What is a flexitarian? To put it concisely, flexitarians are vegetarians – some of the time. In other words, they can still occasionally enjoy their favorite meat products; they just significantly cut back their meat consumption. So how do you adopt this diet? Here are am few tips to help you get started.
Increase Your Fruit and Veggie Intake
The first step in adopting any long-term diet is to avoid compromising the feeling of “fullness.” For this reason, though it may sound counterproductive, the first step is to increase your daily intake of fiber-rich foods such as fruit and veggies. These foods ensure you get the vitamins and minerals you need and keep you fuller longer.
Be Open to New Foods
When you cut back on meat, you leave room for new and creative meals. For that reason, you should be open to trying new foods. You’re not going to like every recipe you come across, but you may surprise yourself and find you love foods you had no idea you would.
Find Protein Replacements
By nature, vegetarian or flexitarian diets limit your protein intake, forcing you to be creative with where you’re getting this essential nutrient. Throw some eggs into the mix or spinach to build up some iron. Opt for quinoa instead of rice to ensure you’re getting a tad more out of your meal. Build the meal that you want, but make sure you’re not abandoning the nutrition component.
As with anything new, it’s important to ease yourself into a flexitarian diet without going – excuse the pun – cold turkey. When you swear off meat altogether overnight, you’re more likely to leave the diet in the dust. Try starting with only a few meatless meals a week. Then, as time goes on, slowly decrease the number of meatless meals you have until they’re all plant-based.
Don’t Cheat Yourself Your Cheat Day
Lastly, remember that the flexitarian diet is different from a vegetarian diet in that you’re still “allowed” to eat meat. So, if you still need to satisfy occasional meat cravings, that’s fine. Just the fact that you’re cutting back on your animal consumption at all is a step forward!
Flexitarian diets are more approachable than their vegetarian (or vegan) counterparts. But that doesn’t mean they’re easy to take on. Use these tips to get started with your transition.