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Flexitarian Diet Menu

Written by Sky Taylor, Diet Bites

Flexitarian defined including positives and negatives of this eating lifestyle.

A Flexitarian is Not a Vegetarian

Want to be healthier and strut about with a kicky sounding title? Then you may be Flexitarian material.

Although many define a Flexitarian (also commonly spelled Flexatarian) as a vegetarian who occasionally partakes of meat, we beg to differ.  

A vegetarian practices strict abstinence from meat and depending upon the type of vegetarian that one might be, that sometimes includes abstinence from all animal products (eggs, milk and so forth).

More Vegetables, Less Animal Proteins in Daily Diet

The Flexitarian way of eating is indeed a healthier alternative to the common diet. More vegetables are consumed and less meat.

And of course, anyone who isn't living under a rock these days knows about the numerous health studies connecting coronary artery disease to fatty red meat. In fact, the Mediterranean Diet severely limits the use of red meats within the diet.

Eating Animal Proteins Sparingly

Many times, a Flexitarian will stick to a vegetarian diet while at home, but is not adverse to enjoying a bit of meat when among a crowd, or when enjoying a special celebration, or even when they feel like having a bit of animal protein.

The strict vegetarian is a master of putting together their dietary puzzle and knows which foods to eat in order to compensate for those they abstain from.

One of the drawbacks of being a Flexitarian is knowing the necessary foods to implement into the daily diet for those times when they choose the Vegetarian Way of Life.

We feel that placing Flexitarians into the same category as Vegetarians is 'Dietarily Incorrect' and we also feel that the Flexitarian Way of Life is a good thing and can achieve a higher level of health.

Grabbing more veggies, cutting back on meats - saving animals in the process - it's a very good thing.

Vegetable & Animal Proteins in Daily Diet

Let's take a look at the difference between a serving of red meat in the diet and how it compares with a vegetable protein. First, we'll provide an example of what the menu of a Flexitarian meal might look like alongside of a meal enjoyed by the numerous meat lovers of the world.

Take note that the caloric values of the foods are in parenthesis to the side of the menu selection. The nutritional values are based on the cooked food rather than raw state.

Flexitarian Menu, Vegetable Protein Based

1/2 cup of black beans or lentils (114)
1/2 cup of long grain rice (100)
1/2 cup of yellow squash (20)
1/2 cup of asparagus (20)
1 slice of rye bread plus a serving of light margarine (100)
1 cup of reduced fat milk (90) 
1 cup of tea or coffee, plain (0)
1 cup of fresh honeydew melon (50)

Total Calories: 494

Food Group Servings: 1 Protein (vegetable), 2 Grains, 2 Vegetables, 1 Dairy, 1 Fruit

Animal Protein Based Menu

3 ounces of pot roast trimmed to 1/8" fat (257)
1 serving of orange carrots (54)
1 serving of roasted potatoes (200)
1 serving of beef gravy (50)
1 whole grain dinner roll plus a serving of light margarine(100)
1 cup of reduced fat milk (90) 
1 cup of tea or coffee, plain (0)
1 cup of fresh, whole strawberries (45)

Total Calories: 796

Food Group Servings: 1 Protein (animal), 2 Vegetables, 1 Grain, 1 Fruit, 1 Dairy Group

Cholesterol & Fat

If we substituted the pot roast for a zero fat selection, the calories would be trimmed to 216. But this doesn't mean that the roast is fat free.

The cholesterol content and fat distribution isn't ideal and pales in comparison to the beans when it comes to health benefits.

While the pot roast is indeed considered a healthy selection, the types of fat and underlying cholesterol grams can plug arteries over time - therefore the health concern.

We could have also enjoyed a serving of the pot roast along with the foods in the Flexitarian Menu - minus the black beans for a total of 637 calories - just a tab too many to insert in the daily diet of most weight loss plans.

Toppings, Additives Increase Fat & Caloric Values of Foods

Another issue with not only red meats - but with other animal proteins as well is that they are almost-always served with sauces or a gravy.

These selections can also fit into a diet plan when prepared with lower fat ingredients and when lean animal proteins are used - but they can't compete with vegetable proteins in the areas of lower caloric values and dietary fat distribution.


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