Who wants to go to the beach feeling bloated? Not me! Bloating is a pretty common occurrence that most of us go through after eating. Bloating is generally caused by water retention or gas, a buildup of air in the intestines and stomach causing you to feel like someone is pushing on your stomach, from the inside out, which can be very uncomfortable. Here are foods to avoid and foods to enjoy for your day of fun in the sun!
Fiber: For a flat belly, try increasing your fiber intake. A healthy adult wants to aim for 25-30 grams of fiber per day. Not only will fiber help you feel full for longer, but it will also increase bowel motility helping to remove waste and avoid any bloating. The best part of fiber is that because it is the non-digestible component of plant-based foods, it will make you feel full without adding calories! Consider eating high-fiber foods such as whole-wheat breads, high-fiber cereals, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Turkey sandwich: 3 oz. lean turkey on a whole-wheat pita, with 2 slices of tomato, romaine lettuce and mustard. This remake of the classic deli sandwich provides you with the perfect combination of fiber and protein on the go. Switching from white bread to whole wheat will bulk up your fiber intake while providing you with essential vitamins and nutrients. In addition, all lean meats such as turkey breast help to speed up the metabolism and burn more fat simply because they require so much energy for complete digestion.
Low-fat string cheese and an apple or pear: Low-fat string cheese is a convenient and healthy snack — especially when you’re on the go. Although protein will provide you with needed energy, the addition of a fresh, crisp apple or juicy pear will provide you with a wonderful and filling snack of fiber and protein. According to researchers from the State University of Rio de Janeiro, overweight women who ate the equivalent of three small apples or pears a day lost more weight on a low-calorie diet than women who didn’t add fruit to their diet. This snack will keep you satiated through all your errands of the day.
Glenny’s Soy Crisps: Rather than grabbing a bag of chips, which contain unwanted calories and loads of trans fat, pick up a bag of Glennys’ Soy Crisps. They’re delectable, baked chips that come in a variety of flavors and pack in fiber and heart-healthy soy protein, and also have about 1/3 of your daily calcium needs. Whether your craving salty or sweet, these will surely keep you feeling satisfied all day long.
Gnu Flavor and Fiber bar: Thank goodness for energy bars convenient, pre-packed, pre-portioned meals that are simple, mess-free and portable! With so many different brands on the supermarket shelves, grabbing one while on the run is a simple way to satisfy your hunger… NOT SO FAST!!!
Many of these “energy bars” although marketed as “healthy” are simply glorified candy bars. Gnu flavor and fiber bars are one of your best options. Gnu bars have less than 150 calories and 3 grams of fat, but contain 12 grams of fiber —nearly half of the daily recommendation. These high-fiber, low-fat bars are a savior when you’re in a car, at the office or the gym. Choose from any of their 5 tasty flavors including cinnamon raisin, chocolate brownie, peanut butter, banana walnut, and orange cranberry.
High-potassium foods: Eating potassium-rich foods will also help combat bloating during bikini season. Potassium counterbalances sodium—which causes water retention and bloating—and has a diuretic effect on the body. So by eating foods that are high in potassium, you can reduce bloating naturally. When picking from the produce department, choose things like bananas, papayas, kiwis, strawberries, spinach, cooked beets and broccoli.
Increase your vitamin B6 consumption: Vitamin B6 acts as a natural diuretic, which helps to prevent bloating. It’s important never to consume more than 100 mg per day. Foods rich in vitamin B6 include yellow fin tuna, roasted chicken breast and avocado.
8 dried apricot halves with 1 oz. Everybody’s Nuts pistachios (European Roast): Not only are pistachios a great source of both fiber and protein, but they also contain antioxidants and vitamin B6. Enjoy pistachios with a high-fiber fruit such as dried apricots, which provide vitamin A, promoting good vision.
Star-Kist Lunch To-Go tuna kits (omit the crackers) and 4 GG Bran Crispbread high-fiber crackers: Sometimes the most satisfying snacks are those that resemble a meal. And tuna fish on crackers is a great mini-lunch, perfect for an on-the-go snack packed with 20 grams of fiber and and 20 grams of protein! Best of all, it comes filled with mayo, relish and a mini spoon!
Add in some vitamin E and polyphenols: Foods which contain polyphenols and vitamin E protect skin from damaging free radicals. For example, a preliminary finding in the Journal of Nutrition suggest that a regular intake of poleyphenols found in dark chocolate make skin hydrated and lessen the effects of a sunburn.
Dark chocolate: If a chocolate craving hits, nibble on some dark chocolate which contains both vitamin E and polyphenols.
Green tea: Rather than sipping on an ice-cold lemonade which contains 175 calories and 42 grams of sugar, sip on iced green tea. Not only is this calorie-free and sugar-free, keeping your waistline in tact, it contains polyphenols to protect your skin. And an added bonus, it contains EGCG, which studies have shown can rev up your metabolism and help you burn fat.
Sunflower seeds: Sunflower seeds are a great snack for the beach and contain high amounts of vitamin E.
Water: Not drinking enough water can cause dehydration, which leads to subsequent bloating. This is why it’s so important to drink enough water. In the summer months, it’s easy and essential to increase fluids by adding sugar-free drink flavor packets to water bottles or fresh lemons and limes to plain water. In addition, water keeps you feeling full so you don’t confuse your hunger with thirst. Aim to drink eight 8-oz glasses of water a day or keep a water bottle with you to help you reach your water goal!
Foods to Avoid before and at the Beach:
Salty, highly-processed foods: Sodium causes the body to retain water, which in essence causes bloating—this leads to you feeling as big as a balloon. Avoid foods like hot dogs, which are high in both fat and sodium. Also, avoid the fast food counter where options are usually extremely high in sodium. Avoiding any kind of salty snacks such as pretzels and potato chips, is essential to maintaining your bikini body,.
Gassy foods: Certain foods create more gas in your GI tract than others. This includes raw vegetables and legumes such as cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, onions and cabbage. However, many times if you cook these vegetables, they will deliver the same nutrients, but take up less room in your GI tract — leaving you feeling skinnier and ready to dress in your mini bikini.
Chewing gum: Many people don’t realize this, but chewing gum can cause bloating because it causes you to swallow air. All that air gets trapped in your GI tract and causes pressure, bloating and belly expansion.
Sugar-free candies: Sugar-free candies and gum often contain sorbitol. Sorbitol is a sugar substitute that acts as a laxative, which draws water into the large intestine. As little as four sticks of sorbitol-containing gum can cause bloating and abdominal pain.
Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of www.Skinnyandthecity.com. She is also the creator of The F-Factor Diet™, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log ontowww.FFactorDiet.com.