To clear the confusion, one must be made aware that there is no single food group that will make you lose weight. There is not one food that will blast belly fat. There is not one single exercise that will shrink your waist. It is an accumulation of foods and habits. But it is important to recognise that reducing your alcohol intake, quitting smoking, sleeping more hours, and being more active will put you on the right direction to a trimmer, more energetic you.
This 7 day challenge will present to you what a dietitian believes is key to achieving a flat belly diet
If you want to maintain this look, you have to maintain the habits. This is not a quick fix, nor is it a magic bullet, but rather serves as a platter of inspiration to kick start your challenge to a more confident you.
Increase your water intake. Aim to drink at least 2L today and every day. Drinking water before meals could actually help you eat smaller portions at each meal, saving you calories and minimising the belly puff. Water is essential for hydration. Did you know your body is made up of about 60% water? Don’t wait until you are thirsty – this is a sign of dehydration.
Even a mere 2% drop in body water can lead to reduced energy levels and poor concentration. Don’t like the taste of plain water? Why not add a squeeze of citrus or a dash of diet cordial.
Mononunsaturated fats (MUFA): Up your good fat intake and beat the belly bulge. Let’s start with avocado. Spread onto your sandwich instead of other spreads, chop into your salad, add it to your smoothie, or mash into a dip with pepper and lime juice. Aim for 1⁄4-1/2 avocado (50g) each day (depending on the size of the avocado). Avocado is a tasty, folate rich and fuss free addition to your diet.
Did you know that avocados are rich in antixoidants, fibre, Vitamin C and Vitamin E and folate? Avocado can even reduce total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and increase HDL (good) cholesterol! Have you had your avo today?
Go nuts with nuts and seeds. Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds. One serve is a small handful (30g), and can be enjoyed as a single snack, sprinkled over cereals or yoghurt, and thrown into a salad. Choose the unsalted variety for a guilt free snack which is sure to keep you satisfied.
Nuts are a good source of protein, MUFAs, antioxidants and a range of vitamins and minerals. They been shown to have positive heart health outcomes, particularly for those with high-risk of cardiovascular disease, and 30g per day, 5 times per week, has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease by 30-50%.
Enjoy some oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines and trout. Aim to consume oily fish 2-3x per week, starting from today. One serve is 150g, or about the size of your palm. The good news is that both the fresh and tinned varieties are just as nutritious. Seafood in general is an excellent source of protein and good fats, especially omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (DHA, EPA).
Did you know that it not only lowers the levels of bad cholesterol in your body, but also increases the level of good cholesterol, protecting you against heart disease, stroke, and a number of other conditions?
A number of studies have linked fish consumption with a number of benefits, including heart health, brain and eye health, reduced risk of asthma, improved diabetes management, fewer symptoms from inflammatory conditions. For a flat belly, enjoy fish grilled, baked, or steamed on a regular basis.
Choose wholegrains where possible at all meals in the day. Making your own bread or pasta? Use wholemeal flour. With the extra fibre and protein, vitamins and minerals, you are guaranteed to keep your bowel health working optimally, and will experience more sustained levels of energy. Fight the belly bulge by including brown rice, whole wheat pasta, barley, seeded breads, quinoa, lentils and anything whole grain into your diet today! After a wholesome snack? Try some wholemeal crackers with cheese and tomato.
Enjoying 2 fruits per day is the recommendation. And there is a reason – fruits are packed full of nutrition, and have been linked to cancer prevention, better diabetes management, improved heart health, eye health and bowel health. It a great fatigue buster and keeps the skin glowing. Enjoy a range of different fruits everyday – every different colour offers different antioxidants to improve your health and wellbeing, making them the ideal flat-belly food. Fresh is best, and it is best to eat your fruits rather than drink them to ensure you retain the fibre.
Choosing a fruit cup or tinned fruit for convenience? Choose fruit packed in juice, not syrup.
Cucumbers, capsicum, carrots, celery, sweet potato, beans, cabbage, snow peas – any vegetables that you have ever heard of will make it to this list. Eating 5 vegetables everyday is crucial, and every colour offers different antioxidants.
Vegetables are packed full of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. Whether they are fresh, frozen, raw or cooked, they are all equally nutritious, and make an essential addition to every person’s diet. Just remember, if you choose tinned varieties, go for the ones with no added salt. When preparing the vegies, steer away from boiling your vegetables to prevent the loss of nutrients in the water. Crunch and munch on more veg for a flat belly, and every day.