Do all the crunches you want, ladies, but when it comes to getting that six-pack, your diet plays a huge role, too! Experts suggest that sculpting those bikini-ready abs is all about keeping your stomach full and satisfied. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite foods that are sure to keep your waistline slim and trim.
1. Fish: Seafood is not just for Lent! Most fish are packed with healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids and proteins, which make it the perfect addition to your weekday menu. Here are the best fish to work into your meal rotation.
2. Eggs: It doesn’t matter whether you like ‘em scrambled, over easy, or hardboiled; eggs are overflowing with important nutrients! They are known to combat obesity and help build muscle and burn fat.
3. Soy: Soybeans make for the perfect afternoon snack before you hit the gym. They're full of antioxidants, fiber and protein, and are an incredibly tasty alternative to those not-so-healthy chips stashed in your pantry.
4. Oatmeal: For those of you who have come to dread the traditional scrambled egg breakfast, why not give one of these tasty overnight oatmeal recipes a shot? Oatmeal boosts energy, reduces cholesterol and helps fight diabetes!
5. Almonds: These babies are a great way to resist those unhealthy cravings. They’re full of healthy fats and protein that will keep you feeling fuller longer!
6. Apples: Apples are absolutely packed with fiber, which makes it the perfect way to fight off hunger! Plus, they contain nutrients that are believed to combat cancer and cholesterol. Check out our 10 favorite apples here.
7. Spinach: In addition to helping you whittle away at that waistline, spinach and other dark, leafy greens are known to neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are infamous for speeding up the aging process, so be sure to add these veggies to your next meal!
8. Beans: Adding beans to your daily menu helps you stock up on protein and healthy carbs. This vegetarian option also works wonders for your digestive system, and is known to promote heart health.
9. Yogurt: Not only does yogurt aid digestion, but it also helps build stronger bones and kickstarts those weight loss goals! Click here to learn about 50 ways to lose weight with Greek yogurt.
10. Edamame: Edamame makes for a great snack for all you moms who are constantly on the go. It is full of fiber and protein, and can easily be dried for an added crunch that will be impossible to resist.
11. Pumpkin seeds: These underrated treats often get pitched with the rest of your pumpkin scraps on Halloween, but they are actually overflowing with important nutrients like magnesium, zinc and omega-3s! Check out our favorite recipes for your leftover pumpkin seeds here.
12. Turkey: Turkey and other lean meats are packed with protein, which makes for the perfect lunch addition! Just slap it on a sandwich, or wrap it around some cheese and veggies for the perfect treat to stave off hunger. For our Skinny Turkey Meatballs recipe, click here!
13. Olive oil: Olive oil is one of those miracle elixirs that works wonders for the body. It can lower cholesterol, give your immune system a boost, and work to protect you against obesity, cancer and heart disease. Whew!
14. Quinoa: Nothing quite packs a punch like this healthy, nutrient-dense grain. Quinoa is renowned for its healthy carbs and high protein and fiber content. Check out these 10 ways to use quinoa in your next meal.
15. Peanut butter: Slather this delectable spread on some bread or celery, and you’ll be good to go! In moderation, peanut butter can help build muscle, burn fat, and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.
16. Protein powder: Protein powders can go a long way in helping you chisel those abs! Protein powder targets fat and promotes muscle growth. Check out these 5 tips for using protein powder in your diet.
17. Avocado: Not only are avocados great for weight loss, but they are also the perfect way to keep your hair, skin and nails healthy and glowing! Toss a couple slices into your next salad or sandwich for a delicious boost of nutrients.
18. Whole grains: Whole grains like whole-wheat bread, brown rice, or whole-wheat pasta are a great way to fill up without filling out. They keep the body from storing fat, and are also known to fight obesity, cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure.
19. Berries: Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, oh my! These mouthwatering fruits are overflowing with fiber, antioxidants and most importantly, flavor! Check out our Berry Smoothie Bowl with Toasted Coconut recipe.
20. Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are packed with healthy carbs and fiber that will help you power through even the toughest workout! Not sure how to add these to your diet? Click here to learn about 34 new ways to cook with sweet potatoes.
Keeping your figure nice and tight isn’t necessarily about cutting calories and keeping yourself from indulging in your favorite treats. These foods offer you the best of both worlds, so feel free to splurge a bit! For more information, check out our sources: Fitness Magazine, EatThis.com, and Women’s Health Magazine.