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It all starts with healthy breakfast choices, and follows through to lunch and dinner.

1. Don’t carbo-load at breakfast

1. Don’t carbo-load at breakfast
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Carbohydrates hold water in your body, which may make your belly bloat.

Plus, high-carb, high-sugar breakfast foods like bagels or cereal might fill you up initially, but you’ll probably end up searching for more food within an hour, says Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, CDN, CSCS, spokesperson for the US-based Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“Those digest pretty rapidly, and then your blood sugar spikes up and drops back down pretty quickly because they digest so fast,” she says.

That extra morning munching will likely add up to more calories and bloat than you would have had if you’d started with a more filling breakfast.

For more low-carb dieting tips, try these 15.

2. Choose Greek yogurt in the morning

2. Choose Greek yogurt in the morning
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Look for a brand of Greek yogurt that contains live and active cultures, which will promote healthy bacteria in your gut to prevent bloating.

Plus, the protein in the yogurt will keep you full. Beef it up with fiber-rich oats, berries, and chia seeds for an extra filling morning meal – just don’t go overboard if your body isn’t used to digesting that much fibre, says Jessica Crandall, RDN, CDE, spokesperson for the US-based Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“If you’re not used to that amount of fibre it causes gas, but if you work up to it slowly, it promotes a healthy GI system,” she says.

Slowly add a little more fibre to your diet every day for a flatter belly, and increase your fluid intake to aid digestion and reduce icky symptoms like diarrhoea and bloating.

Here’s what else you need to know about the link between complex carbohydrates and fibre.

3. Add a dose of potassium

3. Add a dose of potassium
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Sodium is a big culprit of bloat by causing your body to retain water, but potassium helps counterbalance that salt.

“By eating more potassium, you can help reduce bloating,” says Torey Armul, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson based in the US.

Slice banana into your yogurt, or scramble up eggs with tomato and spinach, which are other good sources of potassium.

Did you know that potassium intake also helps relieve blood pressure? Eat more of this to get more of a potassium boost than any other fruit or vegetable.

It all starts with healthy breakfast choices, and follows through to lunch and dinner.

4. Make a healthy lunch salad

4. Make a healthy lunch salad
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A healthy lunch should consist of half non-starchy vegetables, with the other half split between whole grains and protein, says Rumsey.

“That way, you have some carbs but not too much,” she says.

Pick a dressing low in sugar and sodium – olive oil with balsamic vinegar will give you a little healthy fat to keep you full and help absorb nutrients from your veggies.

Add at least three vegetables, 3 to 6 ounces of a protein like chicken or beans, and just a thumb-sized amount of extras for crunch or flavour such as dried fruit, croutons and olives, says Rumsey.

Double wash canned beans before adding them to your salad to rinse away their gas-forming, bloat-producing properties, says Crandall.

Try here for some more delcious and healthy salad options.

5. Don’t skip your afternoon snack

5. Don’t skip your afternoon snack
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Eating every three or four hours will prevent you from getting too ravenous.

Curb your hunger with a mid-afternoon snack so you aren’t starving by dinnertime.

“If you wait too long or build up this intense hunger, you’re more likely to choose those convenience foods and more likely to overeat at that next meal,” says Armul.

“You want generally smaller to moderate portion sizes because they’re an easier load for your body.”

If you’re struggling, here’s how to keep your portion sizes under control.

6. Snack on string cheese and an apple

6. Snack on string cheese and an apple
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Not only will the protein in cheese keep you full so you’re not tempted to snack more later, but it can also help you avoid bloating and gas.

Pairing it with an apple gives you an extra kick of nutrients.

“Protein helps the flow of digestion, and produce gives you the nutrients your body needs, along with fibre,” says Crandall.

A banana with nut butter, or carrot sticks with hummus make other good combos of protein and produce.

Looking for more ways to get cheese into your diet?

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It all starts with healthy breakfast choices, and follows through to lunch and dinner.

7. Stay hydrated all day

7. Stay hydrated all day
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Not only does drinking water prevent you from misinterpreting thirst signals as hunger, but contrary to popular belief, it actually can reduce water weight.

Staying well hydrated will help you digest and flush out the sodium holding water in, giving you a flatter belly.

“A lot of people refrain from drinking more water if they’re bloated, but you actually do want to continue drinking more water throughout the day,” says Armul.

“It helps restore fluid balance.”

And while you’re at it, here are the arguments for and against drinking bottled water.

8. Pick the right ratios at dinner

8. Pick the right ratios at dinner
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Like lunch, your evening flat-belly meal should consist of half non-starchy vegetables, one-quarter whole grains, and one-quarter protein.

That combination is packed with nutrients, but will also keep you full.

A healthy plate might contain vegetables roasted in olive oil, a serving of quinoa, and 85 to 170g of chicken or fish, says Rumsey.

And by the way, quinoa is one of the 15 best super-foods for diabetics.

9. Stick with fresh produce and meat

9. Stick with fresh produce and meat
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Try to cook fresh when you can instead of relying on packaged foods, says Armul.

“There are preservatives in them to prolong shelf life,” she says.

“The thing that makes them so convenient is they’re there all the time, waiting on the shelf – but that also means they’re higher in sodium.”

When that extra sodium holds water, you’ll end up feeling bloated.

Not all processed foods are bad news, though – some convenience foods can save time without costing your health.

It all starts with healthy breakfast choices, and follows through to lunch and dinner.

10. Choose your veggies strategically

10. Choose your veggies strategically
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It’s probably no surprise that pasta isn’t the best flat-belly dinner choice – after all, simple carbs won’t fill you up, so you’ll probably end up eating a huge portion – but even your vegetable choice can make you overdo it on carbohydrates.

Load your plate with starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn and peas, and you could practically watch your belly blow up.

“That’s going to take you longer to digest, which will make you feel bloated,” says Rumsey.

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage could also make you gassy and bloated, says Crandall. While all of those veggies can be a part of a healthy diet, stick with non-starchy, non-cruciferous choices like tomatoes, capsicum and mushrooms on days when you’re particularly worried about bloat.

You certainly wouldn’t catch Queen Elisabeth II eating starchy foods like that.

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– The Reader’s Digest team