The flexitarian diet is a plan that limits meat and fish, but does not completely eliminate it. The major focus is to add more plant-based foods, and since it allows for occasional meat and fish, it may be easier for people to follow and stick to the plan.
There are different ways to incorporate this into your lifestyle–some people have specific days of the week that are non-meat, like “meatless Monday”–others follow a regimen of every other day including a animal protein. I also knew of a person who followed a vegetarian diet for one week and then allowed animal protein into her meals the following week.
In the 2019 Best Diet Rankings by U.S. News & World Report, the Flexitarian Diet was ranked No. 3 in the Best Diets Overall category, in terms of long-term health and disease prevention, and No. 2 in Best Diets for Diabetes. It was also ranked No. 2 in the Best Plant-Based Diets (second to the Mediterranean diet). And unsurprisingly, the diet also took home second in the Easiest Diets to Follow categories in 2019, suggesting that its less-than-rigid nature makes it easy to follow and maintain.
The diet is flexible, but the amount of meat that is consumed is restricted.
Flexitarian Diet Guidelines-Beginners
- Eliminate meat for 2 days of the week, with only 26 oz. of meat for the remaining 5 days of the week; or
- 6-8 meatless meals out of a total of 21 meals per week
Flexitarian Diet Guidelines-Advanced Users
- Eliminate meat for 3-4 days of the week, with only 18 oz. of meat for the remaining days of the week; or
- 9–14 meatless meals out of a total of 21 meals per week
Flexitarian Diet Guidelines-Expert Users
- Eliminate meat for 5 days per week, with only 9 oz. of meat for the remaining days of the week; or
- 15+ meatless meals out of a total of 21 meals each week
For more details, check out the book, entitled “The Flexitarian Diet”, written by Dawn Jackson Blatner, who developed this diet.