Weight Loss: Beat The Bloat Before Hitting the Beach

Temporary abdominal bloat can be a total bummer when you want to slide into a form fitting dress, tight jeans, or a belly baring bathing suit. Fortunately, this discomfort and embarrassment can be avoided with just a few simple steps.

1. Increase your fiber intake.

Consuming too little fiber can result in constipation and bloating, but on average Americans consume only 15 grams of fiber daily. We should aim to eat a diet higher in fiber, which means about 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men per day. Fiber-rich foods include whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and legumes.

Dried fruits require no cutting, washing, or refrigeration, making them perfect for keeping your summer cool and effortless. Choose fruits with no added sugar whenever possible.

I keep a stash of raisins on hand for fruit anytime. Just 1/4 cup of tasty California Raisins counts as a serving of fruit for adults and helps meet the recommended daily servings of fruit.

Trail mix made of raisins, pistachios, and whole grain cinnamon toasty-Os cereal or cinnamon raisin bagel chips is another one of my favorite snacks. The raisins provide a natural source of fiber, potassium, and antioxidants.

Giveaway!

And lucky us. My friends at California Raisins are giving one of my lucky readers a gym bag filled with raisin packets, a plush character, water bottle, food journal, gift card, and cookbook*. To enter, simply comment on this post either here or on my Facebook page about your favorite way to enjoy California Raisins.

2. Even super foods can mean super gassy.

While broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and legumes are very nutritious, they contain an indigestible sugar that feeds gas-producing bacteria in the colon. Eliminating these foods one to two days before a special event when you want to have the flattest belly possible can be a wise choice.

Smart swaps: carrots, celery, spinach, and mushrooms

3. Be cautious with carbonated drinks.

The extra air in bubbly beverages can cause gas to get trapped in the abdominal region which may lead to a distended belly. High elevations in the mountains and on airplanes causes this air to expand, leading to even more bloat.

Smart swaps: plain water flavored with lemons and limes or crushed raspberries, flavored brewed tea with a touch of honey

4. Limit salt.

Researchers estimate that about 26% of Americans with normal blood pressure and about 58% of those with hypertension are salt sensitive. Those who are sensitive to sodium may experience swelling from the extra salt. To minimize these effects, limit highly processed foods, such as fast food fare, which tend to contain more sodium. When eating processed foods, read the label and opt for those with less sodium.

Smart swaps: fresh, whole, minimally processed foods

5. Include some healthy bacteria.

Probiotics, known as the “good bacteria,” are similar to the bacteria naturally found in the human gut and are believed to reduce belly bloat. You can find this friendly flora in yogurt, buttermilk, kefir drinks, and dietary supplements. Consuming probiotics during and after antibiotic use is especially important. Antibiotics can wipe out the good bacteria along with the bad, making it essential to rebuild healthy microflora to keep things moving in the digestive tract and keep bloating at bay.

As you can see, a flatter stomach can be achieved with just a couple of days planning and forethought watching what you eat (and what you don’t eat). When adding these new foods to your diet, do so gradually to help your body adjust to the changes more easily. Without the discomfort of bloating, you’ll be free to focus on important things, like packing for your next beach trip or friend’s wedding. Happy summer everybody!

*Exact contents of gift basket subject to change based on availability. All entries must be received by Friday, July 29, 2011.

Disclosure: California Raisins is a client of mine. They are providing the gift basket but did not compensate me to include them in this post.


You may also like:

Weight loss: Determining the Number that is Right for You

Summer Meal Ideas to Keep You Cool and Light On Your Feet

Recipe for Mango Salsa Chutney

 

Beach Photo Courtesy

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30 Comments

  1. Suzanne
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Pick me! Pick me! I do enjoy raisins plain or in trail mix!

  2. Christa
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Ooh! I will use these tips before my wedding this fall!

  3. Mariseli
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    I love raisins on their own or in trail mix…better yet in oatmeal with a little brown sugar :) yum!

  4. Fiona
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    I love mixing raisins, yogurt, and granola for breakfast or a snack – all the different textures are just so great together

  5. Andrea
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I love raisins plain or in oatmeal. They also work great as a reward for my toddler when she uses the potty! :-)

    • Posted July 23, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Andrea,
      That is such a great idea for a healthier reward option for your toddler! I’ll have to try that. I use stickers, too, for my toddler:)
      Michelle

      • Andrea
        Posted July 24, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        I buy the mini boxes of raisins for her…she loves that she gets to have her very own box!

  6. Linda Miller
    Posted July 28, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    In most of the year when I do not have fresh fruit I use raisins in my morning oatmeal along with a dollup of yogurt. I do not have to add any other sugar – oh a little cinnamon too. I also always carry a little baggie of them mixed with “naked” nuts when I fly just in case I am one of those unfortunates to be stranded on a tarmac somewhere.

    • Posted July 30, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Linda,
      Yogurt in oatmeal you say? I’m going to have to try that. I add yogurt to just about everything else!
      Michelle

  7. Louise
    Posted July 28, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    My kids and I love raisins! We add them to our curry chicken salad for a little pop of sweetness.

  8. Megan
    Posted July 28, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    My favorite ways to eat raisins are to sweeten up a bag of trail milk, a salad or oatmeal :)

  9. Connie Kane
    Posted July 28, 2011 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Michelle – we always keep boxes of raisins in the car for a quick snack between soccer and swimming but I have to say raisins are new hit in our house after we saw them dance. Just pour a glass of clear carbonated soda (7-up) then drop in some raisins. The raisins will fall to the bottom then as the bubbles form around them they will go to the top. They will dance up and down for about an hour. We turn on the tune, Heard it through the grapevine and watch them dance.

    • Posted July 30, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Connie,
      I learn something new everyday from my reader comments! I will have to try your floaty raisin tip with Scarlet! Hilarious!
      Michelle

  10. Rebecca
    Posted July 28, 2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Not so healthy and only an seldom treat, but I enjoy sprinkling raisins and chocolate syrup over a little bowl of double-churned vanilla ice cream :) . A healthier treat would be a trail mix :)

  11. Allison
    Posted July 28, 2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I love raisins in my oatmeal and in trail mix.

  12. Nina McHale
    Posted July 28, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I like raisins instead of sports chews when running. They taste good, they’re natural and I don’t taste them later on in the run.

    • Posted July 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Nina,
      Wow! I don’t think I’ve of that before! Great idea, and much more nutritious, I’m assuming, that sports chews. I will pass it on!
      Michelle

  13. Ann Marie
    Posted July 28, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I like to add raisins to my chicken salad. I usually use chicken, mayo, Dijon, almonds, a dash of (secret ingredient…weird but perfect) and dried fruit….love raisins!

    • Posted July 30, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Ann Marie,
      So, you’re not going to tell us your secret ingredient? Have you ever tried curry powder in your chicken salad with raisins? Fab. Your almond suggestion sounds divine.
      Michelle

  14. Lindsay
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Whenever my mom and I bake pumpkin muffins, we always make sure to include raisins! I love the way pumpkin and raisins taste together! Yum!

  15. Ann Marie
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Oops…totally thought I did write it. A dash of cinnamon! But lately have been using curry because I love that too!

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