12 Foods for a Flat Belly
"Your body has to work harder to digest protein, so you'll burn more calories just by eating it," says Leslie Bonci, RD, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a FITNESS advisory board member. Aim for 60 to 70 grams of lean protein a day -- a 3-ounce chicken breast has 27 grams, a 5-ounce piece of tilapia provides 37 grams, and an egg delivers 7 grams.Olive Oil, Walnuts, and Avocado
"These foods contain monounsaturated fats, which help your body metabolize fat, especially from your midsection," says Bonci. You should consume at least 10 grams -- about 1 tablespoon of olive oil or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter -- per day.Apples, Baked Sweet Potatoes, and Hearty Whole Wheat Bread
The fiber in these foods (4 grams, 4 grams, and 5 grams, respectively) takes hours to digest, keeping you satisfied longer. Go for 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day.Chickpeas & Almonds
They're packed with fiber and protein -- which means they both fill you up and help your body metabolize fat, says Bonci.Yogurt
"Not only is it rich in calcium, it's also easy to digest and leaves your stomach quickly, so you won't bloat," says Bonci. Look for a low-fat variety that's also low in sugar. (Particularly yummy is FAGE Total 0% Greek Yogurt with a drizzle of honey or a handful of berries.)
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, July 2008.
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