You’ll know what being a vegetarian means and even perhaps a vegan but have you ever heard the term flexitarian? It’s the name given to someone who largely eats a vegetarian diet but occasionally includes meat.

What does a flexitarian eat?

A flexitarian – a flexible vegetarian to give the name the full meaning – has a non-meat diet for much of the week but occasionally will eat something such as a piece of fish, some poultry or even steak. Many look to only eat meat which is organic and ethically sourced so they know that they are eating a product which has had the best rearing and living conditions and no added chemicals.

Are there many flexitarians?

Yes, and the number is growing. It’s a term which was first coined in the 1990s and at the time wasn’t really a lifestyle choice for many but there’s now a number of vegetarians who want to add extra protein perhaps once a week which has a traceable origin or meat eaters who want to largely cut meat out for ethical or health reasons but still want to enjoy a full Sunday roast. Year on year it’s predicted that the number of flexitarians is increasing by 50%.

I like to eat meat, how can I make this change?

A great way is to make the move gradually. Products such as Quorn are a fantastic way to eat meals which are similar in texture and look to meat but are full of healthy ingredients and are a great source of proteins. Chilli, lasagne and shepherd’s pie are all recipes which can be made with Quorn mince for example and you can pack even more vegetables into the meal either in the dish or as a side serving. If you’ve never tried Quorn before, check out the facts about how delicious and nutritious it is here .

What about my children?

It’s true that kids can be fussy when it comes to eating vegetables but there’s lots of ways to up their intake. Grate carrots into your bolognaise, chop mushrooms up small and mix with chick peas to make tasty burgers or add roasted butternut squash to  boiled potatoes to make a fantastic  bowl of mash to serve with dinner.

Isn’t being a flexitarian cheating at being a vegetarian?

No, for many vegetarians the reason they don’t eat meat is because of their beliefs regarding rearing environments and the use of chemicals. Combining a mix of healthy vegetables, beans, wholefoods and a small amount of meat where they know how the animal was raised means they are happy to be flexible in their food choices.