A leaner middle isn’t all about carving away layer upon layer of fat. Your bulge is often down to the stomach-stretching effects of inflammatory foods like omega-6 fats (the new nutritional demon found in vegetable oils like sunflower and canola oil and junk food) and wheat-based carbs. So cutting them out is your first major step. But, let’s be honest, pasta tastes great and fat is delicious. My methods are about reducing these foods without sacrificing flavour and ruining the meals you enjoy – because let’s be honest, no-one can stick to a diet they hate. You need practical solutions instead of restrictions, and equally delicious alternatives instead of wheatgrass and water. These three recipes on the left are my favourite meals, and will allow you to swerve the gluten-, wheat- and sugar-heavy rubbish out there. They’re tasty, filling meals that aren’t too expensive and are easy to make. Take a photo of your stomach now, and then in two weeks. It’ll shrink, fast.

Swap Spaghetti (62g) for Courgette (6g)

Courgette has a pasta-like texture when cooked properly but only rates two out of the 250 glycaemic scale, so you avoid the blood-sugar crash. It’s high in protein, thiamin and niacin: essential nutrients and energy, if you’re worried about missing on your carb hit. With a peeler, cut strips, then boil for a minute with a little salt.

Swap Noodles (58g) for Buckwheat (38g)

Noodles cause a swollen 
stomach due to high 
gluten and wheat content. While not bereft of carbs, buckwheat is better alternative. Loaded with fibre, fast-digesting protein and nutrients such as blood pressure-lowering rutin and muscle-repairing magnesium, it’s the perfect carb for training days.

Swap Sugar (50g) for Banana (11g)

Protein pancakes are perfect, but putting in whey doesn’t negate the wheat and sugar. Instead, try two eggs and one banana. That’s all it takes to fry up as much protein as your workout shake. Mash them up and fry in coconut oil. Add blueberries and maple syrup for breakfast or a post-gym snack.

By Nikki Sharp
Follow her @staysharpbestrong