The 5:2 Diet for Busy People: Time-Saving Strategies

Have you heard of the 5:2 diet? The idea behind this popular weight loss method is to eat normally for five days of the week, and then limit your calorie intake to 500-600 calories for the other two days. This can result in significant weight loss over time without having to drastically change your eating habits every day.

But what about busy people?

For those of us with jam-packed schedules, the idea of setting aside time to plan and prepare low-calorie meals for two days out of the week can seem daunting. However, with a few time-saving strategies, the 5:2 diet can be just as manageable for busy people as it is for anyone else.

Strategy #1: Prep Your Meals in Advance

One of the biggest hurdles to following any diet is finding the time to prepare healthy meals. This is especially true for the 5:2 diet, where you need to be extra mindful of your calorie intake on the two fasting days. To save time, try prepping your meals in advance. This means planning out what you’re going to eat in advance, and setting aside time on one of your non-fasting days to prepare everything you’ll need.


  • On Sunday, plan out your meals for the week, including what you’ll eat on your two fasting days.
  • On Monday evening, spend an hour or two doing all your meal prep for the week, including chopping vegetables, cooking meats, and portioning everything out into containers.

Strategy #2: Choose Simple, Low-Calorie Recipes

When you’re short on time, there’s no need to get fancy with your meals. Stick to simple, low-calorie recipes that are easy to make in large batches. This will save you time during the week, and ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need without overdoing it on calories.


  • On your fasting days, aim for meals that are high in protein and low in calories. Some good options include grilled chicken or fish with steamed vegetables, or a hearty vegetable soup made with low-sodium broth.
  • On your non-fasting days, stick to healthy, balanced meals that include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Strategy #3: Use Time-Saving Kitchen Tools

There are a bunch of kitchen tools out there that can help you save time in the kitchen. Here are a few worth investing in:


  • A slow cooker: Prep your meals in the morning, toss everything in the slow cooker, and let it do the work for you while you go about your day.
  • A food processor: Quickly chop vegetables and shred meat to make meal prep a breeze.
  • An Instant Pot: Cook everything from soups and stews to meats and grains in a fraction of the time it would take on the stovetop.

Strategy #4: Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand

When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to avoid mindless snacking throughout the day. However, if you’re someone who gets hungry between meals, it’s a good idea to keep healthy snacks on hand. This will keep you from reaching for unhealthy snacks when hunger strikes, and it can also help you stay on track with your calorie goals.


  • Some good options for healthy snacks include fresh fruit, raw veggies with hummus, low-fat cheese and crackers, or a handful of nuts.
  • If you’re feeling especially snacky on your fasting days, try snacking on celery or cucumbers, both of which are low in calories and high in fiber.

Strategy #5: Plan Your Non-Fasting Days Carefully

On the 5:2 diet, your non-fasting days are just as important as your fasting days. This is when you’ll be eating normally, and it’s important to make sure you’re making healthy choices to support your weight loss goals.


  • Try to eat a healthy breakfast every day to kickstart your metabolism. This could include whole-grain toast with avocado and scrambled eggs, or Greek yogurt with fresh berries and honey.
  • Stick to healthy, balanced meals that include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
  • Avoid eating out too frequently, as it can be difficult to know exactly what’s in the food you’re eating.


1. Can I eat whatever I want on my non-fasting days?

No, it’s important to stick to healthy, balanced meals on your non-fasting days to support your weight loss goals.

2. Can I drink coffee or tea on my fasting days?

Yes, you can drink coffee or tea on your fasting days as long as you don’t add any sugar or cream.

3. How many meals should I eat on my fasting days?

It’s up to you. Some people prefer to eat one large meal, while others prefer to split their calories into two smaller meals.

4. Can I exercise on my fasting days?

Yes, you can exercise on your fasting days, but be mindful of how you feel. Depending on your fitness level, you may need to scale back your workouts on fasting days to avoid feeling lightheaded or fatigued.

5. How long should I stick to the 5:2 diet?

As with any diet, it’s important to check in with your doctor before starting the 5:2 diet. Depending on your weight loss goals, you may want to stick to the diet for a few months or longer.


The 5:2 diet can be a great way to lose weight without having to make drastic changes to your eating habits every day. By prepping your meals in advance, choosing simple low-calorie recipes, using time-saving kitchen tools, keeping healthy snacks on hand, and planning your non-fasting days carefully, you can make the diet work for even the busiest of schedules.

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