Medically reviewed by Aviv Joshua, MS
A flexitarian is a person who follows a semi-vegetarian diet. Flexitarians make a conscious effort to eat less meat. There are no hard-set rules about specific ways to be a flexitarian. For example, flexitarians might eat meat six days a week and have a “meatless Monday,” while heavy meat restrictors might have meat just once a week. As its name implies, flexitarianism is flexible.
Read on to learn how a flexitarian diet works, the benefits of a meat and vegetable diet that’s plant-based, meal prep ideas that include lots of high-protein foods for meatless vegetarian days, and more.
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How a Flexitarian Diet Works
A flexitarian diet is flexible. There aren’t any hard-and-fast rules about how much meat flexitarians can or cannot eat in a typical week. Unlike strict diets with rigid guidelines, such as a ketogenic eating plan (keto diet), dairy-free diet, gluten-free diet, or vegan diet, a flexitarian diet doesn’t forbid any animal-derived foods or macronutrients.
You can eat eggs, dairy, chicken, or anything else you like to eat on a flexitarian diet as long as reducing meat intake to some degree is part of your weekly meal plan.
About half of all flexitarians eat meat four or more days per week, according to a 2021 study. Among self-described flexitarians, there are three levels of meat restriction, with a different percentage of flexitarians in each category:
Light meat restrictors might eat meat daily except for certain days, such as a meatless Monday. In contrast, flexitarians who are heavy meat restrictors tend to eat like vegetarians most of the time and might only have meat once or twice weekly.
Avoiding Protein and Amino Acid Deficiencies
Protein and amino acid deficiencies are possible among flexitarians who eat very little meat, especially in older adults. Using a protein powder nutrition supplement with essential amino acids on vegetarian days is an easy and practical way for flexitarians to offset deficiency risks.
What to Eat
Because a flexitarian diet plan is so flexible, you don’t have to follow a one-size-fits-all seven-day meal plan. You can personalize your plate to avoid nutrition…