Get a Flat Stomach and Stay Hydrated with These Summer Foods
By Dana Leigh Smith
Summer is in full swing, which means everyone is trying to beat the heat—and, ironically, the majority of us want to look hot doing it.
Though a cold beer or bowl of ice cream might seem like just what you need to survive a scorching day, regularly indulging in high-cal coolers won’t help you lose weight or look your best in your bathing suit. Fortunately, there are plenty of weight loss foods that can help you stay cool, thanks to their high water content. Losing just one percent of your water weight (which is common on a hot day) can cause your internal temperature to spike—and simply filling up on fluid-packed foods can stop that from happening. To help you stay cool and trim this summer, we found the best flat-belly eats, all of which are at least 65 percent water by weight.
Better yet, nearly all of them can be enjoyed frozen or cold, which increases their cooling powers ten-fold. Scroll down to learn what they are and the best ways to prepare them on days when the heat is just too much to handle.
Water Content: 96%
Conventional wisdom suggests that this salad staple is nutritionally bankrupt, but half a head of iceberg lettuce has significantly more alpha-carotene — a powerful disease-fighting antioxidant — than both romaine and spinach. What’s more, iceberg carries more satiating water than romaine, spinach or kale, making it a belly-filling force to be reckoned with.
Eat This! Tip: Pile iceberg onto sandwiches or use a few large leaves at your next cookout it lieu of a hamburger bun. And on those dog days of summer when the heat is almost too horrible to bear, put iceberg wedges into the freezer and enjoy the frozen, crunchy veggie with a drizzle of healthy salad dressing.
Water Content: 90%
This tart fruit is a superior choice for summer: In addition to being comprised mostly of cooling satiating water, University of Arizona research suggests that just half a grapefruit eaten before a meal can help reduce belly fat. Participants of the six-week study who ate grapefruit with every meal saw their waists shrink by up to an inch! Researchers attribute the effects to a combination of phytochemicals and vitamin C in the grapefruit.
Eat This! Tip: Throw wedges of the juicy fruit into the freezer for up to four hours and enjoy noshing on them as a light aperitif.
Water Content: 90% water
Sure this juicy red fruit is filled to the gills with belly-filling water, but it has a number of other attributes that makes it one of the best fruits for fat loss. One cup of the berries has just 47 calories and boasts 3 grams of fiber — a nutrient that can keep you fuller for longer — helping you consume fewer calories throughout the day. The juicy fruit is also packed with polyphenols, a class of micronutrients that burns fat and prevents it from forming.
Eat This! Tip: The fruit’s natural sweetness makes it a delicious base for a refreshing summer smoothie. Simply throw a few berries into a blender along with a frozen banana, milk, a drizzle of honey and ice, and blend until smooth. Though this recipe may sound simple, it’s sure to cool you off and kick even the most stubborn ice cream craving to the curb.
Water Content: 90%
A cup of honeydew carries just 64 calories and is primarily made up of H20, making it a great food to keep in your flat belly arsenal year-round. The high water content keeps you full, which can help you lose weight over time, but it also brings more immediate slimming results to the table thanks to its natural bloat-busting, diuretic effect.
Eat This! Tip: To amp up its cool factor during the summer months, slice up pieces of fresh fruit and freeze it for up to four hours before you dig in! Although you can simply pop the pieces into your mouth, you can also use the fruit to make a healthy homemade popsicle. To whip up the no-guilt treat, combine a pinch or two of sugar with a splash of lime and fresh honeydew in a blender and puree the mixture until smooth. Then, pour the liquid into a popsicle mold and allow to freeze completely before enjoying.
Water Content: 85%
Though fro-yo is one of the most popular no-guilt hot weather expenditures, it’s not the only form of yogurt that can help you survive the rising temps. As surprising as it may seem, traditional Greek yogurt, like the kind you find in grocery stores, is packed with satiating protein and 85 percent water, making it a cooling summer staple for dieters. (So long as you pick up a low-sugar container, at least.)
Eat This! Tip: For those days when it’s particularly scorching, mix your go-to plain yogurt and favorite fresh or frozen berries together in a bowl. Then, spoon the mixture onto a parchment paper-covered tray and slide it into the freezer for a few hours until delicious frozen yogurt-covered bites have formed.
Water Content: 83.5%
When most people think of hydrating foods, oatmeal isn’t usually something that comes to mind. But when it’s made with water instead of milk or one of these milk alternatives, the filling, breakfast staple packs quite a hydrating punch. In fact, it has been shown to be far more satiating than cold cereals — even four hours after mealtime — likely because of its high fiber content.
Eat This! Tip: We’re fans of overnight oats—especially in the summer time—because the dish can be enjoyed cold. Not sure how to whip it up? No problem—just check out some of our favorite overnight oats recipes for weight loss.
Water Content: 81%
Grapes are over 80 percent water, which makes them quite filling, and the red variety contains an antioxidant called anthocyanin that reduces the body’s ability to absorb starches and fats, calms the action of fat-storage genes and helps the body oxidize flab.
Eat This! Tip: When the going gets hot nosh on a handful of frozen grapes. The chilly treat has the same consistency as sorbet and is sweet enough to satisfy the strongest of sugar cravings, making it an excellent low-cal dessert alternative for dieters.
Water Content: 73%
Besides their delicious taste and satisfying creamy texture, avocados have another quality to boast about: they’re rich in monounsaturated fat, a nutrient that helps banish bloat, quell hunger pangs and fry stubborn belly fat.
Eat This! Tip: There’s no shortage of delicious avocado recipes to whip up, but if you’re looking for a quick snack to stop the sweat, slice up a few pieces of the fruit and throw them in the freezer. Before noshing, sprinkle the slices with chili powder and salt.
Water Content: 65%
One of the most surprising sources of hydration you’ll find is ground meat, a summer cookout staple you’re probably already eating. To get more hydration from your grill, opt for ground eye-of-the-round; it’s packed with 65 percent agua, while other cuts cap out around the 60 percent mark. And though all lean proteins can boost satiety and help people eat less at subsequent meals, grass-fed beef is a fat-burning all-star because it’s packed with a type of healthy fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA has been shown to promote fat loss, decrease body fat and reduce cholesterol levels, making it a must-eat for anyone looking to sculpt a lean summer bod.
Eat This! Tip: Simply swap grass-fed eye-of-the-round for your go-to variety, or better yet, whip up our go-to healthy burger recipe for weight loss.