Flexitarian meal plan: Eat healthier with this 7-day guide

The Red Tea Detox

  • The objective of the flexitarian weight loss program is to scale back the quantity of animal-based merchandise you eat and substitute them with entire, plant-based choices.
  • Research suggests a number of benefits to lowering your consumption of animal merchandise whereas consuming extra entire grains, veggies, legumes, and different plant-based meals.
  • People with hypertension, sort 2 diabetes, or coronary heart illness could profit from the flexitarian weight loss program. 
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for extra recommendation.

A flexitarian weight loss program is strictly what its identify implies — it is a versatile option to kickstart wholesome consuming and probably shed some kilos and enhance your well being within the course of. 

Generally talking, the aim of the flexitarian weight loss program is to scale back the quantity of animal-based merchandise you eat and substitute them with entire, plant-based choices.

For instance, substitute your barbacoa taco filling with spiced black beans. However, this doesn’t imply changing your jerky snack with potato chips. 

To drop a few pounds on a flexitarian weight loss program, you may want to decide on the suitable meals to help that objective, says registered dietitian-nutritionist Scott Keatley, RD, CDN.

“Technically, potato chips and table sugar are vegetarian but we know that if our diet includes too much of these types of food we will not lose weight,” Keatley says. “However, picking whole-grains, fruits, and vegetables as well as some lean proteins make for a high-fiber … calorie-controlled diet.”

Here’s strive a flexitarian weight loss program with a 7-day meal plan in addition to extra on the advantages chances are you’ll reap from following it.

What to eat and drink on the flexitarian weight loss program

A flexitarian weight loss program encourages a number of wholesome behaviors, like not often consuming crimson meat and loading up on lean protein and entire meals. Here’s an inventory of meals that specialists advocate consuming ceaselessly, sparsely, and infrequently whereas following a flexitarian weight loss program.

Foods/drinks to have typically:

Foods/drinks to have sparsely:

  • Low-fat cheese 
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Caffeinated drinks

Foods/drinks to keep away from at any time when potential (true for all consuming plans):

  • Processed meat (bacon, salami, scorching canines, sausage)
  • Refined carbohydrates (bread, pasta, and pastries made with white flour)
  • Processed snacks (sweet, chips, cookies)
  • Drinks with added sugar (soda, sweetened juice, vitality drinks)

7-Day flexitarian meal plan

If you are excited about making an attempt out a flexitarian weight loss program, this is a 7-day pattern flexitarian meal plan, in accordance with registered dietician Shena Jaramillo, MS, RD. Adjust serving sizes and calorie proportions to your particular wants. 

Day 1


Hummus is a good protein-packed snack.

Elisete Domingues / EyeEm/Getty Images

Breakfast: Oatmeal (made with dairy-free milk), topped with fruit and walnuts

Lunch: Mixed inexperienced salad with spiced chickpeas, avocado, cherry tomato, cucumber, and balsamic French dressing

Snack: Bell pepper and hummus

Dinner: Butternut squash and black bean frittata

Day 2

chicken stir fry

A savory rooster stir fry for dinner will hit the spot on day 2.

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Breakfast: Whole-wheat toast with peanut butter, apple slices

Snack: ¼ cup walnut halves

Lunch: Whole-wheat pita with combined greens, bell pepper, and roasted chickpeas

Snack: Sliced pear

Dinner: Chicken stir fry with combined greens and dietary yeast

Day Three

avocado toast

Avocado on entire wheat toast is a basic option to begin your day proper.

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Breakfast: Whole-wheat toast with avocado, sprouts, and chickpeas

Snack: Sliced apple with peanut butter

Lunch: Quinoa and broccoli stir-fry with roasted tofu

Snack: 1 cup of strawberries

Dinner: Whole-wheat pita with greens, balsamic vinegar, and low-fat cheese 

Day four

celery peanut butter

Celery with peanut butter is a crunchy, fulfilling snack.

MSPhotographic/Getty Images

Breakfast: Buckwheat cereal with blueberries

Snack: Carrot sticks with hummus

Lunch: Strawberry almond kale salad with citrus French dressing and grilled rooster breast

Snack: Celery with peanut butter

Dinner: Tempeh taco sliders with tomato, cabbage, and vegan bitter cream

Day 5

black bean burger

Black bean burgers are a scrumptious various to dull, frozen veggie burgers.

Photography by Matthew Lankford/Getty Images

Breakfast: Fruit smoothie

Snack: Baked kale chips

Lunch: Black bean veggie burger on a whole-wheat bun

Snack: Popcorn with dietary yeast

Dinner: Veggie pasta salad with lime and balsamic vinegar

Day 6


Kick off day 6 with a protein-packed egg scramble.

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Breakfast: Egg scramble with mushrooms, onions, and peppers

Snack: Fruit smoothie

Lunch: Avocado “Reuben” sandwich on rye with mustard, sauerkraut, and vegan thousand island dressing

Snack: Rice muffins with nut butter and pomegranate seeds

Dinner: Vegetarian chili

Day 7

mac and cheese

Treat your self on day 7 with some mac and cheese. You’ve earned it!

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Breakfast: Whole-grain bagel with peanut butter and banana

Snack: Tomato, cucumber, and basil salad with tahini or French dressing

Lunch: Whole-wheat mac and cheese (both with actual cheese or vegan cheese made with soaked cashews and dietary yeast), roasted broccoli

Snack: Almonds and clementines

Dinner: Curried coconut quinoa with shrimp and roasted cauliflower

What the analysis says a few flexitarian weight loss program

Research that’s particularly on the flexitarian weight loss program is restricted because the tips aren’t as strict as vegetarianism and veganism, which makes flexitarianism harder to check. 

That stated, there’s loads of analysis indicating some great benefits of lowering your consumption of animal merchandise whereas consuming extra entire grains, veggies, legumes, and different plant-based meals.

Better weight administration and physique composition

Jaramillo says that since plant-based proteins are usually excessive in fiber, they will make you are feeling full for longer whereas lowering your total caloric consumption — which may in the end result in weight reduction. Here’s what the analysis says:

  • A 2011 comparative examine confirmed a connection between the consumption of animal merchandise and physique mass index (BMI). The extra animal-based meals in topics’ diets, the upper their BMI tended to be. While vegans had the bottom BMI, semi-vegetarians nonetheless had a decrease BMI than non-vegetarians. 
  • Another 2010 examine discovered a optimistic affiliation between complete meat consumption and weight achieve, even after adjusting for caloric consumption. This aligns with the findings of a 2015 examine, which stories that post-menopausal Korean girls who maintained a semi-vegetarian weight loss program over 20 years had a “significantly lower” BMI, in addition to physique fats proportion, than the non-vegetarians within the examine. 
  • Additionally, a 2019 examine performed in Spain discovered “pro-vegetarian” weight loss program — which researchers outlined as “preference for plant-derived foods but not exclusion of animal foods” — can assist cut back the danger of weight problems. 

Lower blood stress

  • According to a 2020 assessment, a plant-based weight loss program has been proven to decrease blood stress — even when small quantities of meat and dairy are nonetheless consumed.

Reduced threat of coronary heart illness and coronary heart failure

  • In 2017, researchers on the Icahn School of Medicine in New York discovered that individuals who largely ate a plant-based weight loss program have been 42% much less prone to develop coronary heart failure all through the four-year examine, in comparison with individuals who ate fewer plant-based meals. 
  • Similarly, a 2017 overview discovered proof that prime consumption of plant-based meals is related with a considerably decrease threat of heart problems. Researchers consider this could also be as a result of plant-based meals are excessive in heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-Three fatty acids, in addition to fiber and antioxidants.

Reduced threat of sort 2 diabetes

  • A 2018 examine within the Netherlands discovered weight loss program that emphasised plant-based meals was related with decrease insulin resistance, decrease threat of pre-diabetes, and decrease threat of sort 2 diabetes. 

Reduced threat of most cancers

  • A 2015 examine of greater than 77,000 individuals discovered that semi-vegetarians have been eight% much less prone to get colorectal most cancers — the second main reason behind cancer-related deaths — when in comparison with non-vegetarians.

Reduced irritation

  • A 2019 assessment discovered plant-based weight loss program could assist to scale back irritation, and thus, assist to alleviate painful signs related with rheumatoid arthritis. 

Insider’s takeaway

A flexitarian weight loss program presents a perfect compromise for individuals who often eat meat and need to reduce down on meat and dairy merchandise with out giving them up totally.

Research suggests that individuals with hypertension, sort 2 diabetes, or

coronary heart illness
can profit from the flexitarian weight loss program. 

Moreover, “anyone can benefit from a flexitarian diet — but those with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis may see the greatest benefit with decreased inflammation,” says Jaramillo.

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