health and wellness

Foods to Flatten Your Belly

As many of you baseball fans know, it is almost the first official day of Spring Training! Pitchers and catchers report on February 10th, which means that we are down here in sunny Fort Myers and getting ready for baseball season. For Ryan, getting ready for baseball season means a lot of things. In November he started working out with a trainer 4-5 days a week. By the end of January he’s doing full baseball workouts and continuing to work his butt off to prepare for the 2013 season. For us wives and girlfriends, getting ready for Spring Training is something completely different. Spring Training is about looking good in a swimsuit way earlier than anyone planned. I am personally trying to capture any sun I can find- I have been a pale ghost all winter. Spring Training preparations also means toning it up in the gym. When you workout hard and eat well, you feel good. Confidence is always the best swimsuit accessory.

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To prepare for Spring Training, it is extremely important to give your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs to boost your metabolism. If you do this correctly you’ll see changes quickly. Goal #1 for that bikini bod: a flat tummy. In addition to cardio exercise and sit ups, here are 7 groups of foods to incorporate into your diet to achieve those washboard abs. These foods are on the list because they are packed with fat-fighting, metabolism boosting properties. Here’s the list:

Quinoa Breakfast Cereal with Bananas, Berries and Almonds 1) Almonds- almonds are high in good fats, protein, and fiber, which means that you will feel full after eating them. They flatten your tum by reducing fat absorption in your cells and stabilize your blood sugar levels. 23 almonds make a perfect servings size, which just about fits in an empty Altoid can. Fill up your can each morning and you have an easy, totable snack to take with you for the day.

detox smoothie2) Apples– apples are sneaky little do-gooders for your body. You eat them and taste their sweetness, but they are relatively low in sugar. They have a high fiber content, which helps keep your digestive system moving. Most importantly, they are 85% water based, which means that you feel full after eating them. Apples are easy to incorporate into your salads, smoothies, or have as snacks throughout the day. One of my best friends Becca always cuts them into thin vertical slices instead of eating them straight off the core. I’ve used this trick ever since because I eat it slower and feel like I am getting so much more out of my snack.

3) Berries- berries are a great ingredient to add into smoothies and desserts. Berries are full of fiber and antioxidants. Antioxidants are great for your body because they help reduce your risks for cancer and improve your blood flow. This maximizes your workout so that you continue to burn calories after you’ve finished at the gym. Blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries, and raspberries are all easy additions to your weekly menu. If you can find them fresh, buy them cheap. Otherwise use frozen berries for the same nutritional result.

Breakfast Pizza Eggs Gluten Free Chickpea Crust 4) Eggs- eggs are deemed the “perfect protein” because you have protein, fat, and amino acids all in a shelled container. Eggs are an obvious breakfast choice, but also make a nice addition to dinner in dishes like Fried Rice. The only caution with eggs is their cholesterol, if you need to watch intake.

Fennel Apple Salmon Fish5) Salmon– salmon is on the list because of its omega-3 fatty acids. What do those do? Omega 3s help increase your metabolism and make it run as efficiently as possible. They also slow down your digestion of food, which means that you feel full longer and eat less in one sitting. Omega 3 fatty acids can also be found in other fish like tuna and mackerel. If you are looking for a different spin on salmon, try my Salmon with Fennel Apple Relish for two flat-belly ingredients!

6) Yogurt- yogurt is a belly fat fighter because it contains natural enzymes and probiotic bacteria. Probiotic bacterias keep your system moving and reduce the fat in your cells. They also help prevent bloating, gas, and other wonderful stomach issues that will keep you out of a swimsuit at any cost. Try incorporating non-fat Greek yogurt into your diet for breakfast or as a late night treat. Make your smoothies a little creamier by using it as an ingredient in my Lean and Mean Green Smoothie.

7) The Fun Stuff- this list includes things that help prevent belly fat so long as they are used in moderation. This list of fun stuff includes red wine, dark chocolate, and avocados. I know avocados don’t sound nearly as exciting as the former foods, but I find that avocado is an easy one to over indulge in… especially if you and your friends are surrounding the guacamole bowl. Have each of these foods once per week for an indulgent, fat-fighting treat!

Other Healthy Tips:

FAQ: What Can I Eat at the Ballpark?
FAQ: What Can I Eat at the Ballpark?
FAQ: What is the Paleo Diet?
FAQ: What is the Paleo Diet?
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Curb Your Cravings
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