Dec. 1, 2012 at 5:43 PM ET
1: Add These Flat Belly Foods To Your Shopping List
Proteins: Chicken, Turkey, Eggs
Complex Carbs: Sweet Potato, Brown Rice Cakes, Oatmeal, Leafy Greens (broccoli, spinach, asparagus, lettuce, kale, chard etc.)
Simple Carbs: Apples, Berries
Fat: Raw Nuts, Nut Butter (almonds, cashews, walnuts, almond butter, peanut butter)
Bonus Food: Beans. Legumes are a great source of protein, carbs, good fats and fiber.
15 Superfoods That Will Rev Up Your Metabolism
2: Try this Anti-Bloat Breakfast Smoothie
Start your day off with this anti-bloat smoothie. It’s high in fiber, which prevents constipation. Additionally, it contains natural digestive enzymes that help to breakdown hard-to-digest foods that can cause bloating.
3/4 cup papaya
3/4 cup pineapple
1/2 pear, sliced
1 tsp ginger, fresh
1 tbsp flaxseed, ground
2 mint leaves (garnish)
1 cup water
1/2 cup ice
Blend all ingredients. Drink with probiotic straws to maximize the benefits of a healthy diet and support normal absorption and assimilation of nutrients in the gut.
3: Do This 5-Minute Flat Belly Workout
Get the abs of your dreams in only five minutes a day! Weight-loss guru Brett Hoebel’s miracle workout makes it possible. Consult this breakdown below for modifications appropriate for your fitness level appropriate for you. Then break a sweat to start flattening your belly in no time.
1. Balança and Ginga (1 min)
This is a figure-8 squat and then rocking lunge.
Easier: Don't go as low in your lunges.
Harder: Go faster!
2. Moving Plank (1 min)
Easier: Stay still or go down to your knees.
Harder: Lift one hand up when changing directions.
3. Push Kick Sit-Up (1 min)
Easier: Keep your feet on the floor and use hands on back of thighs to help you sit up.
Harder: Add a twist as you push kick.
4. Sit-Up Mountain Climbers (1 min)
Easier: Walk your legs and tap your toes during the mountain climbers. Harder: Add a push up during or after the mountain climbers.
5. Cardio Boxing (1 min) Left jab, 8 times; double left jab, 8 times; backhand right job, 8 times. Switch sides.
Easier: Go slower.
Harder: Punch harder and go faster.
4: Eat More Fat To Lose Belly Fat
Concentrate on a diet of monounsaturated fats, which increase fat-burning and flatten your stomach. Start eating olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. (Click here to quiz yourself on which foods will help to flatten your belly.) You also want to concentrate on eating whole grains and fiber. Studies show that whole grains help to trim fat from waistlines, and fiber will help with metabolism.
Eat three 300-400 calorie meals that include whole grains and 2 fiber-rich snacks. Try this Fiber-Filled Snack!
5: Skip These Foods To Keep Your Belly Flat
Packaged foods, partially hydrogenated oils and enriched flours are not your friends. Above all, remember this one word: transfats. Avoid it at all costs. Researchers have found that the transfats found in margarine, packaged cookies, crackers and pasta increase fat in your midsection, and can actually redistribute fat from other parts of the body to the belly. For more flat-belly foods, click here.
6: Slim Your Belly With Less Sodium
Sodium causes the body to retain fluid – a common cause of bloating. The American Heart Association suggests that only 1,500-2,300 milligrams of sodium should be consumed per day, but the average American takes in nearly 3,400 milligrams. Before you reach for the saltshaker, consider swapping your snacks for a healthier option. Rather than munching on a bag of potato chips, stick to fresh fruit and veggies. Avoid buying frozen dinners and processed foods, as they are often overloaded with salt.
A great all-natural alternative to table salt is Spike, Salt-Free Magic. Spike contains 37 herbs and spices. It doesn’t contain any salt so it will not result in water retention. You can find it at your local grocery store for $3. Click here for an Oz-approved no-salt spice mix recipe.
7: Beware of Belly-Bloating Starches
Starches are carbohydrates that are sometimes difficult for the stomach to digest. Heavy starches such as bread, potatoes and pasta can cause water retention. Any food products made from flour, especially whole-wheat flour, form gas when broken down in the large intestine. Beware of eating these types of food before bedtime to avoid feeling inflated in the morning.
8: Steer Clear of Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are frequently found in many reduced-calorie foods, processed products and diet or decaffeinated drinks. They contain chemical compounds called sucralose, aspartame and cyclamate that the digestive tract cannot break down easily. Sweeteners, which can be up to 300 times sweeter than natural sugar, are known to increase appetite and result in overeating. Be on the lookout for artificial sweeteners, and when possible, steer clear of them.
Carbonated drinks, like soda, cause air bubbles to form and expand in your abdomen. When they burst, carbon dioxide particles are dispersed in the stomach. They fill up your belly and cause bloating. Click here to wean yourself off soda with Dr. Oz’s 28-Day National Soda Challenge.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.