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The Flexitarian Diet

The Flexitarian Diet

Go meatless most of the time, and you'll lose weight and get healthy with ease. That’s the mission of the Flexitarian Diet.

Author and dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner says that eating mainly plant-based foods is a smart way to cut calories. But she knows not everyone is willing to become 100% vegetarian. Flexitarians (“flexible vegetarians”) eat a lot less meat than they used to but don't give it up completely.

What You Can Eat

Nothing is off-limits, but the goal is to add more plant-based foods to your diet while cutting back on meat.

The book has a short assessment of eating habits that will determine how you begin. Blatner considers you a beginner flexitarian if you have two meatless days per week (26 ounces of meat or poultry per week).

Advanced flexitarians skip meat 3 to 4 days a week (18 ounces of meat or poultry a week).

Experts go meatless 5 or more days a week (9 ounces of meat or poultry).

Level of Effort: Moderate

The Flexitarian Diet does urge you to make more meatless changes, but baby steps are OK. Blatner suggests making at least one shift per day, so you won't feel overwhelmed. The book contains over 100 recipes which also focus on simplicity; each one includes just five main ingredients.

Limitations: If you're reluctant to eat extra veggies and experiment with unfamiliar sources of protein, this plan may not work for you.

Cooking and shopping: Meal prep is kept relatively easy, but you will need to stock up on fresh produce regularly and get comfortable in the kitchen.

Packaged food or meals: No.

In-person meetings: No.

Exercise: It's a must. You’ll need to be active for 30 minutes most days just for good health. Shift to 90 minutes most days if you want to slim down.