This spring, forget sprucing up your closet or attic—who sees either of those anyway? Focus on yourself, instead, by wiping away a few diet blunders (those 10pm pizza runs were so fun until swimsuit season inched closer). Registered dietitian Dr. Felicia Stoler shared five tips to help flatten your belly and spring clean your diet.
Related Content: 5 Health Food Myths Debunked
Slack off on sugar
When the 3pm slump (or boredom) hits, forego the office candy jar. “Sugar might give you an instant kick, but you’re going to crash in the long run,” Stoler said. Instead, opt for high-fiber glycemic foods such as quinoa, lentils and apples. “[They’ll] help supply you with a steady stream of energy throughout the day.” Bonus: That full tummy and normalized blood sugar level will make walking by the aforementioned candy jar easier.
There’s a reason probiotics have a rep as being a “good” bacteria: they keep your gut healthy. “This is important because 80 percent of your entire immune system is located in your digestive gut.” Probiotics can also help flatten the tummy. Get your fix with fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi or Greek yogurt.
It sounds counterintuitive, but consuming fat can help you trim down. “You need fats to lower inflammation and for healthier bones as well as hair, skin and nails.” Healthy fats can also help raise HDL (good) cholesterol, making them heart-healthy. Spring for monounsaturated, medium chain triglycerides and essential fatty oils and steer clear of trans fat. Olive oil is an easy way to add fat into your diet. Stoler is also a huge fan of palm oil, which doesn’t have trans fat or GMOs.
Drink More Water
Drinking water during the colder months may not seem as necessary as it does on a scorching beach day, but “dehydration can…leave you sluggish and mask itself as hunger.” If you’re not on the eight-glasses-a-day bandwagon, Stoler suggested adding one more 8oz glass than you drink now to your daily regiment. You’ll know you’ve officially ditched dehydration when your urine is pale yellow.
A hardcore carnivore, Stoler “never tells people not to eat [chicken and steak].” But swapping a chicken for legumes like beans for one meal a day can add filling fiber to your diet and cut down on cholesterol. If beans once a day every day isn’t your speed, try joining the Meatless Monday movement and going veg once per week.