THE BLOG

Two and Five for the 5:2

15/04/2014 17:33 BST | Updated 15/06/2014 10:59 BST

Now that we're all supposed to be eating 10 portions of fruit and veg a day, it does make me wonder when exactly we're supposed to fit it all in. A quick bowl of sugar snaps before breakfast? A handful of kale with a mid-morning coffee? I think the Australian approach may be a better way to approach the inarguable need to inject fresher, more nutritious food into our lives: Down Under, they promote a 'two and five' slogan - that's two portions of fruit and five of veg a day. Think of it as an upgrade on the UK's five-a-day and it doesn't seem quite such a food mountain to climb.

I like, too, that 'two and five' echoes the mood (and sound) of the 5:2 diet. When Michael Mosley and I wrote the original Fast Diet book back in late 2012, we knew that the foundation for successful intermittent fasting was simple: eat 'mostly plants and protein' if you want to feel full and relatively content on a fast day. Later, we added the notion of the Double Vs - Volume and Variety - to incorporate the idea that what you really need is plenty of bulk - loads of steamed veggies, plenty of salad leaves, lots of different flavours, colours and textures to fill the plate and fill your boots on a fast day and beyond.

Next month sees the publication of The Fast Beach Diet - a new and enhanced version of the original 5:2 Fast Diet, designed to offer a revved-up six-week programme to take you off cruise control and give your 5:2 lifestyle a sensational summer-time boost. Think of it as the 'fast diet', only faster. It's packed with tips on how to subtly alter what you eat each day, whether you are fasting or not - and one of the prime intentions is to get more fresh fruit and veg onto your fork. One way is to embrace a more Mediterranean approach to cooking and eating, relying on the fresh produce of summer; another is to implement the 'rule of three-quarters' - changing the ratios of the food on your plate to allow for a much higher proportion of veg at the expense of the usual carbohydrates. Or how about having a meatless Monday, or becoming a 'demi vegi' and saving meat for an occasional treat?

The book includes dozens more ways to introduce healthier, fresher choices which should get your veg intake soaring. The idea is to make the change for a concerted period of just six weeks; follow the plan, and you'll find that you'll easily get your 'two and five' on the 5:2. And you're likely to lose weight too. What better start to the summer? And if you want kale with your coffee? Who am I to stop you?

The Fast Beach Diet by Mimi Spencer is published by Short Books, £7.99

For more on the Fast Diet, go to www.thefastbeachdiet.co.uk