“You could do crunches ’til the cows come home, but still have a belly,” Peeke says, “unless you rein in your calories.” Skipping the fries in favor of a low-calorie fruit or veggie side dish is an easy way to start. Substantial benefits can come from cutting way back on refined carbohydrates: white bread, white pasta, white rice, and, of course, sugar. These foods “wreak havoc on your appetite.”
Fill Up on Protein
Foods that are high in protein or fiber can actually help slow the digestive process. The result is that your stomach feels full longer and sends a message to your brain that you don’t need to eat more. You get more satisfaction with fewer calories.
Be Picky About Salad
Salads can fill you up and help you resist more fattening meals. But remember that not all salads are low in calories. Dressings, oils, croutons, bacon bits, and cheese add a lot of additional calories and fat. For a low-fat, nutritious salad, stick with vibrant vegetables, such as spinach and peppers.
Reduce Bloating: Boost Fiber
Besides curbing your appetite, fiber can prevent that archenemy of the bikini-clad: constipation and bloating. By keeping you regular, a high-fiber diet may help your tummy look flatter. Just be careful about adding too much too quickly. Some high-fiber foods, such as beans, can make bloating worse at first. Other sources of fiber include veggies, fruits, and whole grains.
Reduce Bloating: Skip the Salt
“Salt makes you bloat like a blowfish,” Peeke warns. And the puffiness can last for days — not a good thing when you’re planning to debut your new bikini. Cut back on salt by eating fresh foods instead of canned. Ask for the sauce on the side when you eat out. Another way to reduce bloating is to eat smaller meals throughout the day.
Reduce Bloating: Steer Clear of Beer
Alcohol can undermine your goal of a bikini-ready body in several ways:
A 12-ounce beer packs about 150 calories.
Beer and sparkling wines cause bloating.
Alcohol slows your ability to burn fat.
Studies show that people under the influence also chow down more food than their teetotaler friends.