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7 Benefits of a Flexitarian Diet During the Meat Shortage & Beyond

June 29, 2020

More and more people are embracing the idea of a flexitarian diet, which focuses on plant-based meals but allows for meat in moderation. Hardcore carnivores are adopting the diet during the meat shortage and loving the benefits. Offering easy menu planning, with ingredients readily available at your local bulk food store, and a wealth of health benefits, eating flexitarian is a growing lifestyle trend. Want to learn more? Our wholesale produce suppliers share the details.

What to Know About Coronavirus Meat Shortages

The spread of coronavirus has dramatically impacted the meat industry. Across the nation meat packing facilities have had to temporarily close or slow production. In fact, beef production is down 25 percent and pork is down 15 percent. If you are a meat lover, the thought of meat shortages might have you in a panic. What could this mean for you and your household? Consumers are noticing higher beef, pork, and poultry prices, as well as empty shelves in the meat sections. 

While the industry is expected to bounce back, we are still likely to see the effects in the coming years. With the availability of meat an uncertainty, people are turning to a more vegetarian-based diet, with meat consumed in limited amounts. If you are looking to still enjoy a juicy steak, but want some alternative to meat as a main protein, then a flexitarian diet might be for you.

A Beginner's Guide to the Flexitarian Diet

What is a flexitarian diet? A flexitarian diet highlights plant-based and wholesome menus, without restricting meat and dairy. Think of it as vegetarianism, but flexible. Embracing flexitarian eating is really all about adding more healthy food to your diet and less about depriving yourself of your favorite meals. While there are no hard and fast rules to adhere to, there are some suggested guidelines to help you make the most of out the diet:

  • Incorporate more plant-based proteins into your diet and reduce the amount of animal-based ones. 
  • Eat more vegetables, fruit, legumes, and whole grains.
  • Limit your sugar and processed food intake. 
  • Focus on healthy fats like nuts, avocados, and whole eggs.
  • Consume animal proteins and animal fats in moderation. 

The beauty of a flexitarian diet is that you don’t have to deprive yourself of meat or hearty comfort food. The diet is about upping your whole-food intake and enjoying meat on occasion.

How Often Do Flexitarians Eat Meat?

Because the diet is so flexible, there aren’t necessarily set restrictions about how often meat is allowed. If you are just starting out on the flexitarian diet, try one night a week without meat, then build up from there. Some people shoot for six to eight meatless meals a month, while others aim for more. Need some menu inspiration? Check out these great flexitarian recipes and meal prep ideas to help get you started.

 7 Top Benefits to Eating Flexitarian

Due to its focus on plant-based foods, a flexitarian lifestyle promises a variety of benefits from health and well-being to environmental impact:

1. Good for Heart Health 

Diets, like flexitarianism, that are rich in healthy fats and high fiber have a positive impact on heart health

 2. Promotes Weight Loss 

Consuming less processed food and more wholesome meals can help you shed pounds. 

 3. Boosts Immune System 

Plant-based foods contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that are good for your overall health and may boost your immune system.

 4. Help with Diabetes 

Healthy diets, especially those low in processed sugar and high in plant-based ingredients, may be able to help manage type 2 diabetes.  

5. Good for the Environment 

Raising livestock increases greenhouse gas emissions and requires large land and water usage. Limiting meat consumption, through more plant-based eating, can reduce our carbon footprint and help preserve more natural resources. 

 6. Cost Effective 

Switching to a flexitarian diet might save you money on grocery bills. With meat prices rising, consuming less animal protein means less money spent at your grocery store. Buying plant-based ingredients, whole grains, and fresh produce in bulk from your wholesale restaurant supply store allows you to stretch your dollar even further. 

7. Easy to Follow 

Since the diet is designed to be flexible and doesn’t have strict rules in the same way vegetarian or vegan lifestyles do, the flexitarian diet is easy to stick to. You can shop for wholesome items and easily cook them at home. The diet makes shopping for and preparing meals at home a breeze. It also allows you the freedom to enjoy a delicious burger from time to time! 

Online Grocery Delivery of Wholesale Produce and More 

Looking to embark on a flexitarian lifestyle? Smart Foodservice has healthy, wholesale bulk foods and produce to help you get started. Offering online delivery through Instacart, you can browse our selection of high-quality products and have ingredients brought right to your door, saving you time and money. 

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