Let's get real: Eating well in the summertime is easier said than done. Every time you think you're on the right track, another BBQ or happy hour comes along to put a dent in your diet. After all, can you really say no to every juicy burger or margarita that comes flying your way? The problem is, these salty, fatty foods can add instant bulk around your stomach, making you feel bloated, out of shape and uncomfortable in your bikini.
So how can you slim down your midsection and still be a summertime socialite? Registered Dietitian Cynthia Sass has the skinny on what to eat and what to avoid for a flat belly fast!
DO: Drink ginger tea, hot or cold, or add fresh grated ginger to your green or black tea. Add some to your water or meals, too. Ginger has a calming effect on your gastrointestinal tract and can help reduce bloating.
DON'T: Eat or drink gassy things like broccoli, beans, high-fiber foods, carbonated drinks or artificial sweeteners. They can cause buildup in your GI tract, which swells like a balloon filled with air.
DO: Eat small, frequent meals or snacks. Smaller meals spaced about two to three hours apart will take up less space in your stomach (causing less expansion) and keep you fueled and feeling full.
DON'T: Skip meals, chew gum or drink through a straw. They all cause you to swallow more air which gets trapped in your belly, creating a "poochy" look.
DO: Eat high potassium foods including avocado, mini bananas, papaya, mango, cantaloupe and nonfat yogurt (made without artificial sweeteners). Potassium is a natural diuretic, so it will help reduce water retention and puffiness.
DON'T: Eat too many bulky foods that take up a lot of space in your stomach, like raw veggies, raw fruits and popcorn. These are normally on my "must eat" lists, but if you want your tummy to look flat, limit your portion sizes or spread them out throughout the day. Your stomach can expand to hold about six cups (about six baseballs) of food, and while these particular foods are low in calories and super healthy, they stretch out the stomach. If you want your stomach to stay flat, you won't want to stretch it too much at one meal.