What is The Flexitarian Diet?

The Flexitarian Diet was written by Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD and can be described as a flexible version of the vegetarian diet. The ability to be “flexible” means that although the diet is primarily plant-based, meat can be eaten on occasion. According to the author, it is possible to experience the health benefits of being a vegetarian while still eating small amounts of meat. One of the goals of the diet is to help people transition to eating less meat and make a plant-based approach more sustainable.

How does The Flexitarian Diet work?

The Flexitarian Diet emphasizes a plant-based diet that is made up of fresh, natural, and seasonal foods. Some staple items from the pantry and freezer are allowed, but in moderation. The plan also encourages approximately 50 grams of protein daily from sources other than meat. Flexitarians can choose from several meal plans offered in the book, which allow dieters to customize and experiment with a number of calorie-controlled options designed to satisfy the palette and appetite.

A typical day on the Flexitarian Diet might look like almond butter toast with apples for breakfast, a vegetarian burger on a whole grain bun with avocado and sprouts for lunch, pineapple and nuts for a snack, and a tofu vegetable brown rice stir-fry for dinner. Dessert might be a skim or soy milk hot chocolate with cinnamon. On a rare meat day, chicken can be substituted for tofu in the stir-fry.

What foods can be eaten on The Flexitarian Diet?

The Flexitarian Diet emphasizes plant-based foods and allows dairy. Foods to include are:

  • Tofu
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Beans and legumes
  • Dairy
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts and seeds

What foods are restricted on The Flexitarian Diet?

The Flexitarian Diet limits only two “groups” of food. Those are:

  • Animal protein
  • Processed foods

Who should try The Flexitarian Diet?

Individuals who are looking to reduce their consumption of animal protein, either to loss weight or for heart health, should do well on The Flexitarian Diet. The diet does offer a flexible approach that many will find do-able. The author of the book offers various recipes that include only five items to make meal preparation easy. Shopping lists are also provided.

Who would have a difficult time implementing The Flexitarian Diet?

Individuals who eat large amounts of animal protein and who feel their body “needs” protein from such a source to function properly may have a difficult time implementing this diet. Because the diet also emphasizes whole foods, individuals who rely on processed and packaged food instead of preparing fresh meals, may have difficulty transitioning.