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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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The Flexitarian Diet

Tara with Dawn Jackson Blatner
Tara with Dawn Jackson Blatner
Have you considered the idea of becoming a vegetarian but can’t imagine a life completely free of meat? We all know how hard it can be to eat meat-free, so for those of you who enjoy your vegetables but still want to eat meat every now and then, consider the flexitarian diet! There is even a book devoted to the subject.  Written by Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, LDN, The Flexitarian Diet presents a mostly vegetarian eating plan focusing on a plant based diet while still allowing you some of your favorite meat dishes occasionally. Can’t live without your mom’s chicken Parmesan? Need a hot dog on game day? Don’t sweat it. With a flexitarian diet you eat enough vegetables and healthy foods to allow consumption of your favorite meat dishes on those special occasions.

As Blatner points out, eating a vegetarian diet is the “hands-down best thing we can do for our health.” Eating a plant-based diet can:

  • Provide essential vitamins and minerals
  • Help protect against many chronic diseases (heart, some cancers, etc)
  • Aid in weight loss
  • Help the environment by reducing your carbon footprint

But you don't have to be entirely vegetarian. You can reap the benefits of a plant based diet while enjoying your favorite foods simply by eating mostly vegetables and occasionally having meat. 

The flexitarian diet doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul to your diet. To eat in a mostly flexitarian way you just need to follow simple food ideas. Eat mostly vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, nuts and legumes, and allow yourself meat options once in a while.

A flexitarian lifestyle includes eating meat substitutes such as tofu or tempeh, and including more beans/legumes into dishes. Add flavor to foods with exciting vegetables, spices, and herbs. You can ease into it by preparing pasta dishes with half meat/half beans, or tacos with half chicken/half beans. As long as your diet is mostly vegetarian, you enjoy the benefits of a flexitarian diet as well.

Incorporate more vegetables and nourishing foods into your diet for optimal health and well being through the flexitarian diet. With this simple way of living, you can enjoy your best self and still allow room for your favorite meals! For more information check out Dawn’s website at http://www.dawnjacksonblatner.com.

So if you have been playing around with the idea of becoming a vegetarian, but you just aren’t ready to completely commit, try out the flexitarian diet!

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Tags: Healthy Eating , Nutrition Trends , Vegetarian

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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