A Quick Guide on Flexitarian Eating

So you’ve heard about veganism, the paleo diet and good old fashioned vegetarianism. As of late you may have seen the term “flexitarian” pop up more and more.

Other than being a new buzz word, what does flexitarian eating really mean?

What is it?

The flexitarian diet was coined by Registered Dietitian Dawn “DJ” Blatner. As listed on DJ’s website, the word flexitarian is made up of the words “flexible” and “vegetarian.”

Essentially, the idea of this diet is to allow people to minimize meat consumption as opposed to restricting it entirely.

A traditional vegetarian diet restricts the consumption of meat. For some vegetarians, cutting out animal-by products such as dairy or eggs is a part of the diet as well.

This can be somewhat confusing to those who are unfamiliar with the various differences between diets. As such, flexitarian is increasingly becoming a more popular way of eating.

Unlike some other diets, eating flexitarian doesn’t have a strict set of rules or guidelines. Being a flexitarian is more of a lifestyle than it is a diet. Those who choose to adopt this lifestyle are also choosing to not restrict certain foods.  This gives people more freedom with what they can eat.

In simple terms, flexitarians focus on eating a plant-forward or vegetarian diet most of the time. However, when a craving strikes or when someone simply feels like eating meat, they do just that.

The choice to be flexitarian is to not punish yourself when you want to eat meat. Instead, it promotes listening to your body and openly choosing to eat more vegetarian-focused meals on a daily basis.

DJ sums the above perfectly on her website: “the most important part of flexitarianism is not how many meatless days you have, but how many more vegetarian meals you prepare.”

Therefore, a flexitarian chooses to eat most of their meals like a vegetarian or plant-based eater but give themselves grace to consume meat when they want it.

Reasons for Eating Flexitarian

The reasons for living a flexitarian lifestyle differ from person to person. However, there are a few trends across the board.

For some, eating flexitarian is more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Meat consumption leads to greenhouse gas emissions which ultimately impacts climate change.

However, eating meat in moderation is absolutely safe to have as a part of your diet. As such, flexitarians give themselves room to consume meat here-and-there.

Other reasons to eat flexitarian include introducing more fiber or vitamins and minerals into your meals. Essentially, this diet focuses on consuming more plant-based, whole food ingredients such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

According to Registered Dietitian Alyssa Pike, “plant-based foods can help you get your daily dose of dietary fiber,” which is important as most people don’t meet the required amount of daily fiber.

Another potential reason or benefit is that it may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have cited this to be due to the increase in nutrients, antioxidant vitamins and better-for-you ingredients.

In addition to the reasons above, many of those that follow a flexitarian way of eating choose to do so to make a lifestyle change. Depending on your lifestyle goals, choosing to eat this way may come with its own personal list of reasons!

Things to Eat While Flexitarian

So, what does eating flexitarian actually look like?

There are in fact some major differences between what it means to eat vegetarian and flexitarian. For some, eating vegetarian involves eating everything but meat (and sometimes dairy/eggs).

While vegetarians might feel free to eat more pre-packaged or processed foods, the flexitarian diet actually cautions against it.

Specifically, flexitarians are encouraged to consume whole plant foods. This includes fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains. As such, this promotes eating a more whole foods diet as opposed to processed foods.

However, that doesn’t mean you are prohibited from eating pre-packaged meals when flexitarian! Our Cauliflower Kung Pao bowl is a great meal option when you are trying to focus on a more plant-focused diet.

To elevate and meal prep the noodle bowl, we focus on pairing it with plant-based ingredients such as edamame and tofu. Learn how to make our Cauliflower Kung Pao Meal Prep Bowls! They are a perfect fast and affordable meal prep idea for plant-based eaters.

While some diets and fads can be confusing, being flexitarian is not. If you are looking to ease your way into plant-based eating or simply want to become a semi-vegetarian, flexitarian eating may just be the lifestyle for you.

5 Foods to Boost Immunity

Each of us has a unique genetic blueprint. That blueprint tells our bodies what to do when foreign invaders that cause sickness and disease attack. It is true that some of us have stronger immune systems than others. But, did you know you have the ability to make your immune system stronger with food? There are 5 main foods that can be used boost immunity. Most of these foods are found in the produce department, but others include high fiber foods that support gut health and even green tea!


Blueberries are not only a delicious fruit, but they’re also extremely high in flavonoids, a specific type of antioxidant known for its immune boosting properties. They also contain essential nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, fiber and manganese. One of my go-to breakfasts is steel cut oatmeal with peanut butter and blueberries on top!


Turmeric is one of the most widely studied plant foods for its vast health promoting benefits. Can you believe that this little root can help improve everything from the health of your skin, to your mood, to even your immune system!

There are a lot of ways to eat turmeric. You can chop it up and cook it into an Indian dish, or you can use it in its powdered form and make a latte with it!

Red peppers

Red peppers contain a powerful antioxidant known as beta carotene. Beta carotene is also converted to Vitamin A in your body to further boost your immunity! Beta carotene shows up as the color orange in plant foods. So when you see a yellow, orange, or red vegetable that is its beta carotene content showing through. Think of carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, butternut squash, and apricots.

Some green vegetables also contain beta carotene, but is masked by the dark green color of chlorophyll. Red peppers also contain vitamin C, further helping boost your immunity! Try tossing some red peppers into a black bean bowl for some extra flavor and nutrients!


Broccoli is packed with nutrients! It is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables you can eat as it contains vitamin A, C, and E. Additionally, broccoli is loaded with disease fighting antioxidants. I love eating broccoli with nutritional yeast, olive oil, and sea salt for a super nutrient dense side dish.


Ever wonder why almost every culture in the world uses garlic as the base of its cuisines? Maybe it is because of that delicious flavor it adds. But, it actually adds a whole lot more than that! Garlic contains a powerful sulfur made up of compounds that help to fight off disease.

There are so many more foods that can help boost your immunity. Usually, when it comes from the earth and it is in its whole natural form, it is good for you!


This article was written by Registered Dietitian Rosemary Squires from thehintofrosemary.