Search This Blog

Search This Blog

5:2 Diet - Simple Tomato Sauce

5:2 Diet - Simple Tomato Sauce

In my opinion, you just can't beat a simple, fresh tomato sauce on pasta. It just sings with flavour. It's also a low calorie sauce, which is great if you are on a diet.

For those of you who don't know, I'm following the 5:2 diet. I'm finding it really easy and I've lost half a stone so far, which is pretty good considering I was on holiday a couple of weeks ago and that week was filled with restaurant meals and lots of wine. I seem to be losing 1lb a week.

Here is a wee overview of the diet:

5:2 Diet Explained

  1. Our bodies have  a growth hormone called IGF -1. As a child this is what helps our bodies grow, but as adults it ages us.
  2. High levels of IGF-1 can lead to diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
  3. Lowering your levels of IGF-1 can help prevent against these diseases and can be done through your diet.
  4. When lowering your IGF-1 levels, growth stops and your body starts to repair cells. It also uses up your glucose and starts to burn fat, so you also lose weight.

 Following the 5:2 Diet

  1. To follow the 5:2 diet a man should eat under 600 calories and a woman should eat under 500 calories twice a week.
  2. These days should not be taken together.
  3. You can spread the calories out over the day. There isn't enough research to tell us how we should spread these calories out.
  4. Drink lost of water and/or green tea.
  5. On your 5 non-fast days you can eat normally.
I prefer to leave most of my calories until the evening, but you have to do what works best for you.

I often have Heinz squeeze and stir Minestrone Soup for lunch. It's so handy to take to work. It's a concentrated soup. You just squeeze it into a cup and top up with boiling water. It's filling and only 77 calories. If I have this for lunch, I have plenty of calories left to have a piece of fruit in the afternoon and a decent meal at night. It's great for those days when you just aren't prepared!

This pasta dish is quite substantial for an evening meal.  I used a third of the tomato sauce served on 60g (50 pieces of penne, yes I counted it for you, you can thank me later!)

The sauce has 63 calories per portion and 60g of penne has 213 calories, which is 276 calories in total.

If you have saved more calories over the day, you can have a bigger portion.

I would recommend dividing the sauce into three and freezing two of the portions in separate containers so you have a portion ready for a fast day. The sauce freezes well.

Try this sauce with Vegan Chickpea 'Meatballs'

print recipe

Simple Tomato Sauce
This beautifully simple sauce has 190 calories, that's just 63 calories per portion. There is enough to generously serve two. If you are having a more modest portion, it will happily serve three.
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • a few leaves fresh basil, finely chopped or torn
  • a good grinding of salt & black pepper
1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic. Saute the onion until it is soft and translucent. If it sticks a little, add a splash of water.2. Add the tomatoes and tomato puree and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes until thick.3. Season with salt and pepper and add the fresh basil.4. Serve over freshly cooked pasta.
Total time:
Yield: Serves 3

Calorie breakdown

Tomato Sauce

Serves 3

1 tsp olive oil = 40 calories
1 medium onion = 44 calories
1 clove of garlic = 4 calories
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes = 88 calories
1 tbsp tomato puree = 14 calories

Total  = 190 calories
Total calories per serving = 63 calories

Penne Pasta

uncooked weight

60g (50 pieces) = 213 calories

Penne Pasta and Sauce 

276 calories


Tomato and Roasted Pepper Tomato Sauce

If you like this recipe try my Tomato and Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce, which comes in at 108 calories per portion. Serve with a mixture of courgette noodles and spaghetti, to cut down on the pasta calories.

Disclosure: I have not been sponsored by Heinz, nor do I have any relationship with them. I am just passing on my own tips.


  1. Thank you for this it's a great help. I started the 5.2 diet last week and I lost 2.1kg. A friend of mine in a forum put me onto your blog as I am also a vegetarian and have been for the last 40 years or so. Great blog.

    1. Thanks Pegasus :)

      You are doing really well! I know you will enjoy this easy sauce :)

  2. Morning Jacqueline,
    Interesting stuff. I had friends up last weekend and they have been on this diet for the last 8 weeks too. Lina's lost just over half a stone and James has lost a stone. They aren't even finding the "fasting" days a big hardship as tomorrow's not far away. Are you the same?
    W x

    1. I find the same Wendy, although I find them easier to do when I am at work, it is just resisting a glass of wine at night. That is the tricky bit :)

    2. Think I'd be the same with the wine! Would like to lose a couple of kilos myself and might do this for a month or two. Not during the holidays though! Like you, I think I'll find it easier when I'm not at home for so much of the day.

    3. It is easier to have a set portion of something with you at work instead of having a kitchen full of food, just calling out to you, lol!

      I urge you to do it though Wendy, it is so easy and you don't feel like you are on a diet because you eat what you want on the days in between. The health benefits shouldn't be forgotten either :)

  3. Everyone needs a stand by tomato pasta sauce recipe. This looks so fresh and delicious.

    1. Thanks Chele, it really is and It's amazing how good it really when it is so simple.

  4. Thanks! Another great 5:2 idea to add to my collection! I've been doing it for 10 weeks now and I've lost a stone but I'm finding I'm losing much less now I'm getting towards my target weight. I might have to supplement with exercise soon :(

    1. Wow, that is amazing Nic! You have done so well. I think it will take me a bit longer to get there.

  5. Hi Jacqueline, I would starve without my pasta sauce I'm sure! I wasn't aware that the fast days had to be apart from each other. Is this a new piece of advice do you know? I tried it but with the fast days together (that's how I read it) and I found it impossible to follow. If this is the case then it may well be achievable for me.. Thanks, Sarah

    1. Hey Sarah, Dr Michael Moseley who presented the Horizon programme stated that they should not be taken together. As he has spoken and worked with the experts and has carried on the diet himself, I am happy to follow that advice. I also think it is more sustainable :)

    2. Absolutely! I don't know where I got the idea from that they had to be two days in a row??? I had really bad headaches and felt generally terrible on day 2, so I might actually go back and give it a go again.. One day at a time is definitely sustainable. Thanks :)

  6. That sounds like a nice recipe. As I seem to be on a pasta kick at the moment I'll have to give it a try soon. As for losing weight though, I seem to have stopped. I don't know if my portion sizes have started growing back to their old levels or if it's just because I don't really get any exercise. I suspect it's a bit of both.

    1. Your weight has maybe levelled out Mike. If not, start counting the calories on your fast days.

      It's a great sauce Mike, you might like to put a slosh of red wine in too :)

  7. Heinz squeezy soups - genius idea. The recipe is really good too.

    1. They are very convenient, then you can have a lovely homecooked meal at night. Much fewer calories than my homemade soup. Not as nice, but great if you want to save your calories for the evening.

  8. This is the first I have heard of this diet. I'm a disabled middle aged lady and so exersise is very limited but after reading some of the comments on line I am quite looking forward to trying this diet. I will wait till I return from holiday on the 11th of jan & then I will start. It will be nice to have the input from others to compare my progress with.

    1. It is a great way of maintaining or losing weight and the health benefits are fabulous. Good luck with it. Good idea to start after your holiday. I am having a break for Christmas, but will get back on with it soon.

  9. This is a fantastic staple for a busy weekday dinner. I have often used a similar recipe from Ursula Ferrigno's book "Real Fast Vegetarian Food", which adds a tablespoon of wine to the mixture (sherry is a great substitute)and a small amount of veggie stock. You can ring the changes by adding red pepper, olives and capers without adding too many extra calories. If I'm in a pasta mood on the 5:2 diet, I like to "save up" my calorie allowance by having a light breakfast, maybe berries and yogurt or porridge made with water and a pinch of salt, then enjoying a decent helping of wholewheat penne, tom sauce and an avocado and tomato salad, dressed with lemon juice. If I feel hungry during the day, I have a mug of green tea and remind myself how much I will appreciate my dinner when it comes!

    1. Great idea to add the peppers, olives and capers, that would add a lot of flavour.

  10. There are, obviously, a heap of diets to browse. I just need to examine ten diets of which I am recognizable.


I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x