Swimsuit season may be over, but you can still keep your flat summer tummy throughout the year by eating foods that prevent bloating and help build muscle. Here are some delicious options:
Protein is great for keeping weight in-check because it digests slowly, so you feel full longer and burn extra calories, according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Nutrition. Low-fat Greek yogurt has twice as much protein and higher amounts of helpful probiotic bacteria compared to traditional low-fat yogurt. The Greek variety boasts 13 to 16 grams of protein per 6-ounce container and extra probiotics to help your body absorb nutrients and ease digestion.
Tip: Fruit-flavored varieties may tack on another 50 calories so opt for plain and stir in some fresh berries.
Salmon, mackerel, tuna and other varieties of fatty fish are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, a winning combination for satiety and fat-burning that supports healthy weight control. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that people who ate three 5-ounce servings of salmon per week for four weeks as part of a low-calorie diet lost about 2.2 pounds more than those who ate a diet equal in calories that did not include fish.
Tip: Go for wild salmon, which is leaner than farmed salmon.
This nutrition-packed fruit contains a unique fiber called pectin that promotes growth of healthy gut bacteria, which in turn helps boost metabolism. Pectin also absorbs water as it passes through the digestive tract, which curbs hunger while reducing bloat.
Egg whites can help you have a trim tummy because they are extremely high in lean protein, which is essential for building and maintaining strong, healthy abdominal muscle. The body cannot produce certain amino acids on its own, which is why it’s important to get complete protein from quality food sources such as eggs.
Compared to other fruits these tasty morsels are lower in sugar and higher in belly-filling fiber, so a generous one cup serving of berries satisfies hunger for relatively few calories. Plus, all that fiber (one cup of raspberries packs an amazing 8 grams!) helps banish bloating by keeping your digestive tract working in top form.
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.