While no single food can "spot train" belly fat, some smart swaps can also improve gut health (eliminating cramps and gas!) and help you feel less puffy. Veggies, fruits, seeds, nuts, fish, whole grains, and other smart choices loaded with fiber and protein will keep you fuller longer, all while working their nutrient-powered magic. When it comes to healthy eating and weight loss, these plant-based foods loved by registered dietitians have your back.
Carbohydrates are converted into sugar when they enter your bloodstream. Since your body doesn’t usually need all the energy that the sugar produces, it converts most of the energy into fat. The plummet in blood sugar levels that always follows a spike causes you to feel hungry for more sugar. If this cycle is continually repeated, you won’t be able to lose weight fast; in fact, you might gain weight.
Based on my experience in nutrition counseling, most of us tend to snack on foods that aren’t nutrient-dense, but are high in calories. For example, skipping sugary beverages is often the easiest way to lose weight faster. You don’t feel full from drinks — even the ones that do contain calories — so swapping those out for sparkling water or unsweetened tea and coffee is the best place to start. Other major culprits often come in refined grains like cereals, chips, crackers, and cookies.
Start the day right with a berry parfait and an English muffin. Put four ounces of low-fat yogurt in a bowl with one tablespoon low-fat granola and ½ cup sliced strawberries. Add one more layer of yogurt and granola and finish it with ½ cup raspberries. You can eat this delicious berry parfait with half a toasted whole wheat English muffin topped with two teaspoons peanut butter.
Add a cup of low-fat milk, a part-skim mozzarella stick, or a half cup of low-sodium cottage cheese to breakfast, and you may have a belly-busting win. While lots of research links calcium with lower body weights, results from a 2014 study suggest that calcium-containing foods may reduce waist circumference in those genetically predisposed to carrying weight in their midsection.
While 1,200 may be the right number for some people, it can be super restrictive for others, says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. That’s why we’re using 1,200 as our base, and encourage you to build upon these meal and snack ideas by doubling (or tripling, quadrupling …you get the point!) up on veggies at any opportunity — and adding more fruit at snack time, too. You can also add 1-5 ounces of protein at all meals if at any point you’re feeling like it’s just not enough food to keep you satisfied. The combo of fiber from produce and lean protein makes this an adaptable strategy that’ll help you lose weight safely — one meal (and snack) at a time!
No Sugar and salt in moderation- Refined stuff is a strict no-no, and when it comes to sugar, it is best if you stick to natural sweeteners, like raw honey or stevia. Steer clear of refined table salt and choose rock salt or the Himalayan pink salt. Common salt has fallen out of favor recently as it results in a depletion of important minerals from your body at the cellular level.