Are you looking to banish those post-dinner bloating blues, trying to get rid of that muffin top or the dreaded 'food-baby'? Why not try some simple swaps to your evening meal to help you get the flat stomach that you have always dreamt of.
With these quick and easy dinner options and after dinner tips you can get started on your way to a bloat free tummy and a happier you. Bloating happens for a number of reasons - one of the main ones is excess gas in your stomach - here are a few options to consider when you make you evening meal.
1. Soup Glorious Soup
It might not be your first choice but having a broth-based soup as your evening meal can help you to feel full and reduce that bloated feeling. Broth- based soups help reduce bloating due to their high water content and are often low in salt too. The next time you are at the supermarket have a look at what is on offer in the soup isle or alternatively you can make your own.
How: Place 8 cups of water in a large pot along with 1 onion, 1 carrot, 2 stalks of celery chopped, 1 potato, 1/3 of a cup of mushrooms, 3 cloves of garlic (whole), 3 bay leaves, 1table spoon of soy sauce and a dash of salt and pepper. Simmer this for an hour and strain - why not add in some steamed veggies for a bit of crunch.
2. Drink Responsibly
Are you impartial to a fizzy drink after a meal? This could be the reason behind your bloating. The carbonated water in fizzy drinks can cause gas to get trapped in your stomach. It's not just those fizzy drinks though- an after meal tea or coffee can send you well on your way to a bloated belly due to the caffeine they contain.
How: Try having a glass of water at least 20 minutes after your meal, If you find it gets a bit boring on its own try flavouring it with lemon, lime or a cucumber slice.
If teas and coffees are your main down-fall opt for the flavoured teas like ginger or peppermint. You can find loads of options on the shelf at your local supermarket or you can have a go by making them yourself at home with fresh ingredients. Simply add your flavourings to your favourite mug and pour some hot water over it.
3. Add Some Yogurt
Yoghurt is a simple addition to make whether you choose to eat the flavoured ones or the plain Greek style yoghurts they can help banish that bloated feeling. Yogurt has high water content and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the stomach which helps reduce the amount of gas in your tummy.
How: Try having a yogurt pot after your meal or having it as a dessert to curb the post-dinner pot belly.
Spice it up with some blueberries or strawberries or even some dried fruit if you like.
5. Your Position Matters
It is easy to chow down on your dinner super-fast at the end of the day, but resist that quick munch. You will end up taking in more air which will make you bloat more. The more you chew the less chance there is of indigestion which also adds to the bloated feeling that you get when you eat too quickly.
How: Needless to say chewing slower helps, but it also helps if you are sitting down. The size of your meal and the time you eat will also affect how bloated you get. Avoid having large meals and late night meals and if you can go for a walk to help the digestive juices get flowing. As tempting as it might be to reach for the chewing gum - try and avoid that too as it produces extra acid -causing your tummy to bloat.
6. Control The Cruciferous
Vegetables are great but there are some that you should avoid - if you don't want to bloat. It's the sugars in Broccoli, Cauliflower and Cabbage that will cause you to bloat because they are difficult to digest - try eating these vegetables in moderation.
How: Reduce portion sizes of these down to half a cup - this will allow you to still enjoy the veggies without that dreaded bloated feeling at the end.
7. Cut Those Carbs
Carbohydrates are usually used as a back-up energy source so they hold onto to a carb called glycogen in your muscles. It stores 3 grams of water per a gram, and a lot of people don't need that extra store of energy.
How: Reduce the amount of high- carbs foods you eat, such as pasta or bagels; this will increase the drain of the excess that is stored in your body.
Now that you are equipped with a few tips, here are two simple recipes to get you started.
Simple Mediterranean Salad:
If you wanted something that was light and quick to throw together here is an easy salad option.
Mix in half a cup of chickpeas, with half a cup of cherry tomatoes, a whole cucumber (chopped), 10 large black olives with a toasted whole wheat pita. If you want to add more veggies into this dish bulk it out with some lettuce or spinach which will help get everything through your system.
English Muffin Pizzas
You can still eat your pizza and reduce your belly bloat at the same time. Here is what you will need for this little beauty.
1 whole wheat English Muffin, split.
a couple of tablespoons of Black tapenade
1 Tomato sliced
1 shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon of grated parmesan cheese
a couple of basil leaves ( if you don't have basil use rocket!)
Get your oven preheated to 200 degrees Celsius. Toast the muffins - once they are looking ready spread the tapenade onto the muffin and top each on with 1 tomato slice and 2 tablespoons of the shredded mozzarella and half a teaspoon of Parmesan.
Place these onto a baking sheet for 6-7 minutes or until the cheese has melted - serve with a basil leaf garnish.