If you want to help the planet and stay healthy at the same time, you could consider becoming a flexitarian. A new study shows that one in every three Americans consider themselves flexitarians. The term was coined by dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner almost a decade ago.

In her 2009 book, "The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life," she wrote that one doesn't have to give up meat altogether to stay healthy. Instead, they can be flexible in their vegetarian diet by inserting an occasional meaty meal in their plant-based diet regimen.

It seemed like great advice for dieters who found it hard to give up meat altogether. The study showing the growing numbers of flexitarians was conducted by OnePoll in association with So Delicious Dairy Free.

It considered the diet choices of 2,000 Americans, which showed that 31 percent are following the flexitarian pattern. The average American is flexing his/her culinary techniques and eating habit by eating four meat-free meals a week and plant-based meals at least once a day.

So, what is the reason behind the growing flexitarian movement?

Most people are choosing to flex their diets because it makes their healthy eating goals more sustainable. Three in 10 Americans don’t think they could go vegan full-time, while seven in 10 Americans believe a flexitarian lifestyle will allow them the ability to eat healthy without depriving themselves of the foods they love.

The other primary reasons are that flexing diets make them feel mentally and physically fit, help them be mindful of the planet and set an excellent example for their kids.

In the past, barriers like lack of taste, low texture and lack of quality in plant-based meals stopped people from committing to vegetarian diets. The plant-based industry has continued to innovate. Now, enjoying a plant-based lifestyle is easier than ever before.

According to the survey, Americans on an average consume two pescatarian meals, two vegan meals, three gluten-free meals, three paleo meals, and three dairy-free meals on a weekly basis.

Up north, Canadian dieters seemed to have embraced the flexitarian lifestyle as well. The statistics show that 1 in 5 Canadians are either restricting or eliminating meat from their diets. A staggering 3.5 million Canadians consider themselves flexitarians.

The nation's food-service industry has seen these signs and is quickly adapting themselves to match with the shifting dietary preferences. This includes the fast-food sector, though the pace is slow here. Brands include A&W's Beyond Burger, which uses pea protein instead of meat are good examples.