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4 Healthy summer recipes for a flat belly

Claire is an aspiring nutritionist (and soon to be culinary student) with a serious addiction to bacon, wine, goat cheese and online shopping. She is recently married to a social media guru who loves *almost* everything she conjures up. ...

Skinny recipes for bikini season

Nothing will ruin a proposed pool day or weekend at the beach quite like a muffin top in your teeny bikini. To avoid this oh-so-common meltdown, enjoy one of these recipes the week of your beach trip. Your slimmed-down tummy and sexy new body will be the envy of just about everyone around.

 4 healthy summer recipes for a flat belly

Now, we all know you can't get a washboard stomach without a little elbow grease, but diet is just as important. These recipes are filled with superfoods that are loaded with powerful antioxidants and healthy fats and fibers, all of which help to remove stubborn belly fat. Who knew you could actually eat that belly fat away?

1. Bison meatballs with zucchini and squash ribbons recipe

Bison meatballs with zucchini and squash ribbons

Swap your regular beef meatballs with bison for a few reasons. Not only do bison meatballs taste better, but bison provides more protein and nutrients with about half the fat and calories of beef and over 35 percent more protein, leaving you feeling fuller for longer. Subbing zucchini ribbons in place of regular noodles will cut down your carbs and prevent bloating.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 large zucchini, ends removed
  • 2 summer squashes, ends removed
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 packages PlainSmart bison meatballs
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil

Directions:

  1. To make the ribbons, set your mandoline to the 1/16 setting, and carefully slice the zucchini and squashes into thin ribbons.
  2. In a large wok or pan, heat the olive oil to medium-high heat. Add the ribbons, and toss with salt and pepper. Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the ribbons are slightly softened.
  3. Cut open the top of the meatball bags (to aerate), and heat the meatballs in the microwave for about 2 minutes (per bag). Remove the meatballs from the bag, and pour them over the zucchini and squash ribbons. Mix in the marinara sauce, and toss to coat.
  4. Serve in 4 bowls. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

2. Green tea and mixed berry smoothie recipe

Green tea & mixed berry smoothie

Green tea is a powerful antioxidant and has been used for weight loss and healthy energy for decades. What makes green tea such a great addition to this smoothie is the fact that it naturally stimulates the metabolism. Mixed with flax meal (which is loaded with fiber), berries and honey, this smoothie will kick-start your weight-loss efforts and keep you full.

Yields 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 tea bags green tea
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1-1/2 cups mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Directions:

  1. Pour the boiling water into 2 mugs. Place a tea bag into each mug, and steep for about 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags, and place the tea in the fridge to chill completely.
  2. Pour the chilled tea into a large blender. Add the mixed berries, strawberries, banana, yogurt, almond milk, peanut butter, flax meal, chia seeds and honey. Blend on high until smooth and thick.
  3. Pour the smoothie into 2 chilled Mason jars, and garnish with sliced strawberries.

3. Peanut butter, flax meal and chia seed cookie recipe

Peanut butter flax & chia seed cookies

Peanut butter is good for you for a million and one reasons, but there's one reason it's good for your skinny tummy too. Peanut butter is chock-full of monounsaturated fats, which have been proven to help reduce belly fat. But that's not all! Peanut butter is also high in vitamin E and has over 208 milligrams of muscle-building potassium. Add chia seeds, and you've got one super-healthy cookie!

Yields 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons ground flax meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the applesauce, sugar, egg, vanilla extract and crunchy peanut butter until thick and fluffy. Mix in the flours, flax meal, baking powder and chia seeds. Stir to combine. Using a spatula, mix in the chocolate chips.
  2. Cover the mixture with foil or saran wrap, and chill it for about 4 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out 8 to 10 cookies onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle with additional chia seeds.
  5. Bake for about 12 to 14 minutes or until browned and fully cooked.

4. Tortellini arugula pesto salad recipe

Tortellini arugula pesto salad

Pasta isn't off the menu, especially when it's paired with healthy vegetables like zucchini, tomatoes and garlic, all of which are high in cancer-fighting vitamin A as well as fiber, which helps to slow the rise of blood sugar after you eat. Plus, the pesto is made with olive oil, which is high in those healthy fats we talked about earlier.

Recipe slightly adapted from Prevention

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the salad

  • 1 package frozen tortellini
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups zucchini, sliced
  • 2 cups small tomatoes, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

For the pesto

  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Dash salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. To make the pesto, place the arugula, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper into a food processor. Pulse on low until the mixture is smooth. Reserve about 3 tablespoons for this recipe, and save the rest for later.
  2. To make the salad, first bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add a dash of salt, and then add the tortellini and cook until softened, about 7 to 9 minutes.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the zucchini and carrots, and cook until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the carrots, zucchini and tomatoes with the pasta. Add the pesto, and toss to combine.
  5. Sprinkle the walnuts over the tortellini, and serve.

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