Your Health Questions Answered

If You're Eating Less Meat, You Might Be a 'Reducetarian' and Not Even Know It

Whole Foods named it a top food trend for 2022.

By Allison Forsyth June 22, 2022


Image: Kari Perrin

If you've been eating less meat lately, you might be a reducetarian and not even know it.

The popular new diet has been recognized as a top food trend by Whole Foods and  Martha Stewart. Unlike vegan or vegetarianism, reducetarianism involves cutting back on the amount of animal products you eat while focusing on quality or quantity of products. This means you'll opt for grass-fed beef, pasture-raised eggs and antibiotic-free poultry while reducing animal protein intake overall.

Several brands have already hopped on the plant-based meat alternative trend. We've seen Impossible and Beyond Meat on the menu at fast food establishments and milk, cheese and egg alternatives filling grocery aisles. Some brands have even created "meat blends," a 50/50 meat and veggie combo.

Dietitians say reducetarianism is great way to incorporate a plant-forward diet without completely cutting out your favorite chicken, fish or beef dish. Paring down meat intake to even a few nights a week reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke because you're reducing the amount of saturated and trans fats and cholesterol you eat.

More plants equal more antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and plant proteins such as tofu, nuts and seeds can incorporate fiber, help manage weight and improve digestion. That said, including that one steak per month or chicken once a week can boost vital iron, vitamin B12 and amino acids levels (nutrients vegans often have to supplement).

So, your health may improve, but what about your budget?

Meat prices have skyrocketed since the beginning of the pandemic, up 20 percent compared to 2021. Cattle prices are up 15 percent since the start of the pandemic, making meat even more expensive at the grocery store. Reducing the amount of meat you buy will help you save money overall.

Reducetarianism also helps the environment. Livestock are responsible for 18 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and, according to the Green America organization, eating less meat is one of the quickest ways we can lower that.

Want to try it out for yourself? Here are some tips to get started.

Start slow.

Partake in the popular "Meatless Monday," trend, where you make plant-based dinners at the start of each week. Then, slowly incorporate more plant-based meals as you go.

Find ingredients you actually like.

Don't eat tofu if you don't like it. If nut cheese isn't your thing, no big deal! Stick with the products that you enjoy and incorporate more of those.

Get the texture right.

Texture can be a huge obstacle for people going vegan or vegetarian. Fry up or sauté tofu to make it extra crispy. Roast vegetables if you don't like them steamed or raw. Play around with crunch and bite in your meals until you've found the most pleasing combo.

Find high-quality plant-based alternatives.

There are so many fake meat products on the market now, it can be overwhelming to decide. Sarasota nutritionist Mikka Knapp from Bright Body Nutrition gave us suggestions that she and her clients love. They include Beyond Meat burger patties, Just Egg plant-based substitute, Field Roast Vegan Chao Slices and Nancy's Oatmilk Yogurt.

Show Comments

Related Content