If we were to ask you to count the number of diets you’ve tried this year, let’s just say you’d probably run out of fingers on both hands. In our efforts to stay lean, there’s no limit to the “fad” regimens that have captured our attention – take, for example, Tom Brady’s strict all-organic diet that he attributes to giving him his amazing body. But if you’re not a pro-athlete with endless endurance (and funds) at your disposal, you may find these strict regimes ultimately unattainable. Never fear! There’s one diet that’s both extremely healthy and easy to maintain in order to help you reach your New Year’s weight goals: the flexitarian diet! Below, find everything you need to know about this powerhouse plan.
What is the flexitarian diet?
A marriage of the two words “flexible” and “vegetarian,” the flexitarian diet is based on the principle that you don’t have to completely sacrifice meat to enjoy the benefits of being a vegetarian. Thus, you eat your veggies on a regular basis, but when the craving strikes, you can indulge in a burger or steak every once in a while. The regime involves adding five food groups to your diet: “new meat” like tofu, beans, lentils, peas, nuts and seeds and eggs; fruits and veggies; whole grains; dairy; and sugar and spice. It typically involves eating breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks each day. Breakfast should come in around 300 calories, lunch 400, dinner 500 and snacks about 150 calories each. In sum, your intake should be around 1,500 calories. Of course, depending on your weight, height, and level of exercise, you can tweak the total as necessary to ensure you’re getting the proper amount of nutrients.
Will the flexitarian diet actually help you lose weight?
Likely. According to a review of 87 previous studies published in Nutrition Reviews in 2006, vegetarians were found to weigh about 15 percent less than non-vegetarians. That’s because they typically eat fewer calories while still feeling full. And flexitarians saw similar results. A 2005 study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders found that semi-vegetarians, or flexitarians, tend to weigh less than carnivores. What’s more, flexitarians have been found to have a lower rate of heart disease, diabetes and cancer and live an average of 3.6 years longer than full-fledged meat eaters.
Is the flexitarian diet easy to follow?
Since you’re not getting rid of any food groups, you shouldn’t have too much trouble sticking to the diet. While you’ll be eating “clean,” you’re still allowed a few cheat meals, so you’ll never feel like you’re suffering. Research shows that this is the key to maintaining any diet long-term.
What are some flexitarian diet recipes?
Let’s get cooking! For each meal, we’ve provided some delectable flexitarian options you’ll be dying to try.
- Fig and Flax Oatmeal (Breakfast): Both figs and oats are loaded with energy-boosting fiber, so you’ll stay satiated for longer and eat less throughout the day.
- Ground Cauliflower Tacos with Spicy Almonds and Crunchy Slaw (Lunch): Although these tacos don’t contain meat, the spiced cauliflower base is anything but unsavory.
- The Vegan Delight Avocado Toast (Snack): Your favorite snack just got a little upgrade. Heart-healthy avocados naturally make an appearance, accompanied by mouthwatering new additions hummus, roasted tomatoes, and hemp hearts.
- Shrimp and Zucchini Noodles (Dinner): Flexitarians don’t typically eat fish, but incorporating shrimp into your diet on occasion can provide you with essential nutrients (like protein and B12) that are often hard to get otherwise.
For even more New Year’s resolution inspiration, check out Everything You Need To Know About The Mediterranean Diet and Bad Skincare Habits You Need To Break In Your 30s.