What Is The Flexitarian Diet?

These days plant-based diets are all the range, with more and more people adopting vegetarian and vegan food plans than ever before. A balanced plant-based diet boasts many benefits, from lowering body mass index and high blood pressure, to decreasing the risk of strokes, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and more. However, going full vegetarian or vegan isn’t for everyone, which is where the flexitarian diet comes in…

What does it involve?

The flexitarian diet has been labelled ‘casual vegetarianism’ and is essentially another plant-based diet designed to improve overall health and fitness, through a food plan that’s mostly vegetarian, yet allows for the odd meat or fish dish.

With many people wishing to take a more environmentally sustainable approach to what they’re consuming, this type of diet has been consistently on the rise. Flexitarians take the decision to start seeking out alternative, plant-based protein sources, whilst reducing their meat consumption.

What are the benefits?

The diet is essentially encouraging people to add new food options to their usual meal plans. In particular, health boosting plant-based foods – such as lentils and beans, which contain soluble fibres for reducing high cholesterol – along with plenty of nuts and seeds, to help provide essential fatty acids.

Plant foods tend to be rich in antioxidants, which can reduce the risk of cancer, and they also contain phytochemicals that can help keep cells young and disease-free. A flexitarian diet can offer all these added health benefits, without the need for someone to completely abandon the meat or fish dishes that they currently enjoy.

Consuming more plant-based whole foods, which are low in fat and processed sugars, will also help with weight loss, and increase the intake of vitamins and minerals.

What to eat?

As per the name, the diet does not endorse a strict food plan, and is fairly flexible when it comes to the rules on what foods can be consumed. It’s important to remember that the diet is not just concerned with eating less meat and fish dishes, it’s about encouraging smarter, healthier food choices in general. Including, consuming more minimally-processed meals, along with much more nutrient rich vegetables, fruits, grains, and dairy.

Following the flexitarian diet will generally mean introducing much more plant-based foods into every meal – adding plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grain options in amongst the intake of meat dishes.

The diet recommends including alternative sources of iron, as opposed to relying on red meat consumption. Other options for iron intake include, iron-fortified breakfast cereals, broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, and other dark green, leafy vegetables. Also, sweet peppers and tomatoes are great examples of vitamin C sources, which can help increase iron absorption.

Protein-rich meat substitutes like lentils, peas, tofu, nuts and seeds are all recommended for the diet plan, to make sure the daily dose of protein is met.

Have you started a flexitarian diet? Or are you simply looking to change up what you eat?

At Prep Perfect, we’re all about encouraging a healthy and nutritiously balanced diet, and we can help you achieve your goals – whether you want to be vegetarian, vegan, or you want to try the flexitarian roote.

If you’re looking to improve your diet, stay in shape, and get healthier – take a look at our Gourmet Menu, Meal Plans or our Mixed Maintenance Meal Plan today.