At KSG’s one to one body composition clinics, we often get asked about the best foods to eat to rid oneself of the belly; aka, the muffin top. Getting rid of stomach fat seems to be a question that props up again and again. Unfortunately, due to different body shapes, some people may find it more difficult than others to get that flat tummy. There is no way to only lose fat from a specific area in the body but there are a few things that can help. Diet, stress and exercise can all play a role. Use these tips to help!
Eat More Plants
Try to base your meals around vegetables. This will bulk up the diet without adding extra calories. A large amount of vegetables can be eaten for the same number of calories found in a small amount of meat or carbohydrates. Eat more for less; sounds good to me! When making up your plate, a half should consist of vegetables, as shown below.
Cut the ‘Bad’ Carbs
Bad carbs include refined carbohydrates like white foods, pastries, cakes, chocolate and soft drinks. These foods have been heavily processed and contain very little fibre and other beneficial nutrients. They release their energy quickly into the bloodstream, which can lead to blood sugar highs and lows. This can result in over eating et voila; weight gain. Replace these with brown alternatives and healthy snacks like nuts, seeds and fruit.
Dose Up on Good Fats
Omega 3 and 6 are essential fatty acids that we need to consume from our diet. Omega 6 is generally inflammatory whereas omega 3 is anti-inflammatory. In the Irish diet, we tend to consume too much omega 6 and not enough omega 3. If there is too much inflammation present in the body, either due to the food we eat, stress or some other condition, weight loss is highly unlikely, especially from the tummy area. Find inflammation fighting omega 3 in foods such as salmon, mackerel, and milled chia and flax seed.
Add Protein at Every Meal
Adding protein to meals and snacks has been shown to increase satiety and delay the hunger response, playing an important role in weight loss. However, it is important to get this protein from a mixture of plant and animal sources, rather than just meat or dairy. Try out some peanut/almond butter and banana, hummus and oatcakes or nibble on nuts and seeds with a piece of fruit. Add a small amount of lean meat, chickpeas, beans or lentils into your main meals to get a protein boost.
Losing tummy fat can be difficult but with the right dietary choices, exercise and self-care, it can be done.