Our guide to the flexitarian diet

Trend alert! Jump on board the flexi train

When you hear the word ‘diet’, flexibility is not the first thing that springs to mind. We all know that eating a little less meat is good for our health and the environment but in practice, committing to a vegetarian diet can feel restricting for individuals who favour a meatier cuisine. So, what if there was an approach that meant meat and fish weren’t completely off the menu? Meet flexitarianism:

What is flexitarianism?

Think of it as a lifestyle choice rather than a quick-fix fad you commit a few weeks to; dedicated followers of this eating plan opt for a primarily vegetarian diet, with only occasional portions of meat and fish. It’s growing popularity hasn’t gone unnoticed – Whole Foods even predicted it to be one of the biggest health trends of 2017.

How much meat and fish am I allowed to eat?

If you’re new to this diet it pays to view meat and fish as an occasional treat rather than everyday food, so try giving it up for two days a week at first. Eventually, you should aim to stick to vegetarian meals five days a week.

What should I fill my fridge with?

Packing your plates with plenty of green vegetables is essential for ensuring you get enough iron; peas, spinach and asparagus are all great options. Think of vegetables and grains – quinoa, brown rice and wholewheat pasta – as the building blocks of your meals, with meat and fish as the added extras. As well as veggies, make sure to consume lots of fruit, dairy, nuts and wholegrains too.

A week’s worth of evening meals

DAY 1

Option A: Spicy vegetarian chilli wraps
Option B: Spiced spinach falafel and avocado hummus wraps

DAY 2

Option A: Red cabbage steaks with chestnut, goats’ cheese and thyme crumble
Option B: Goats’ cheese, spinach and sun-dried tomato frittata

DAY 3

Option A: Smoky sweet potato skins
Option B: Roasted vegetable soup with crispy cannellini beans

DAY 4

Option A: Pea, mint and lemon risotto
Option B: Squash, camembert and sage baked risotto

DAY 5

Option A: Lentil and vegetable masala with dosa
Option B: Sindhi kadhi

DAY 6

Option A: Steak with truffle chips and creamy mushroom sauce
Option B: Baked fish and chips with malt vinegar salt

DAY 7

Option A: Harissa chicken and vegetable traybake with cauliflower couscous
Option B: Vietnamese-style prawn stir-fry

Are you looking to cut meat out of your diet completely? Here are a few vegetarian dishes to give you some inspiration. Always remember to check with a health care professional before radically changing your eating habits.