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How to Eat a Flexitarian Diet

by Kevin

Introduction

Diets that are vegetarian or vegan have been around for a long time. However, not everyone can maintain a vegetarian diet indefinitely. It’s difficult to stay away from meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy. They may be found in a wide range of cuisines, and many people love eating them. A flexitarian diet is one that allows you to have the best of both worlds. You may enjoy the occasional meat, egg, or dairy product while also reaping some of the advantages of vegetarian or vegan eating habits (like weight loss or decreased cholesterol). [1] Instead of being 100 percent vegetarian or vegan, try a flexitarian diet.

A Flexitarian Diet is a type of diet that allows you to eat anything you want when you want.

Make your own definition of moderation. The nicest thing about a flexitarian diet is that you have complete control over what animal products you consume and how often you consume them. However, you’ll need to specify animal product moderation to assist you stick to a more disciplined schedule. [2]

  • The dietary habits of flexitarians differ widely. You may consume meat or other animal products only on rare occasions or once a week.
  • Establish a clear objective for yourself and your eating habits. This will make it much easier to stick to a flexitarian diet. Set a goal like this: I’ll consume dairy products on a regular basis and meat (such red meat or fowl) just twice a week.
  • Make a list of days when you won’t eat meat. Setting aside particular days to be vegetarian might also be beneficial. Mondays without meat, for example, are a good option.
  • Select the animal goods you’d want to add. Everyone has various dietary choices when it comes to a flexitarian diet. This, too, is a choice you’ll have to make. Consider whether or not dairy, eggs, or seafood will be used, as well as how often they will be used.

Don’t cut out things from your diet; instead, add them in. Adding items to your diet is an excellent way to make this diet plan feel more naturally delightful (rather than restrictive). Instead of restricting a variety of meals, you could find that this method is more effective. [3]

  • The more you restrict yourself and the more items you exclude from your diet, the more difficult it becomes.
  • Instead of eliminating a variety of meats, dairy products, eggs, or fish from your diet, experiment with alternative forms of proteins or other foods.
  • Instead of stating you’ll never eat beef again, say you’ll only eat it once a month and concentrate on increasing your seafood and vegetarian protein sources.

Experiment with fresh recipes. It might be challenging to figure out what you should eat or make on a daily basis when starting a new diet or eating pattern. Look up some amazing flexitarian dishes to get some inspiration.

  • Consider looking for flexitarian recipes on the internet. You could come up with some amazing classic cuisine ideas using vegetarian or vegan protein sources instead.
  • Instead of beef stroganoff, you can discover a recipe for mushroom stroganoff.
  • Consider purchasing some culinary periodicals or cookbooks that provide information on flexitarian diet and cooking.

Consider putting together a menu plan. You might want to make a food plan to go along with your goal-setting and moderation. This can assist you in achieving your objectives and make following a flexitarian diet a bit easier.

  • Make a week’s worth of food plans to help you stay to your goal. Planning ahead of time can help you figure out which days you’ll be eating meat or other animal products and which days you’ll be eating vegetarian meals.
  • Include any breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks that you intend to consume throughout the course of the week.
  • Meal plans assist you in staying on track, allowing you to eat items that you already have on hand and perhaps save money.[4]
  • Plan out which days or meals you’ll consume completely vegetarian or vegan foods, and which days you’ll include some animal proteins.

Making Animal Product Substitutions

Meat replacements are an option. If you’ve never attempted a vegetarian or vegan diet before, meat replacements may make the adjustment a bit simpler. [5] These dishes are made to substitute for specific meats so that you don’t miss them as much.

  • Burgers, hot dogs, sausages, bacon, cheeses, chicken nuggets, chicken strips, and even ground beef are among the many meat replacements available.
  • Meat replacements are available at your local supermarket. Many may be purchased in the fruit department of your shop, but they can also be found in the freezer aisle.
  • These are an excellent place to start when it comes to vegetarian dishes. Veggie burgers can take the place of your regular Friday night burgers.

Tofu, tempeh, or seitan are all good options. If you’ve ever considered switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet, you’ve probably heard of tofu, tempeh, or seitan. They work well as meat substitutes in a variety of dishes.

  • Tempeh and tofu are both fermented soybean products. Tofu is more spongy and squishy, but tempeh is considerably firmer and chewier.
  • Both are high in protein and work well in dishes since they absorb marinade tastes and can be prepared in a variety of ways.[6]
  • Seitan, on the other hand, is a little less prevalent. It’s comprised of wheat gluten and has a meat-like feel. It is also strong in protein and may be prepared in a variety of ways. [7]

Add a couple servings of beans to the mix. If you don’t like for tofu or tempeh, you may always increase your bean intake. These high-fiber foods are also strong in protein and make an excellent vegetarian meal basis.

  • Legumes are a protein-rich category of plant-based foods.[8] Nuts, beans, and lentils are among the goods on the list. Furthermore, each of these legumes comes in a variety of varieties.
  • Fiber is particularly abundant in beans and lentils. They’re also delicious served warm or cold. Beans and lentils are excellent vegetarian protein sources when served in a soup, salad, or as a main meal.
  • Even though nuts aren’t normally roasted, they’re a good source of protein. Toss them into salads, eat them with yogurt or oatmeal, or spread nut butters over whole grain toast.

In one dish, combine vegetarian and animal proteins. If you think it will be difficult to consume just vegetarian or vegan dishes, make each meal flexitarian.

  • In each meal or snack, include both vegetarian and vegan proteins in addition to animal proteins.[9]
  • Serve yourself half a quantity of animal-based protein and half a portion of vegetarian protein, for example.
  • Serving both helps you to get the best of both worlds while also requiring you to consume less animal-based proteins.

Use umami-like tastes in your cooking. You might be able to manage your desires if one of the reasons you wish to adopt a flexitarian-style eating pattern is because you crave meat. Serving the correct meals might make it easier to control your meat cravings and stick to a flexitarian diet. [10]

  • Umami is a term used to describe certain tastes. This indicates that they are flavorful and filling (unlike the other tastes of sweet, bitter, or sour).
  • Umami is a relatively novel flavour that has been detected in a small number of foods. This flavor, on the other hand, can assist fulfill cravings for savory, rich meat items.
  • Tomatoes, miso, mushrooms, parmesan cheese, and soy sauce are all sources of umami. Cooking with these ingredients might help you fulfill your hunger.

Making a Balanced Flexitarian Diet

Include a diverse range of foods, particularly protein. It’s crucial to consume a balanced diet no matter what sort of diet or eating pattern you follow. Flexitarian diets are simple to maintain since they incorporate a wide range of foods.

  • Protein is one of the most important nutrients to consume in sufficient amounts and in a wide variety. Include portions from the legumes, seafood, tofu or tempeh, and meat replacement groups whenever possible.
  • Every day, incorporate a food from each food category. Include fruits, vegetables, dairy (if you consume it), and whole grains in your diet. This aids in the maintenance of a healthy diet. [11]
  • Make a variety of dietary options from different food categories. A wide range of cereals, fruits, and vegetables should be included in your diet. This ensures that you consume a diverse range of nutrients.

Choose leaner protein sources. When it comes to animal-based protein sources, it’s crucial to pick those that are predominantly lean. These are low in calories and might help you satisfy your protein requirements for the day.

  • Vegetarian or vegan protein sources (such as tofu or beans) have the advantage of being naturally low in fat and calories while still being high in fiber. They’re foods that are high in nutrients. [12]
  • Animal proteins, such as chicken, meat, eggs, shellfish, and dairy, might have a greater calorie and fat content. Furthermore, some of these fats (such as saturated fats) are harmful to your health.
  • The best approach is to choose lean protein sources. They’re low in saturated fats, calories, and protein while yet being high in both. White-meat chicken, turkey, eggs, low-fat dairy, unprocessed pork, shellfish, and lean beef cuts are all excellent choices.
  • Make sure to measure out the proper amount of protein, regardless of whatever type you use. Per serving, limit yourself to 1/2 cup (3-4 oz). [13]

Choose whole grains that are 100 percent natural. When adopting a flexitarian diet, the grains food category is also significant. They can help you get more nutrients and maintain a healthy diet.

  • If you’re going to eat grains, make sure they’re 100 percent whole grains. These foods have a greater fiber content and are less processed.
  • Protein is also found in whole grains. When paired with a vegetarian protein source (such as beans, almonds, or lentils), they form a complete protein that gives your body all the nutrients it requires. [14]
  • Quinoa, oats, brown rice, millet, farro, whole wheat bread, and whole wheat pasta are examples of whole grains.
  • Measure out your grain servings as well. Measure out roughly 1/2 cup or 2 oz. of cooked grains.

Half of your plate should be fruit or vegetables. It’s critical to prioritize fruits and vegetables when following a flexitarian diet. These are the foods that make a flexitarian diet nutrient-dense.

  • Fruits and vegetables are usually vegetarian or vegan, so they may be easily incorporated into your diet. Furthermore, they provide the majority of your daily fiber, vitamin, and antioxidant requirements.
  • Aim for at least 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, according to health experts. Following this rule ensures that you’re obtaining a diverse range of nutrients. [15] [16]
  • Measure out the right amount of each of these foods. Per serving, aim for 1/2 cup or 1 small piece of fruit, 1 cup of vegetables, or 2 cups of leafy greens.

Tips

  • A flexitarian diet is a fantastic option since it allows you to eat meat or other animal products on occasion.
  • You may easily change to becoming entirely vegetarian or vegan if you prefer vegetarian or vegan meals or snacks.
  • If you don’t want to look unpleasant in other people’s houses, flexitarian diets are a good option. For example, if you’re traveling overseas for a hobby or job and don’t want to turn down your host’s sushi or goat stew, now is the time to accept meat.
  • Some people want to be flexitarian so that they may eat only local, grass-fed beef or organic, free-range poultry. If you don’t know where the meat comes from, such as when eating out or at potlucks, you may make it a rule to eat vegetarian. Enjoy an omnivore lunch when you’re at home and have acquired high-quality meat. [17]

References

  1. If You’re Considering a Meat-Free Life, Flexitarianism May Be a Good Place To Start. (2020, June 19). Woman’s Day. http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/nutrition/advice/a3861/can-you-be-a-part-time-vegetarian-77888/.
  2. If You’re Considering a Meat-Free Life, Flexitarianism May Be a Good Place To Start. (2020, June 19). Woman’s Day. http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/nutrition/advice/a3861/can-you-be-a-part-time-vegetarian-77888/.
  3. If You’re Considering a Meat-Free Life, Flexitarianism May Be a Good Place To Start. (2020, June 19). Woman’s Day. http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/nutrition/advice/a3861/can-you-be-a-part-time-vegetarian-77888/.
  4. Money-saving Tips From Seasoned Menu Planners. (2020, August 20). Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/menu-planning/art-20048199.
  5. Miller, M., & Mahtani, N. (2021, November 5). Give Your Go-To Veggie Burgers A Break And Try These Other Meat Substitutes Instead. Women’s Health. http://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/best-meat-substitutes.
  6. 19 Best Vegan And Vegetarian Protein Sources. (2019, November 20). Health.com. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20718479_7,00.html.
  7. 19 Best Vegan And Vegetarian Protein Sources. (2019, November 20). Health.com. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20718479_13,00.html.
  8. Messina, M. J. (1999, September 1). Legumes And Soybeans: Overview Of Their Nutritional Profiles And Health Effects | The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition | Oxford Academic. OUP Academic. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/439s.full.
  9. If You’re Considering a Meat-Free Life, Flexitarianism May Be a Good Place To Start. (2020, June 19). Woman’s Day. http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/nutrition/advice/a3861/can-you-be-a-part-time-vegetarian-77888/.
  10. If You’re Considering a Meat-Free Life, Flexitarianism May Be a Good Place To Start. (2020, June 19). Woman’s Day. http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/nutrition/advice/a3861/can-you-be-a-part-time-vegetarian-77888/.
  11. Live Well – NHS. (n.d.). nhs.uk. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/Healthyeating.aspx.
  12. Mark J Messina,author.Legumes and soybeans: overview of their nutritional profiles and health effects. 01 September 1999.
  13. Protein Foods | MyPlate. (n.d.). Protein Foods | MyPlate. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/protein-foods.
  14. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/grains
  15. Vegetables | MyPlate. (n.d.). Vegetables | MyPlate. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables.
  16. Fruits | MyPlate. (n.d.). Fruits | MyPlate. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/fruit.
  17. Is Grass-Fed Beef Really Healthier? Here’s Everything You Need To Know | Health.com. (2020, January 8). Health.com. http://www.health.com/nutrition/grass-fed-beef-tips.

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