Get Perfect Flat-Belly Everyday with thisHealthy Eating Plan.
Get a flatter belly today by eating thesehealthy meals to reduce bloat.
Don’t carbo-load at breakfast.
Carbohydrates hold water in your body, whichmay make your belly bloat.
Plus, high-carb, high-sugar breakfast foodslike bagels or cereal might fill you up initially, but you’ll probably end up searching formore food within an hour, says Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, CDN, CSCS, spokesperson for the Academyof Nutrition and Dietetics.
“Those digest pretty rapidly, and then yourblood sugar spikes up and drops back down pretty quickly because they digest so fast,”she says.
That extra morning munching will likely addup to more calories and bloat than you would have had if you’d started with a more fillingbreakfast.
Choose Greek yogurt in the morning.
Look for a brand of Greek yogurt that containslive and active cultures, which will promote healthy bacteria in your gut to prevent bloating.
Plus, the protein in the yogurt will keepyou full.
Beef it up with fiber-rich oats, berries,and chia seeds for an extra filling morning meal—just don’t go overboard if your bodyisn’t used to digesting that much fiber, says Jessica Crandall, RDN, CDE, spokespersonfor the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
“If you’re not used to that amount offiber it causes gas, but if you work up to it slowly, it promotes a healthy GI system,”she says.
Slowly add a little more fiber to your dietevery day for a flatter belly, and increase your fluid intake to aid digestion and reduceicky symptoms like diarrhea and bloating.
Add a dose of potassium.
Sodium is a big culprit of bloat by causingyour body to retain water, but potassium helps counterbalance that salt.
“By eating more potassium, you can helpreduce bloating,” says Torey Armul, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, an Academy of Nutrition andDietetics spokesperson.
Slice banana into your yogurt, or scrambleup eggs with tomato and spinach, which are other good sources of potassium.
Make a healthy lunch salad.
A healthy lunch should consist of half non-starchyvegetables, with the other half split between whole grains and protein, says Rumsey.
“That way, you have some carbs but not toomuch,” she says.
Pick a dressing low in sugar and sodium—oliveoil with balsamic vinegar will give you a little healthy fat to keep you full and helpabsorb nutrients from your veggies.
Add at least three vegetables, 3 to 6 ouncesof a protein like chicken or beans, and just a thumb-sized amount of extras for crunchor flavor such as dried fruit, croutons, and olives, says Rumsey.
Double wash canned beans before adding themto your salad to rinse away their gas-forming, bloat-producing properties, says Crandall.
Don’t skip your afternoon snack.
Eating every three or four hours will preventyou from getting too ravenous.
Curb your hunger with a midafternoon snackso you aren’t starving by dinnertime.
“If you wait too long or build up this intensehunger, you’re more likely to choose those convenience foods and more likely to overeatat that next meal,” says Armul.
“You want generally smaller to moderateportion sizes because they’re an easier load for your body.
” Snack on string cheese and an apple.
Not only will the protein in cheese keep youfull so you’re not tempted to snack more later, but it can also help you avoid bloatingand gas.
Pairing it with an apple gives you an extrakick of nutrients.
“Protein helps the flow of digestion, andproduce gives you the nutrients your body needs, along with fiber,” says Crandall.
A banana with nut butter, or carrot stickswith hummus make other good combos of protein and produce.
Stay hydrated all day.
Not only does drinking water prevent you frommisinterpreting thirst signals as hunger, but contrary to popular belief, it actuallycan reduce water weight.
Staying well hydrated will help you digestand flush out the sodium holding water in, giving you a flatter belly.
“A lot of people refrain from drinking morewater if they’re bloated, but you actually do want to continue drinking more water throughoutthe day,” says Armul.
“It helps restore fluid balance.
” Pick the right ratios at dinner.
Like lunch, your evening flat-belly meal shouldconsist of half non-starchy vegetables, one-quarter whole grains, and one-quarter protein.
That combination is packed with nutrients,but will also keep you full.
A healthy plate might contain vegetables roastedin olive oil, a serving of quinoa, and three to six ounces of chicken or fish, says Rumsey.
Stick with fresh produce and meat.
Try to cook fresh when you can instead ofrelying on packaged foods, says Armul.
“There are preservatives in them to prolongshelf life,” she says.
“The thing that makes them so convenientis they’re there all the time, waiting on the shelf—but that also means they’rehigher in sodium.
” When that extra sodium holds water, you’llend up feeling bloated.
Choose your veggies strategically.
It’s probably no surprise that pasta isn’tthe best flat-belly dinner choice—after all, simple carbs won’t fill you up, soyou’ll probably end up eating a huge portion—but even your vegetable choice can make you overdoit on carbohydrates.
Load your plate with starchy vegetables likepotatoes, corn, and peas, and you could practically watch your belly blow up.
“That’s going to take you longer to digest,which will make you feel bloated,” says Rumsey.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbagecould also make you gassy and bloated, says Crandall.
While all of those veggies can be a part ofa healthy diet, stick with non-starchy, non-cruciferous choices like tomatoes, peppers, and mushroomson days when you’re particularly worried about bloat.
Don’t peel your veggies.
Even though it’s a carbohydrate, fiber canactually flush out bloat rather than holding water in like simple carbs do.
“It’s slow-digesting and really nourishesthe gut,” says Armul.
Leave the skins on fruits and vegetables soyou don’t throw out any of that healthy fiber.
Skip that diet soda.
Even calorie-free sodas can make your bellybigger because the carbonation will bloat you up.
“With carbonated beverages, there’s nowhereelse for gas to go but out, so either belch or gas,” says Crandall.
Plus, the artificial sweeteners in diet drinkscan cause bloating and gas in some people, says Armul.
Try water infused with lemon or cucumbersinstead for a flavorful, refreshing drink.
Your brain takes about 20 to 30 minutes toregister fullness signals from your stomach.
If you finish in just 15 minutes, you mightgo for seconds, thinking you’re still hungry, says Rumsey.
Eating more slowly will give your body timeto realize if it’s full, plus it can help you swallow less air into your digestive tract.
“You tend to swallow more air when eatingfast, and that can cause bloat,” says Rumsey.
Put your fork down between bites so you don’tend up shoveling food in your mouth, and count to 20 before you swallow each forkful, recommendsCrandall.
Pick a reasonable dessert.
Make dessert an occasional treat rather thanan everyday event so it doesn’t become a habit, says Rumsey.
If you’re already feeling bloated, eatingsweets full of simple carbs could just make it worse, says Armul.
“But if it’s been a healthy day and you’vestayed active, a small portion of dessert should be fine and won’t cause major bloating,”she says.
The key to making it fit into your flat-bellyday is sticking with one small portion—a serving of ice cream is probably smaller thanyour usual scoop (or two)—or picking a healthier choice, like frozen fruit, to satisfy yoursweet tooth.
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8 Signs You Are Eating too Much Bad Fat.
Too much bad fat—saturated and trans—canlead to more than weight gain.
But how much is too much? If any of the following signs sound familiar,it might be time to change your diet.
You keep having “senior moments” If you struggle to remember names, dates,or what you ate for breakfast this morning, you might want to take a look at your diet.
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospitalin Boston, Massachusetts analyzed the diets of 6,000 women over the age of 65 and foundthat those who consumed the highest amount of saturated fat had worse overall memoryand cognition over four years of testing.
Swap out saturated fat-heavy butter and redmeat for olive oil and fish, rich in “good” mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, known tohelp protect against mental decline.
Nutrition labels? Who reads those? Trans fat, the worst type of dietary fat,is the sneakiest because it can hide in plain sight if you don’t know what to look for;and if you throw items in your shopping cart without glancing at the labels, you couldingest way too much.
“People might be eating a lot of trans fatwithout even realizing it, depending on which processed foods they buy,” says GeorgiaGiannopoulos, RD-AP, CDN, CNSC, a senior dietitian at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornellin New York City.
Trans fat is often listed on the ingredientlist as “partially hydrogenated oil.
” It wreaks havoc on your body by increasingthe amount of bad LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and reducing the amount of good HDL cholesterol.
It also triggers inflammation, which has beenlinked to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Foods commonly containing trans fat includepackaged items like cookies, crackers, chips, doughnuts, some frozen meals, pie crust, stickmargarine, and coffee creamer.
You think all fats are equal.
“Not knowing what types of fats are healthierthan others is a big reason people might eat too much of the bad,” says Giannopoulos.
Saturated fat, the bad kind, is found in redmeat, whole milk, cheese, butter, and poultry with the skin on.
It’s also found in some oils that peoplemistake for super-healthy, such as coconut.
“Olive oil, sunflower oil, and flaxseedoil are better for you,” she says.
You’re constantly popping antacids.
If you take your morning coffee with a sideof Tums, it could be a sign you’re eating too much fat.
Saturated fat takes longer to digest, so whenyou eat a fatty meal, indigestion and heartburn can bubble up the next day when excess stomachacid splashes back into your esophagus.
You’re a fried food junkie.
French fries and chicken wings might be treatsfor your tastebuds, but not for the rest of your body.
Deep fried foods are packed with trans fat,which throw your good and bad cholesterol levels out of whack and can even make youinsulin resistant, increasing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
And it doesn’t take long for your healthto take a hit: Harvard researchers found that for every 2 percent of calories from transfat daily, the risk of heart disease rises by 23 percent.
You have high cholesterol.
If your cholesterol levels are higher thanyour doc would like, don’t assume only your genetics are to blame.
Saturated fat drives up levels of bad cholesterolin your blood, which can increase your chance of developing heart disease.
If your cholesterol is high, be mindful ofhow much red meat, eggs, and fatty dairy you consume; and follow the American Heart Association’srecommendation of no more than 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat a day for a 2,000 caloriediet.
You cook everything in butter.
If you try to mimic your favorite TV chefin your own kitchen, you’ll likely find butter makes a frequent appearance.
But beware—just two tablespoons of buttercontains 23 grams of fat, almost all of it unhealthy saturated fat.
Leave the butter for your toast and use oliveoil, which is filled with healthy monounsaturated fat, for cooking.
Your favorite pants feel snugger and snugger.
Consuming too much of anything unhealthy makesweight gain more likely, but especially when it comes to saturated fat.
A small Swedish study found that participantswho ate a large amount of saturated fat (in the form of muffins) over the course of sevenweeks gained more belly fat than those who ate muffins made with polyunsaturated fat.
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