Flexitarian diet takes pressure off all-or-none approach to healthy weight loss

Fad diets are nothing new, but a new name is being given to a diet that many people may already adhere to. 

 If you largely eat fruits and vegetables, but allow yourself the occasional piece of steak, chicken, or fish, you may be a flexitarian. The idea behind the name is to give yourself the flexibility to maintain healthy, attainable goals.

“Whenever you’re consuming more fruits and vegetables, you’re increasing your fiber intake and fiber may help maintain healthy blood sugars which is good for overall health, pre-diabetes and diabetes. Fiber also feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut,” said Holly Lewis, a registered dietitian with Publix.

She said focusing on a plant-based diet is helpful when counting calories for weight loss and for maintaining a healthy body. 

“If you’re consuming more fruits and vegetables your overall calorie intake will be lower,” said Lewis.

But the key for most dieters is finding a plan that’s easy to maintain over a long period of time. That’s why the ‘flex’ in flexitarian is so important. 

“There are really no drawbacks with this. Unlike traditional diets that cut out whole food groups. This is not restrictive,” Lewis said. “It’s on occasion and the idea is just to reduce the amount of animal protein but it’s not to limit it or to never have it again.”

She has a few protein favorites if chicken and steak aren’t your thing. 

“I love the salmon and the tuna packets that are ready to go. You’ve also got your nut butters whether it’s almond butter, peanut butter or sun butter,” said Lewis.

This diet may not be for those who are recovering from surgery, elderly, or pregnant people because their protein needs may need to be increased.

She also advises checking with your doctor before adopting a new diet plan.