All of us crave a flat tummy; women, so they can flaunt themselves in a bikini; men, so they can first flaunt a flat tummy, and then move on to attaining those dreamy 6-pack abs. Presented here is a diet plan for men and women alike that will help you in your quest. What’s more, it does not involve starving yourself to death.
- You should consume 1,600 healthy calories in a day.
- You should be eating every 4 hours.
- Every meal should contain one food item with monounsaturated fatty acids.
- Have an early dinner, by 7 pm.
- Avoid fruits and other complex carbohydrates at night.
- No diet is effective without a good exercise routine.
- Reduce your intake of sodium (salt). It is one of the main causes of water retention and bloating, which is first experienced around the tummy.
- An excess of anything is bad. Moderation is the key when trying to achieve any goal.
- The foods mentioned here can be cooked in olive oil, canola oil, or soybean oil, to include the monounsaturated fatty acids required by the body in this diet.
You can include the following foods as part of your breakfast:
- Low Fat Dairy Products
Any kind of low fat dairy products such as milk and yogurt can be part of your breakfast. Not only do they provide the necessary calcium required by your body, they are rich in proteins that help in burning fat.
Fruits such as blueberries, apples, grapefruit, oranges, papaya, guava, apricots and watermelon, are all fiber rich fruits and are in fact, negative calorie fruits. That means the body requires more calories to burn the fruits, than the actual calories contained in them. Even though they are negative calorie fruits, they contain natural sugars, and should not be overeaten.
- Breakfast Cereal and Oatmeal
Whole grain breakfast cereal is a rich source of complex carbohydrates that targets the belly fat, and is the best option for breakfast. Ensure they are unsweetened, and contain at least 2.5 grams of fat per serving. Another option is oatmeal, eaten unsweetened. Oatmeal has the capacity to lower blood cholesterol and target the fat cells, because it is extremely rich in fiber.
Many of you may be concerned about the fat contained in eggs, mainly in the egg yolk. In such a case you can discard the yolk and eat just the egg white. Egg whites are full of protein. Protein keeps the stomach full for longer, helps in building muscle, which in turn, keeps the fat away.
For lunch, include one or more of these foods:
- Lean Meat
Try and eliminate red meat from your diet, and instead include white meat which is lean, and a great source of protein. Fish such as salmon and tuna are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, that are healthy fats required by the body. Chicken is also a good option, being a rich source of protein. Eaten grilled, or boiled, these make for great foods to be included in the diet. Opt for leaner cuts of meat such as pork, beef and turkey.
- Whole Grain or Multi-Grain Foods
As mentioned earlier, complex carbohydrates are essential for the body, and eliminating carbohydrates should not be part of your plan. Eating whole grain or multi-grain breads is the best way to incorporate these in your meals. ‘Brown’ bread is not whole grain bread. Ensure you find the right breads for this purpose. Avoid rice, pasta, bagels, and other foods made of refined flour. Brown rice, however, is a healthier option for rice lovers.
Vegetables, eaten stir fried, grilled, or in the form of a salad, are always great to lose belly fat. You can eat, broccoli, spinach, celery, capsicum, cauliflower, carrots, artichokes, onions, sweet potatoes, and other healthy greens as part of your lunch. If you wish, you may include a very small amount of potatoes in your meal.
For dinner, which should ideally be eaten by 7 pm, include the following foods:
Beans are excellent sources of fiber, and iron, both of which are essential for good health. The fiber, particularly helps in keeping the belly fat away. The beans that you can include in your meals are soybeans, lima beans, kidney beans, and even chickpeas. This does not include baked beans or re-fried beans. Beans are best eaten when thoroughly boiled, and can even be included in a salad.
Popularly known as the cheese of Asia, tofu is bean curd made from soy milk. It is an extremely rich source of protein, and can be added to a meal of stir fried vegetables. It can also be eaten scrambled, by adding a variety of herbs of your choice. The taste for tofu may have to be acquired, before it becomes a part of your diet.
- Soy milk
A glass of soy milk at night, is the perfect way to end your meal. It has the necessary amount of protein, and helps in keeping the tummy full, so you won’t be reaching out for a late night snack.
Though the options for lunch and dinner have been separated, they can be interchanged as per your choice and convenience. However, try to avoid the intake of carbohydrates for dinner. Keep them for the day when they can be digested better.
So that you eat healthy every four hours, include the following snacks in your diet:
- Nuts and Seeds
Nuts such as almonds, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, and peanuts, are great sources of the monounsaturated fatty acids that should be consumed as part of the flat stomach diet. They are also fibrous and rich in vitamin E that has antioxidant properties. Other seeds such as pumpkin seeds and flax seeds are also great options to be consumed in this diet. These can be mildly roasted to suit your taste, but ensure that you eat them unsalted.
- Light Smoothies
Smoothies made with fruits, low fat dairy, and whey protein, are the best smoothies that you should have. Opt for smoothies without sugar, as we all know the evils of sugar that ultimately turns into fat. Smoothies are very filling, and can even be replaced for an entire meal.
- Peanut Butter Sandwich
A ‘natural peanut butter’ (unsweetened) sandwich (on whole grain bread), is another healthy snack that offers both, fiber, and monounsaturated fatty acids that are necessary to achieve your flat stomach. However, peanut butter is healthy only when eaten in the right amount. When overeaten, it is as bad as any other fattening food. One tablespoon of peanut butter is enough for your snack.
- Air-Popped Popcorn
Popcorn that is air popped, and eaten without salt and butter, is the best snack you could include in your diet, as it has minimal calories. If you must prepare it on the stove, prepare it with olive oil, that is healthy and also your necessary source of monounsaturated fatty acids. Do not buy ready-made packets of microwave popcorn as they are very high in butter and sodium.