9 Foods to Eat to Slim Down for Summer

SuperStock/ Corbisby Tricia Williams, Bon Appétit

Wake up call: You just took your summer wardrobe out of storage, and daaaamn those shorts are short! Time to whip that beach bod into shape. But getting flat abs or losing the butt jiggle (sorry we said that) requires more than just a gym membership--you have to eat to your advantage, too. Everyone focuses so much on what you shouldn't be eating, and not enough on what you should consume to help slim down for the warm weather (yes, you're allowed to eat during this process). We consulted nutritionist Tricia Williams for a list of the best foods to help you shed pounds, get rid of bloating, and limit the awkwardness when you're hanging out 90 percent naked this summer.

1) Pineapple & Papaya These powerhouse fruits are high in digestive enzymes, which help break down food quickly. In fact, most digestive enzymes you can buy in a store are derived from one of these two fruits, so why not eat the whole food? For the best results, eat 2/3 cup papaya and 1/3 cup pineapple every day on an empty stomach.

Make: Roasted Pineapple with Honey and Pistachios

2) Quinoa or Oatmeal...But Only for Breakfast Slow-burning grains are a great way to fuel up for the day, but if you eat them for lunch or dinner, your body may not use the energy and store it as fat. If you eat a bowl of oatmeal or quinoa porridge in the morning (about 3/4 cup in total, cooked), you're sure to use up all that energy--and they'll keep you full until lunch.

Make: Key Lime Bars or Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa

3) Spicy Food Studies show that fiery foods can temporarily speed up your metabolism. A great way to get a boost is with red thai chilies and jalapenos, but anything with the compound Capsaicin--jalapeno, cayenne, etc--will get your system going. Plus, you don't tend to eat as much when your meal bites back. Don't incorporate it into every meal, but try it out a few times a week.

Make: Red Harissa

4) Greens Greens like kale and spinach are full of essential vitamins and dietary fiber, so they help regulate digestion and move food through the body quickly. And the good news is there is no such thing as too much greens! Try to incorporate more greens throughout your day, like having a green juice for breakfast, a raw kale salad for lunch, and lightly sauteed spinach with garlic alongside dinner.

Make: Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

5) Salmon & Sardines These fishes are high in good fats--Omega 3 and Omega 6--that aid in flushing out excess water in the body (read: no more bloating). They also help stabilize blood sugar, which can determine how hungry or energetic a person feels. Try to eat these healthy fish a few times a week and stick to lean protein choices like chicken the rest of the time.

Make: Grilled Side of Wild Salmon

6) Sea Vegetables This under-appreciated food regulates thyroid function, which is directly linked to weight loss. Try eating a seaweed salad or using nori wrappers instead of bread for a sandwich. For best results, try to have 4 sheets of nori or 1/2 cup of other varieties like hijiki or wakame every day.

Make: Seasoned Nori Wrappers

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