Nutrition Experts

Flexitarian Eating

Question:

I've heard of an eating style called "flexitarian." What is it?

Answer:

"Flexitarians" are people who eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but who occasionally eat meat, poultry or fish. Here are some other ways to describe flexitarians: semi-vegetarians, meat eaters who eat a plant-based diet, or even meat-eating vegetarians!

A healthy flexitarian diet includes plenty of plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and may include eggs and low-fat and fat-free milk products, and, once in a while, lean meat, poultry and fish. Many flexitarians adopt this eating style for health reasons, rather than ethical reasons, such as animal rights.

Like other eating plans, a flexitarian eating plan is healthy and balanced when it follows calorie and food group recommendations from MyPlate. Cutting back on meat doesn't automatically make a diet healthy, especially if you're eating lots of less-nutritious snacks and sweets instead! In fact, people who eat little or no meat should make sure to get important nutrients provided by meat, such as iron, zinc, and certain B vitamins, from other foods in their diet.