Get Bikini Ready With A High Protein Diet

With spring just around the corner you might be starting to think about that summer body. Chances are, if you’re anything like me, warming, winter comfort foods got the better of you over the last few months and extra kilos around the abdomen have been accrued.

RELATED: Top Snack Hacks To Beat The 3pm Slump

While winter weight gain isn’t uncommon, it’s not particularly healthy – especially if you are storing it around your mid-section. And while you can exercise your butt off, the problem generally lies with your eating habits; this is where a diet high in protein can help.

“High protein foods are shown to prolong satiety, meaning that you feel more satisfied for longer and are less likely to over-eat,” dietician and nutritionist for IsoWhey, Belinda Reynolds, told SHESAID. “When on a weight loss program they are useful as they promote the maintenance of lean muscle mass and help to promote the loss of fat.

“High protein foods also tend to have a lower glycaemic index, meaning that any sugar from the meal is released into the blood at a more steady pace, reducing the risk of sugar cravings and energy slumps that see you reaching for the wrong type of food as a pick-me-up,” she added.

While you might associate a high-protein diet with eating beef mince for breakfast and chicken and broccoli for lunch, this is hardly the case. In fact, there are loads of creative and tasty ways that you can incorporate more protein into your day, without going OTT.

Belinda says: “Tins of tuna or salmon can be a good… while edamame beans, sacha inchi seeds and sunflower seeds can be ideal options also. You can also get creative and make chia seed puddings (e.g. chia seeds soaked in almond milk with a little vanilla extract and greek yoghurt, berries and other seeds added – this option is high in fibre also).

“Consider too, celery with nut butter or carrot/celery with hummus, and wholegrain crisp bread with avocado and smoked salmon.”

If you are trying to trim down in time for the summer months, keep in mind that high protein foods still contain calories and over indulging will compromise your goals, says Reynolds. You still need to take into account portion sizes – especially when eating foods such as nuts – and it’s important to “take into account your individual dietary needs.”

“Be sure to include a variety of different snacks and also aim for a majority of your diet to be made of plant-based foods,” she advises. “The reason for this is that a wide variety of different proteins provides a nice combination of different amino acids, essential fats, fibre, essential micro-nutrients and other beneficial compounds.

“Amino acids provided by protein are essential for a plethora of functions in the body including muscle maintenance, hair, skin and nail health, detoxification, mood health, the production of enzymes, energy, metabolism…the list goes on!”

So what’s the ideal amount of protein to include in your diet? “Aiming to consume 0.8-1g protein per kilogram of body-weight is ideal,” recommends Belinda, however she also points out that this increases with more physical activity.

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August 14, 2015

How To Beat A Bloated Belly

You’re exercising and eating properly, but for some reason you just can’t banish that bloat! Sometimes last night’s dessert is the culprit, but sometimes you’re clueless. However, you don’t need to be destined to suffer bloating for the rest of your life – there are some easy fixes. We show you exactly how to beat a bloated belly!

RELATED: 8 Ways To Naturally Detox For Summer

Abdominal bloating happens when your stomach feels full and tight from a build up of gas in the small intestine. It’s gross, we know – but this is what makes your stomach visibly swollen. For all the tips and tricks on how to get a flat tummy, read on!

Avoid Salt

Adding salt to your food may taste delicious, but you’re not doing yourself any favours. Salt is often hidden in foods too without you even knowing it – the food might not even taste salty. Some common culprits include pre-packaged sauces, soups, crackers and dressings. Reducing these salts in your diet can help reduce bloating. If you want some added flavour in your food, try switching salt for herbs and spices.

Eat your food slowly

When you eat your food quickly, you end up digesting a lot of air. This leads to poor digestion and makes your stomach bloat. You can ditch the fast-eating habit by putting your fork down between each mouthful or by chewing slowly and savouring each mouthful of your meal.

Have a 3pm snack

If you’re anything like us when 3pm rolls around, you’re hungry and reaching for anything with sugar to keep you going until dinner. Sure, this will spike your insulin and give you an energy burst in the short term, but after you’ve had that boost of energy, your insulin levels will drop dramatically shortly after and leave you feeling lethargic and hungrier.

On the other hand, many people don’t eat at 3pm because they’re too busy. This leaves a long gap between lunch and dinner, during which time your metabolism starts to slow and your blood sugar starts to drop. By the time you eat dinner, you’re starving and you eat larger portions in record times, which leads to bloating.

Eating a snack high in protein or wholegrain carbohydrates mid-afternoon will keep you going the healthy way. Nuts and wholegrain crackers are always a good choice.

Stress less

Anxiety produces cortisol and cortisol is the stress hormone that stores your bodies fat. Even if you’re following a healthy diet and exercising regularly, over-working yourself or stressing too much can undo all your hard work. Try meditation or deep breathing exercises to calm you down.

Go green

Filled with antioxidants, this delicious drink can help speed up your metabolism and prevent bloating. Two to three steaming cups of tea – or ice tea – can work wonders for that stubborn fat around your abdomen.

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August 13, 2015