Vegan, Vegetarian, Flexitarian: What’s The Difference?
You might be wondering how the flexitarian diet differs from traditional plant-based diets – well, let’s break it down. We’ve done our research, and alongside expert knowledge from our fabulous Accredited Practising Dietitian, Jen, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about the flexitarian diet, and popped it all here.
The Flexitarian diet – a blending of the words flexible and vegetarian – is a diet that, as the name suggests, is a flexible approach to being vegetarian. This diet consists of predominantly plant-based meals but doesn’t cut out meat entirely, with about ¼ of all meals containing animal products.
To put it simply, the choice is yours. If you decide to try a flexitarian approach, the way you decide to structure your diet is completely up to you. Some choose to eat meat a certain number of times per week while others stick to a vegetarian diet with the inclusion of sporadic meat-based meals.
However you choose to do it, the flexitarian diet brings with it an abundance of possible health and environmental benefits.
Possible Health Benefits of Flexitarianism
We Asked Our Accredited Practising Dietitian, Jen,
What She Thinks…
Ok, so we know that the flexitarian diet is adaptable to you and your food preferences, but what about its impact on your health? Jen, our Accredited Practising Dietitian, has shared her valuable insights.
The benefits of eating a diet rich in plant-based foods extend to the flexitarian diet, which is just one of the reasons why flexitarian ways of eating have exploded in recent years. After all, who doesn’t want to feel great while still enjoying their favourite foods?
Plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, all of which are beneficial to health, from boosting your immune system to supporting growth and healthy organ functioning. Diets rich in these foods tend to be packed with more fibre than traditional western diets which generally include a higher consumption of meat, processed food products, salt and saturated fat.
Jen reminds us that all diets can be plant-based, with fruits, vegetables and whole grains making up the foundations. That’s not to say that a diet containing animal products such as dairy, eggs, seafood and white or red meats aren’t also built on the same principles – it all comes down to moderation.
Curious to find out what a typical week of eating looks like for Jen? She shares a glimpse into her diet as an Accredited Practising Dietitian:
I try to have at least one vegetarian day each week. My breakfast, lunch and snacks tend to be more plant-based although I still include eggs and dairy throughout these meals. For dinner, I prioritise balance with a variation of plant-based, meat and fish dishes. One night is vegetarian focused – beans, lentils, frittata, pasta and rice are my go-to meals! I also include one or two nights of white meat such as chicken, one or two nights of red meat and two nights that incorporate fish or seafood.
Whether you’re entirely new to the plant-based world or have previously been vegetarian or vegan, a flexitarian lifestyle can be a great option for anyone looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle as it foregrounds plant-based meals without being overly restrictive.
Eating For Sustainability
Environmental change has shifted the way we think about food, and with so many of us rising to the forefront of climate change action, we have become innovative in our efforts towards a greener future. Gone are the days of rigid eating patterns; today, we see a fresh approach to diets that cater to both personal and environmental needs. The flexitarian diet is a simple and accessible option for those looking to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
With so much choice – What can I eat?
Well, that’s the beauty of following a flexitarian diet: the choice is yours.
A flexitarian meal plan is not restricted to just one food group. In fact, you are free to experiment with plant-based meals and the occasional meat dish!
That means that while vegan and vegetarian staples such as lentils, tofu, beans and rice may be the stars of your diet, they don’t have to take all of the spotlight. No foods are strictly forbidden; the flexitarian diet advocates reduced meat consumption – not a complete chop – welcoming a more doable approach to plant-based eating.
Most days may be filled with vegetarian and vegan dishes – after all, with so many great vegan burgers out there, this is no tricky task – but other days may follow a slightly different pattern, with your favourite meat dish making a guest appearance on an otherwise vegetarian menu.
Wondering what this looks like on your plate? Having roamed the internet for all of its best flexitarian foods, we have a recipe or two up our sleeve.
Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whether you prefer a sweet or savoury start to your morning, we’ve got just the thing. Flexitarian breakfast, made easy!
For the sweet tooths, a bright and creamy Rhubarb and Strawberry Chia Pudding.
Fancy something a bit heartier? This Flexitarian Breakfast Scramble is here to satisfy your cravings.
A flexitarian lifestyle gives you the freedom to enjoy meat and other animal-based foods, despite following a plant-focused diet. With this in mind, we’re bringing in a refreshing and zesty recipe for lunch, packed with ginger, mint and lemongrass: Vietnamese Chicken Salad.
And if you’ve already eaten meat today, this salad can be made vegan by replacing the chicken with tofu, and the fish sauce with soy sauce– it’s as simple as that!
This is one for us all: hearty, spicy Indian Sweet Potato and Dhal Pies, blanketed in a creamy mash. The perfect go-to for your next weeknight dinner.
Pop the kettle on – we’re making Chocolate and Cherry Muffins.
Because who doesn’t love a warm and indulgent vegan baked good?
Is your mouth watering yet? Ours certainly is. A flexitarian lifestyle means you won’t need to bid farewell to Nona’s bolognese, summer BBQs or cheeky chicken burgers. You can have it all and make a difference to your health and the environment.
By checking #FoodiniFirst, you have easy access to a whole world of delicious flexitarian foods, from Sydney’s best vegan pizzas to tantalisingly good dairy-free ice cream spots. Whatever your cravings, Foodini has just the thing, making it easy to find delicious options based on your dietary needs.