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Flexitarian Diet is a flexible vegetarian diet that includes the consumption of animal products in one’s daily diet. Dr Suvarna Sawant, HOD, Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital, says it emphasises a balanced diet comprising mostly vegetarian foods while allowing for moderate consumption of meat and animal products. The unique aspect of the diet lies in its flexible and inclusive approach to eating. Unlike strict vegetarian or vegan diets, which eliminate animal products entirely, the flexitarian diet allows for occasional consumption of meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs.

The Flexitarian diet includes a wide variety of foods: an abundance of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds for plant-based nutrients; and moderate amounts of meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs for additional protein and micronutrients. Beverages would focus on water, herbal teas, and other low-sugar drinks.

Varsha Gorey, clinical nutritionist at Apollo Hospitals in Navi Mumbai, says India needs needs a flexitarian menu, and this menu will help us to get the goodness and reduce the bad component in our diet. India’s rich culinary heritage is rooted in plant-based foods, making it conducive to embracing a flexitarian lifestyle. Traditional Indian cuisine emphasises a wide variety of vegetables, lentils, legumes, grains, and spices, which align well with the principles of a flexitarian diet. Furthermore, incorporating small amounts of locally sourced meats, dairy, and eggs can provide additional nutrients while still adhering to cultural preferences and dietary habits. 

The ideal flexitarian diet includes a variety of dishes. It can include dal (lentil stew), sabzi (vegetable curry), and roti (whole wheat flatbread), whch can form the basis of meals, supplemented with occasional servings of lean meats, fish, or dairy products.

Largely, the diet includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, soya, tofu, whole grains, plant-based milk (although dairy milk is okay in moderation), eggs, dairy (cheese, yogurt or dairy alternatives), nuts, seeds, nuts butter, and non-vegetarian products (animal protein) in restricted amount (meat, poultry and fish).

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