Summer is almost here, ladies, and that means it will be swimsuit season, so stock up on these flat belly foods to keep you feeling your best and more confident than ever! Don't think of flat belly foods as diet foods necessarily, but more as the best natural remedies to get you to your goals of having a flat belly. Flat belly foods are simply foods that keep the bloat away and prevent indigestion, gas and all that other yucky stuff that can leave us feeling less than pretty, to say the least! Incorporate one or more of these flat belly foods at each meal you eat and you’ll not only feel better, but also look a little more svelte too! Even if you’re not rockin’ a bikini this year, you deserve to eat foods that serve you well, so stock up now and be ready when June arrives!
1. Low-Sugar Yogurt
Yogurt is full of good properties that make it one of the best flat belly foods out there. The key is to avoid yogurts with artificial sweeteners, or that are high in sugar. Both sugar and artificial sweeteners can bloat you up fast, and make you retain water. Sugar is also a major part of why we gain unnecessary weight, so when buying yogurt seek out plain varieties and sweeten with some berries, stevia, or even a tad bit of honey. The best dairy options are plain Greek yogurt or organic, plain varieties. Why is yogurt so great? First of all, because yogurt is cultured milk, which means it contains natural probiotics that aid digestion, yogurt helps to beat bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. The healthy forms of bacteria known as probiotics found in yogurt also keep your tummy toned and flat by aiding in digestion and beating abdominal fat. Yogurt is also full of protein, which spikes your metabolism, prevents blood sugar crashes, and sustains you for longer periods of time. The protein and calcium in yogurt also lower stress, which lowers your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that causes fat to be stored in your stomach, or can create “nervous gas,” as I like to say, since it affects the nerves in your digestive system. Yogurt is also full of B vitamins as well, making it a great food for your metabolism and mood. If you’re vegan or dairy-sensitive, choose lower sugar coconut, soy, or almond milk varieties.
I love cucumbers and they are one fantastic flat belly food. Cucumbers are full of nutrients, including Vitamin C, potassium, fiber and water! Water is great for flushing out impurities, and helps to aid in bloating. Cucumbers are known as a natural diuretic, meaning they help extra water find its way out of your belly, so you can maintain a slenderizing look. I like to juice with cucumbers, add them to salads, green smoothies, or just nosh on them with a little unsalted raw nut butter for a snack. However you like to enjoy them, they are one of the best foods for a flat belly and are available all year round.
3. Raw Almonds and Raw Almond Butter
Raw almonds are a great flat belly food. They are generally one of the most tolerated nuts to digest as well, since they are technically a seed. Raw almonds are better than roasted since they retain their nutrients better, and healthy fats stay intact. When plant fats are heated, many can turn to harmful fats, since the heat changes their structure. Plus, I love how light and sweet raw almonds taste compared to heavy roasted varieties, which are also usually roasted with oil or salt, neither of which you want to include when you’re trying to eat for a flat belly. Raw almonds and raw almond butter are a rich source of Vitamin E, monounsaturated fats known as MUFAs and also protein! Vitamin E keeps your skin glowing and is a great antioxidant, and the MUFAs help to fight abdominal fat, while also keeping you full. These fats are also great for your heart. The fiber and protein in almonds help to keep cravings away, spike your metabolism, and keep your blood sugar stable. Almonds are a powerful food, but do be sure to keep portions at around 20 raw almonds or 2 tbsp. raw almond butter to keep from overeating. They are delicious any way you want to eat them, but I especially love them sprinkled with some cinnamon and eaten with a few raisins and raw pumpkin seeds.
I know that this veggie is typically thought of as a diet food, but celery is such a nutritional powerhouse! First of all, it is a great flat belly food because it acts the same way cucumber does in the body. It contains a great deal of water, so it helps flush out impurities, but it also aids in digestion. Celery is actually an ancient remedy to treat constipation and bloating. I love that it offers a crunchy, slightly salty taste to any dish it is added to. Celery is rich in Vitamin C, fiber and even natural sodium and potassium. This balances your electrolytes to prevent bloating, low energy, and it helps to flush the body of excess water. I like dicing celery up in small little pieces in a food chopper and adding it to salads, soups or using the whole stalk to juice with it. I also like to eat raw celery with a little raw almond butter for a quick snack. You can add chopped celery to just about anything, so get creative and use this flat belly food to keep you feeling top notch this summer!
Salmon is a great flat belly food, as most types of fish are. Salmon is especially rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, which not only aid in metabolism function, but also help to keep you full longer. Omega 3 fats have been linked to heart disease prevention, diabetes prevention, weight loss, and depression treatment/prevention. Salmon and all fish are a great slenderizing food. They are seamlessly digested, keep you full for hours and are incredibly lean. I love having quality grilled salmon over a salad or with some green veggies and a sweet potato for a nice dinner. Salmon is great grilled, baked, steamed or bought canned. Just be sure to rinse it well to get rid of excess salt, which can lead to bloating.
6. Dark Chocolate
I bet you didn’t know dark chocolate was a great flat belly food, did you? It’s true! Dark chocolate is excellent for fighting belly flab. First of all , the fats in dark chocolate with at least 80% cacao content or more promote a strong sense of satiety, which prevents cravings. Even better is that it contains a good bit of fiber for a small ounce serving. Dark chocolate is also a powerful antidepressant food, and stimulates the metabolism. It is a natural appetite suppressant and can help prevent sugar cravings when you avoid the sugary, milk chocolate varieties. The nutrients in chocolate act as a natural sedative, and promote a sense of calm, which rids the body of excess cortisol. Remember, cortisol is that rotten stress hormone that leads to cravings. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants as well, making it an overall great food for your heart health. I love having one ounce in the afternoon when the day is winding down. It prevents me from overeating at dinner, and also keeps my mood stable if my day has been a little stressful. This keeps me away from the unhealthy foods, and the small amounts of caffeine in chocolate give me a lift, while also flushing away a little water weight. An even better choice is raw cacao, which is pure dark chocolate at its finest with no added sugar.
Many bodybuilders use asparagus the day before or day of a competition or show because asparagus is a powerful food to rid the body of excess water, while still providing tons of nutrients. You don't have to be a bodybuilder to use or love asparagus though. Asparagus is actually a great "mood food" since it is high in B vitamins, and a great flat belly food. Asparagus is a natural diuretic, as cucumber and celery are, and it helps to flush toxins from the kidneys, liver and intestines. Asparagus is low in calories, high in fiber and extremely high in folate, a B vitamin which aids in bone health, metabolism, and fights depression. I love having grilled asparagus with fish for lunch for a filling, satisfying and slimming meal, which is perfect for the beach and swimsuit season!
8. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are all the rage right now, and with good reason! I especially love chia seeds for their incredible power to beat belly bloat and give me energy! Chia seeds gel up when added to liquids, about 10 times their original size. This creates a powerful effect to whisk away water weight and toxins, once they are ingested. Chia seeds are also rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, so they are a great substitute for salmon if you’re vegan, or a great addition to your diet overall. Chia seeds can be added to anything, are low in calories, and extremely high in fiber. They contain potassium, which is a powerful electrolyte that beats bloating, and keeps your body hydrated. Chia seeds are perfect to eat before a workout, or afterwards to replenish energy levels and electrolytes. They create a sense of fullness, which also makes them a great dieting food. I like to use about 2 tablespoons and add them to smoothies, homemade grain-free porridge, homemade healthy puddings, or just add them to a little almond milk to drink before a workout. To thicken chia seeds up to a pudding like consistency, be sure to soak about 2 tablespoons with 1 cup liquid about 10 minutes before consuming them. You can also just add them to blended beverages or salads if you like.
Flat belly foods are nature’s gift to us girls who want to beat away the bloat and have successful digestion. Nothing puts a damper on your mood or a day at the beach worse than bad digestion and bloating. Be sure to stay away from foods that can create gas and bloating such as raw broccoli, raw cauliflower, onions, fried foods, salty foods, high sugar foods, or worst of all, beans! Also stay away from carbonated beverages, sugary alcohol drinks, beer and foods like popcorn, peanuts and bran, which can cause digestion issues. You can save those foods when you’re not sporting your swimsuit or that little black dress! Eat these flat belly foods the day of and day before a big event, a day on the beach, or just when you want to fit in your skinny jeans! A few other favorite foods I like to beat the bloat are pineapple, raspberries and green tea. Do you have any flat belly foods you like to eat? Be sure to share them with me!