A Nutritionist on the Advantages of a Flexitarian Eating regimen. Plus, a 7-Day Meal Plan

In search of a weight loss plan revamp in 2022? One which doesn’t contain counting energy or tremendous strict guidelines? Look no additional than the flexitarian weight loss plan—in any other case often known as consuming “principally vegetation” in keeping with Michael Pollan. As we enter the brand new yr, there’s by no means been a greater season to give attention to vegetables. It’s an opportune time to offer flexitarian-ism a strive. With this method, the purpose isn’t to swear off meat—notably in case you take pleasure in consuming animal protein. In any case, high-quality meat is filled with health benefits. Moderately, a flexitarian method is about constructing a plate that shifts the ratio from principally animals to principally vegetation. In flip, creating scrumptious (and nutritious!) meals. Let’s dig in.

What Does Flexitarian Imply?

As a flexitarian, you eat a principally vegetarian weight loss plan. Sometimes, you eat meat. Merely put, it’s a semi-vegetarian life-style. By definition, the flexitarian weight loss plan is a mix of the phrases “versatile” and “vegetarian.” It’s a cross between being a full-fledged vegan and consuming animal merchandise now and again. This method to consuming—also referred to as a flexitarian weight loss plan—strikes a steadiness between taste and pleasure, and diet and sustainability.

What Is the Flexitarian Eating regimen?

Just like the Mediterranean diet, the flexitarian weight loss plan is much less of a weight loss plan and extra of a life-style. In essence, the flexitarian weight loss plan is synonymous with ‘versatile vegetarianism.’ A majority of the time, you load up on fruits, veggies, legumes, grains, plant-based sources of protein, and so on.

Flexitarian is a wedding of two phrases: versatile and vegetarian. The time period was coined greater than a decade in the past by Registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner in her 2009 guide, The Flexitarian Eating regimen: The Principally Vegetarian Option to Lose Weight, Be More healthy, Stop Illness and Add Years to Your Life. By a flexitarian method, she encourages minimizing meat with out excluding it altogether. It’s an inclusive consuming plan. That means, it’s much less about taking away meals and extra about including to the meals you already eat. It steadily guides you to eat extra veggies whereas nonetheless having fun with your favourite meats. 

How Does the Flexitarian Diet Work?

As the name implies, it’s all about flexibility. You have a range of options: Flexible meal plans, meat-substitute recipes, and more. Plus it’s a helpful way to introduce vegetarianism into a family’s current lifestyle. In essence, this semi-vegetarian diet focuses on healthy plant proteins and other whole, minimally processed plant-based foods. It encourages meat and animal products, but in moderation. But, what does this imply? Depending on your commitment level to the flexitarian diet, you could be consuming 9-28 ounces of meat per week. In the end, that’s the fantastic thing about this fashion of consuming, you’ll be able to select how a lot to chop down. And, you are able to do it steadily. 

How one can Eat Much less Meat

If you happen to’re overwhelmed by reducing down your meat consumption, don’t fret. Consuming much less meat is akin to steadily reducing again on caffeine. To begin, forgo meat two days per week. To start with, goal for not more than 3-ounces (a few card-deck-sized portion) of meat throughout mealtimes. One month later, give attention to following a full vegetarian weight loss plan three to 4 days per week. Restrict meat consumption to 18-ounces of meat in the course of the different days. Finally, comply with a vegetarian weight loss plan for at the least 5 days per week. Once you do eat meat, attempt to restrict it to below 10 ounces. Moreover, whenever you do eat meat, goal for high quality over amount. If potential, select natural, pasture-raised, grass-fed, and/or wild-caught animal protein. 

Health Benefits of the Flexitarian Diet

You might be wondering—is the flexitarian diet a healthy option to consider? The short answer: Yes. According to Dawn Jackson Blatner, flexitarians weigh 15% much less, have a decrease price of coronary heart illness, diabetes, and most cancers, and dwell 3.6 years longer than their carnivorous counterparts. In accordance with Cleveland Clinic, different advantages embody improved coronary heart well being, weight reduction, decreased danger of kind 2 diabetes, and environmental stewardship.

The flexitarian weight loss plan can be simple to comply with, might help you get monetary savings, and might support in satiation (from consuming extra nuts, seeds, and wholesome fat). At any price, it emphasizes prioritizing and consuming produce. In flip, it will doubtless minimize down in your consumption of salt and sugar-laden processed and packaged meals.

Disadvantages of the Flexitarian Eating regimen

Whereas the cons are few, chances are you’ll really feel disadvantaged on the flexitarian weight loss plan. In essence, like all diets, consuming this fashion has the potential to really feel restrictive. Nonetheless, this actually is determined by your why behind taking a flexitarian method and your general relationship with meals. Secondly, chances are you’ll really feel tempted to replenish on processed meals. Moderately than change meat with junk and processed choices, maintain wholesome snacks available: Uncooked walnuts, recent fruit, meal prepped veggies and hummus, hard-boiled eggs, and so on. Lastly, be conscious of your B12 and iron ranges. Each of those are important for vitality and are considerable in animal protein. As a reminder, seek the advice of your healthcare doctor earlier than making adjustments to your weight loss plan. 

Foods to Eat As a Flexitarian

Aim to eat the least processed, most natural form of foods. Don’t worry about counting calories! IF you’re eating plant-based foods that come from the earth, you’re getting fiber and a variety of micro and macronutrients. This style of eating is meant to be inclusive, so here’s what to add to your grocery list:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Plant proteins (beans such as black, kidney or navy, edamame, chickpeas, lentils, tofu)
  • Whole grains (brown rice, oats, barley, and quinoa)
  • Plant-based milk (although dairy milk is fine in moderation)
  • Eggs
  • Dairy (cheese, yogurt, or dairy alternatives)
  • Meat and seafood, in moderation

Tips Before Starting the Flexitarian Diet

Before getting started, skim through this checklist:

  1. Fuel up on whole foods. Eat plenty of healthy whole foods, like legumes and beans, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and eggs (if you’re flexi-vegetarian). These contain protein and complex carbs, helping you feel satiated. Don’t forget healthy fats, like coconut oil and avocado. 
  2. Opt for high quality meat. To help you get your B12 and iron levels, consider red meat, like lamb and beef or fatty fish (salmon) and shellfish. When you do eat meat or animal, try to make it intentional.
  3. Start slow. You can ease into the flexitarian diet and define your own version of it. Furthermore, try new recipes! Michael Pollan’s book, Mostly Plants is a resourceful, scrumptious place to begin.

7-Day Flexitarian Meal Plan

Wholesome, delectable—and mostly plants—we put together a delicious flexitarian meal plan. These recipes are packed with nourishing foods, made with fridge and pantry staples. Happy eating! 


  1. Superfood Porridge (candy or savory!) by Camille Kinds.
  2. Banh Mi Sandwich by Love & Lemons.
  3. Chickpea Caesar Salad by Minimalist Baker.


  1. Root Vegetable Hash Egg Skillet by Naturally Ella
  2. Leftover Chickpea Caesar Salad
  3. Roasted Veggie Glow Bowls by Dishing Out Well being


  1. Green Protein Power Breakfast Smoothie by I really like Vegan
  2. Leftover Roasted Veggie Glow Bowls
  3. Ultimate Veggie Pizza by Cookie + Kate


  1. Protein Chia Pudding Cups by Match Foodie Finds
  2. Lentil Salad by Really feel Good Foodie
  3. Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili by Camille Kinds


  1. Tofu Scramble by Nora Cooks
  2. Leftover Lentil Salad
  3. Black Bean Tacos With Mango Salsa by Camille Kinds


  1. Hummus Avocado Toast by Consuming Hen Meals
  2. Leftover Candy Potato & Black Bean Chili
  3. Tempeh Lettuce Wraps by Wholesome Nibbles


  1. Morning Glory Muffins by The Pure Nurturer
  2. Lentil Burgers by Cooking For Peanuts
  3. Ginger Miso Soba Soup by Fork Knife Swoon

Will you give the flexitarian weight loss plan a strive?

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