You might be asking yourself what do flat stomach foods have to do with clean eating. The answer is a lot! I know from my survey that many of you want to lose a few inches around your tummy.
Combat Your Belly Fat Long Term with the Right Clean Eating Habits
Developing sustainable clean eating habits is one of the most effective weapons to help you combat your belly fat. If getting a flat tummy is your goal, then your success rate will increase in this regard with each additional clean eating change you manage to incorporate into your life. More about this in a minute.
Is a workout for a flat belly an illusion?
Especially at the beginning of each year or right before summertime, people chase after the newest exercises for a flat stomach. They invest in expensive, useless training tools and practice hundreds of crunches.
Unfortunately, nothing really seems to help melt the fat around their tummies. The reason behind this is just the simple fact that it is impossible to lose fat in a specific area of your body.
If you really want to lose belly fat, then it is important to get rid of your body fat altogether. Only then do you have the chance to get rid of your excess stomach fat.
The cruel truth is: you cannot influence where your body is storing fat, nor you can influence in which areas it is burned from while on a weight loss diet. This is something you should absolutely know and consider before you try to lose fat around your abdomen.
How flat stomach foods can help you
The right nutrition is by far the largest success factor when you want to lose a few inches around your mid-section. The more you know about clean eating and the more you can put it into practice, the easier it is for you to tackle your tummy challenge.
If you don't take this part serious, you can train as much as you want, but you will never burn your excess belly fat. The good news is that flat belly foods don't mean that you should starve from now on or consume only salad. Such a starvation diet is not beneficial for fat burning. Rather, you should supply your body with sufficient nutrients of the highest quality to burn more calories. A moderate calorie deficit of 500 kcal is usually sufficient.
That's exactly what clean eating is all about, and you know it! Your body needs the right amount of calories to burn stomach fat and supply energy at the same time to remain productive and healthy.
How to get a flat stomach
This is how your nutrition should look if you want to get tight stomach abs. I've put together 8 rules for a flat midsection below:
1. Drink sufficient water
Water is life! Your body and also your muscles contain a lot of water weight. That's why it is extremely important to drink a sufficient amount of water consistently. I recommend at least two liters per day.
2. Drink green tea
Catechines (a disease-fighting flavonoid and antioxidant) in green tea boosts your metabolism and increases the fat burning process in your liver. To maximize green tea's benefits for a flat tummy, it is best to drink –four to six cups of green tea per day in combination with 180 minutes of exercising per week according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition. In addition, drinking it between your meals can help appease feelings of hunger.
3. Eat sufficient protein
Proteins are the most important building blocks for muscles. I recommend eating daily between 0.8 and 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That way your body is optimally supplied with this important food for a flat belly. Chicken, eggs or low-fat yogurt are a good source of animal protein but you should be aware that they come with small amounts of unwanted, saturated fats too.
The healthier approach is to consider legumes and quinoa as a fiber-rich protein source that helps you feel full throughout the day. Did you know that only plant foods contain the so important fiber? Click through to learn everything you need to know including how many grams of fiber you need per day: high-fiber foods.
4. Give up on sugar
When talking about fitness rules, I omit using any bans; rather, I encourage healthier eating habits. With sugar, it is different. Sugar is addictive and it makes you fat. Period! Eating sugar increases your blood sugar level resulting in a release of insulin. To explain it in simple words… the fat hormone insulin transports nutrients to your body’s cells and promotes the storage of fat.
According to a survey I conducted, processed foods like sweets and a possible sugar addiction are likely one of your BIGGEST struggles when it comes to eating clean and healthy. So if you fall into this group, want to lose weight and struggle with your belly fat, then you know what to do!
5. Fruits in moderation
Apart from all the health benefits, fruit also contains sugar. And to your body, it is rather indifferent where the sugar is coming from. To get your tummy fat under control, limit your fruit consumption to two portions per day. Your best choice is high-fiber fruits.
6. Eat sufficient vegetables daily
Vegetables are excellent flat belly foods. They are the perfect fruit alternative containing valuable vitamins and fibers and almost no carbohydrates. The big exception is potatoes; you should eat potatoes only in moderation. Click through for my top 30 high fiber vegetables.
7. Whole grains in moderation
Whole grain products (e.g., oats or whole grain bread) are a healthy alternative to white flour products.
They still contain a high amount of their original nutrients and fibers that are important for an active metabolism. Take into account that they also contain many carbohydrates. Yes, they are complex, long-chained and they will be processed more slowly in your body, but still, whole grain products can cause an increase in your insulin levels in your blood. So don't eat these in excess.
8. Small amounts of plant-based fats
Olive oil, nuts, and seeds are beneficial for you if eaten in moderation. Your body needs a small amount of fat to be productive and healthy. Monounsaturated fatty acids are involved in diverse body processes like the production of hormones for example. With no more than three tablespoons of plant-based fat per day, you will remain slim. If you don't eat fish then it is very important to consume at least flax seeds or linseed oil on a regular basis. Consuming foods rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids has been linked to preventing heart disease and other lifestyle diseases.
- Two tablespoons plant-based oils (e.g. olive oil, linseed oil)
- One tablespoon nuts or seeds
Did you know that all above-presented habits are an integral part of my 52 Chef Habits Course, where I dig much deeper into each habit change? Click here to learn more!
3 step habit change for a flatter stomach
Step 1: Print out the rules above. Don't risk forgetting – that's why I've created a “flat stomach foods” chart for you that you can print out as a PDF for free. Click here to download the flat belly foods PDF chart!
Step 2: Place these rules in a visible spot on your mirror, fridge or desk. If you stick to them, consequently they will help you lose a few inches around your tummy. Combined with a slight calorie deficit and daily weigh-ins, you will soon enjoy a leaner midsection.
Step 3: After sticking to those rules for several weeks, buy yourself as a reward a new accessory like a stylish belt, motivating you to stick to these rules.
The role of resistance training
Flat stomach workouts are helpful for strengthening your abdominal muscles. Apart from aesthetic reasons, stomach muscles have an important supporting function for your body too. Together with the back muscles, they make sure that we can stand up straight and bend over, etc.
Appropriate ab exercises can do both – they will provide these necessary supporting muscles, resulting in a firm belly.
Perfect strength training doesn't mean hundreds of crunches each day. Or even worse – buying a useless stomach trainer on your TV shopping channel. In fact, an effective stomach muscle training program for e.g. 30 minutes includes strength training for your entire body.
That means that, besides a few intense exercises for a flat belly, you should also include strength training for your other muscle groups. Your stomach muscles are trained indirectly through a multitude of other exercises.
Smart tip if you can't go to the gym
For this reason, in 2014 I started strength training in a fitness studio twice a week together with my husband. We are lucky as the gym is just a 10-minute walk from our home. That way we are able to combine going there with a relaxing evening walk.
But what can you do if you can't go to the fitness studio for whatever reason? Flat stomach workouts go beyond the scope of this change, but still, I want to give a tip: Trampoline jumping!
Why? Trampoline jumping has a built-in two-in-one advantage, it trains endurance and muscles at the same time.