Although no one food can flatten a flabby belly, there are some things you can do to get a bikini-ready body for the summer.
Lay off the saltshaker and avoid excessive amounts of carbonated beverages and sugar alcohols — that’s because they can cause water retention, bloating and gas in sensitive people. Most importantly, make sure you’re eating a well-balanced diet with an appropriate amount of calories (too many calories will lead to fat accumulation everywhere — including your belly). The following foods can help maintain a flatter belly, too:
Cucumbers are loaded with water and naturally low in sodium (salt). Bonus: They’re incredibly low in calories; one whole cucumber provides only 45 calories.
Load your grill with mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant and asparagus — you’ll fill up and be more apt to pass on the heavier sides like macaroni and potato salad. For an easy, low-cal prep, spray your veggies with nonstick cooking oil and lightly toss with preferred seasonings.
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Frozen red/purple grapes
At only 80 calories per cup, frozen grapes are the perfect way to satisfy a sweet tooth without packing on the pounds. Plus, the red and purple varieties are brimming with antioxidants.
Loaded with water (which help fills you up, and flushes out extra water and salt), this vitamin C-rich summer fruit provides only 80 calories per cup or wedge.
For about 105 calories, bananas provide a hearty dose of potassium, which helps rid your body of extra sodium.
‘Nude’ air-popped popcorn
The perfect guilt-free munch food at only 30 calories and two grams of fiber per popped cup. But be sure to pass on the salt — use salt substitute if you need an alternative.
Nonfat, flavored yogurt
Gas is a common cause of a bloated belly, but adding one cup of yogurt a day to your diet can help keep your digestive system working efficiently. Yogurt contains beneficial bacteria called probiotics that may help reduce stomach bloating and gas.
One egg white provides only 17 calories and four grams protein — prepare an egg-white omelet for breakfast and you’ve got 12 grams of protein for less than 60 calories! What’s more, studies show that people who eat a protein-rich breakfast every day are better able to maintain a healthy weight, and healthy weight can mean a flatter stomach. By starting your day off right, you’re less likely to feel starved by lunchtime and may actually consume fewer calories throughout the day.
Unsweetened iced tea and coffee
Calorie free and full of antioxidants, these refreshing, cool beverages fill you up and help flush out extra sodium. Add a shot of natural sweetness to cold tea by slicing in fresh fruit and refrigerating overnight. And stick with skim, one percent reduced-fat or soy milk for the coffee.
For more information on healthy eating, visit Joy’s Web site at www.joybauernutrition.com.
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