 60 g boiled egg



Lunch Fennel, tomato and cos lettuce salad


Mid Afternoon 2 cups of tea


Dinner 2 cups Puy lentil and vegetable soup


1 cup of tea


Total Calories


lentil soup

Puy Lentil and Vegetable Soup

10 Cups – 83 calories per cup 

1 tablespoon olive oil (120 calories)
1 onion, diced (46 calories)
1 leek, white part only, finely chopped (54 calories)
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped (73 calories)
4 cloves garlic, finely (16 calories)
1 small red chilli, finely chopped (1 calorie)
2 carrots, peeled and diced (50 calories)
2 capsicums, peeled and diced (74 calories)
2 zucchini, finely chopped (60 calories)
1/8 head cauliflower, finely chopped (20 calories)
3 tomatoes, peeled and diced (66 calories)
2 bay leaves
4 stalks parsley, finely chopped (2 calories)
2 generous handfuls puy lentils (150 calories)
1 litre (4 cups) stock (50 calories)
the rind of  a piece of parmesan cheese (50 calories)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

PLACE oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
ADD onion, leeks and fennel. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until tender and translucent.
ADD carrots, chilli and garlic. Cook until fragrant then add capsicum, zucchini and cauliflower. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender.
STIR in tomatoes, parsley and puy lentils. Then add stock, bay leaves and the ring of parmesan cheese.
BRING to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for half an hour.
REMOVE the bay leaves and parmesan rind from the soup.
LADLE into bowls to serve.

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2 Responses to The 5-2 Challenge. Resetting My Appetite Thermostat. A Bowl of Puy Lentil and Vegetable Soup.

  1. Pingback: The 5-2 Challenge. Winter Greens. Radicchio and Endive Salad with Fennel, Apple, Crisp Pancetta and Roasted Hazelnuts. | The Paddington Foodie

  2. Your winter salad is also one of my favourites.
    This is another one I’ll share with you:

    Shaved red cabbage
    Shaved fennel
    Currents plumped up in hot water for a while
    Pickled spanish onion in very little sugar and red wine vinegar (1 hour at least)
    Shredded poached chicken breast (don’t need much)

    Toss with your low cal dressing of choice.

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