Beat the bloat with eight of the best stomach flattening foods to try this winter
Words Joy Montgomery
We all know there’s no quick fix to achieving the holy grail of fitspo: the flat, grate-cheese-on-it, washboard stomach. Sorry. However, every significant body transformation starts with baby steps. We believe making those small but significant food swaps and smart snack choices, alongside regular (and fun) exercise, is the key to achieving those summer-body goals.
We’ve rounded up eight of the best healthy, flat stomach-making foods to try this winter. From a tummy-happy alternative to your morning coffee, to an unexpectedly sweet treat; healthy eating doesn’t have to be painful – we promise.
1. Green tea
You either love it or you hate it, but there’s no denying that green tea is the healthy super hero of the hot drinks world. Used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, green tea is packed full of antioxidants, catechin and caffeine, which help speed up the body’s metabolism. Simply swap out your daily coffee or fizzy drink with this green hero, and reap the rewards.
They’re the low-fat, iron-rich, and not to mention low cost, secret weapon of nutritionists and dietitians. Pulses include everything from lentils and peas, to beans and chickpeas, and are the protein powerhouse of the food kingdom. Ideal for bulking out soups and casseroles, they absorb flavours and are an easy way to add fibre to your evening meals.
Available fresh, dried, powdered, crystallised and picked, ginger has traditionally been used for everything from combating colds to soothing nausea, however it is most highly prized for its ability to aid digestion and beat bloating. For the perfect post-dinner pick-me-up chop up fresh ginger and mix it into a mug of boiling water.
Its reputation may have been tainted by it’s unhealthy, deep fried cousin, but chicken is an incredible source of lean protein. You might notice your bulky male friends stocking up on the white meat, this is because increasing protein in your diet boosts your body’s energy expenditure without the stodginess of carbohydrates. You’ll survive the post-lunch lull without reaching for the biscuits. More energy, less calories – it’s a win-win situation.
Finding healthy and filling yet tasty snacks is the bane of every health-conscious office worker, and almonds are the perfect picking food for your desk drawer. Packed full of good fats, vitamin E, B vitamins, zinc and fibre, almonds are great for satiating your hunger and curbing sugar cravings. Sugar and salt-free almond butter is an easy and tasty way to include these power nuts in your diet – perfect on toast or smeared onto an apple slice.
This fashionable little grain, which now serves as the live blood of every shoreditch-dwelling gym bunny, was once the staple diet of the Incas and their descendants. Quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wa’) contains twice the protein content of rice or barley and is an excellent source of calcium and magnesium – alongside high levels of B vitamins, vitamin E and dietary fibre. It’s ideal for gluten-free diets and vegans who struggle to get enough protein in their diet.
It may have been the vegetable forced on you as a child, yet the humble broccoli is one of the world’s most underrated superfoods. Broccoli contains an abundance of tummy-loving nutrients, such as folate, calcium, vitamins A and C and fibre, which will fill you up for longer and help keep your bowels healthy and happy. Take that kale.
8. Dark chocolate
If you’ve got a sweet tooth fear not, for small amounts of good quality dark chocolate (anything above 65%) are incredibly good for you. Like avocados, dark chocolate contains healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which help speed up metabolism, and are a powerful source of antioxidants. 70% chocolate provides 67% of the RDA of iron. Just watch your portion sizes.