Get a flatter belly today by eating these healthy meals to reduce bloat.
By Marissa LaLiberte
It all starts with healthy breakfast choices, and follows through to lunch and dinner.
1. Don’t carbo-load at breakfast
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.
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.
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.
Reader’s Digest Magazine delayed due to coronavirus Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in Malaysia and the Philippines, Reader’s Digest magazine will not be available at its regular on-sale date to our subscribers or through our retail channels in these regions. We hope to have the issues available around 15 April in Malaysia and around 24 April in the Philippines, but this is dependent on when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe! – The Reader’s Digest team