Flat Belly Cookbook For Dummies® White Bean and Tomato Pesto Pizza

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Listen to the interview.

Some foods and drinks can bloat your belly almost instantly by increasing gas in your digestive tract, causing your abdomen to look distended. This condition can be uncomfortable, but the good news is it’s only temporary.

“When you have an event coming up where you want your midsection to look as slim as possible, it’s usually best to avoid these foods for a few days beforehand,” says Gidus. “Keep reminding yourself how great you’re going to look in that little black dress—for most people, vanity combined with a short-term deadline is more powerful than textbooks full of information on how to achieve long-term health!”

Other foods may contain ingredients such as saturated fats and refined carbohydrates that can pack on the pounds and cause your body to accumulate belly fat, gradually expanding your waistline over time. While you probably won’t gain a large amount of weight over one holiday season (the average amount is, surprisingly, only one pound), for most Americans, that pound sticks around—and that’s where the problems start.

“When you indulge in sausage balls, fried latkes, sweet-potato-and-marshmallow casserole, fudge, eggnog, or whatever your treat of choice might be, you’re taking in calories, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, and more that contribute negatively to your long-term health,” comments LaRue. “The cumulative effect can be serious, so it’s smart to limit these types of food—or avoid them altogether if you’re the super-high-willpower type.”

In Flat Belly Cookbook For Dummies®, Palinski-Wade, Gidus, and LaRue (all of whom are recognized nutrition experts) share everything you need to know to shed fat and tone your midsection. However, if you have time for only a crash course before facing off with an array of tempting holiday choices, read on to learn about seven of the biggest belly bloaters and where they’re found:

Belly Bloater # 1: Sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are sugar substitutes that are only partially digested in your body. Because of this, they provide fewer calories per gram than regular sugar. They can also cause uncomfortable gastrointestinal side effects such as bloat, gas, and diarrhea, all of which can cause your belly to look and feel distended—and which can put a major cramp in your holiday style.

“You’ll find sugar alcohol mostly in sugar-free snacks, gums, and candies,” says Palinski-Wade. “If you see ingredients such as xylitol, sorbitol, and maltitol, you’ve found sugar alcohol—and you should probably move on to another choice.”

Belly Bloater # 2: High-sodium foods. Salt may not stand out as a belly bloater because it’s calorie free. But excess sodium causes your body to hold onto water weight, which leaves you feeling bloated and makes it hard to have a flat, toned midsection.

“Excessive sodium intake can do more damage than just making you look bloated, though,” notes LaRue. “In addition to the negative impact sodium has on your waistline, it can also increase blood pressure and stiffen arteries. For that reason, you should aim to keep your daily sodium intake under 2,000 mg (or under 1,500 mg per day if you have high blood pressure). So when you’re preparing your plate at the holiday office party, it may be okay to allow yourself a few bites of high-sodium hors d’oeuvres, but pile your plate up with offerings from the fruit and veggie tray so you can fill up on this healthier fare.”

Belly Bloater # 3: Refined carbohydrates. Refined carbs are everywhere you look—they’re found in white rice, white pasta, sugary cereals, enriched-flour crackers, and much more. These grains have been processed and stripped of the outermost and innermost layers of grain, leaving all the carbohydrates and calories, but little of the protein, fiber, and nutrients. While this type of processing allows grains to be digested rapidly, they provide little in the way of fullness after eating. In addition, their rapid digestion leads to spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, causing additional fat storage right where you want it least—your belly!

“Enjoy grains, but choose whole grains instead,” recommends Palinski-Wade. “Reach for brown rice over white rice, whole wheat pasta over white, and popcorn over snack chips. With a few simple changes to your grain selection, you can reduce cravings and hunger while avoiding the belly fat-storing insulin spikes that accompany refined grains.”

Belly Bloater # 4: Processed meats. Meats such as bacon, sausage, and hot dogs are high in sodium and saturated fats. Because sodium causes your body to retain excess water, this alone can bloat your belly. But combine that with a high intake of inflammation-promoting saturated fat, and you have a recipe for excess belly fat.

“Limit processed meats to special occasions and occasional treats to prevent a negative impact on your health and your belly,” Gidus suggests. “And yes, I know that’s more difficult than usual over the holidays—but not impossible. Look for lower-fat options made with turkey or chicken breast over beef and pork varieties. But keep in mind that these lower-fat options typically contain just as much sodium as the original options, so don’t overdo it!”

Belly Bloater # 5: Carbonated beverages. Carbonation is mostly just water, and it’s typically calorie free, so it seems innocent enough—especially when you’re not even consuming it in a soda!—but it can really bloat your belly.

“Because the carbonation comes from gas blended with water, when you drink a carbonated beverage, the gas can ‘puff out’ your stomach, making it appear distended and bigger than it really is,” explains Gidus. “This puffiness will last for only a few hours, but even so, avoid carbonated drinks on days when you want to look your slimmest.”

Belly Bloater # 6: Soda. Although this popular beverage is a staple in most restaurants and homes (and at most holiday parties), it’s a big belly bloater. For one thing, soda contains gas-producing carbonation. Even more potent is its main ingredient, sugar, making it a rich source of empty calories that don’t provide any fullness. And finally, soda sparks a spike in blood sugar, which is followed by an insulin spike, leading to excessive belly fat storage.

“Diet soda isn’t the solution,” warns LaRue. “In addition to including temporarily bloating carbonation, diet sodas are loaded with artificial sweeteners, which are a foreign chemical to your body. If you take in too much of an artificial ingredient, it may increase inflammation, which stores fat. In addition, some studies have linked diet soda with an increase in hunger and cravings, which can make staying on track with your meal plan a challenge.”

Belly Bloater # 7: Alcohol. Since alcohol is a source of empty calories and can actually increase your appetite, it can be a major source of weight gain and increased belly fat when consumed in excess. “You don’t need to eliminate alcohol over the holidays; just keep an eye on the quantity you consume,” says Palinski-Wade.

In addition to limiting the amount of alcohol you drink, she suggests that you follow these simple guidelines:

• Your best choice for alcohol is red or white wine, a wine spritzer, or light beer. Some alcohol can have health benefits. Red wine, for instance, is a great source of resveratrol, which has anti-inflammatory properties and may be beneficial to heart health.

• If you have a mixed drink, avoid high-calorie mixers such as soda. Instead, try mixing your drink with club soda or seltzer with a splash of juice for flavor.

• Drink alcohol at the end of the meal instead of before eating. Alcohol can stimulate appetite and lower inhibitions, resulting in your making less healthy food choices or eating larger portions.

Directions

White Bean and Tomato Pesto Pizza

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

 2. Spray a baking sheet or pizza pan with cooking spray.

 3. Roll the dough into a thin circle. Transfer the rolled dough onto the baking sheet.

 4. In a food processor or blender, puree the beans and pesto. Spread the bean and pesto mixture on top of the dough.

 5. Top the pizza with broccoli, mushrooms, and goat cheese.

 6. Bake for 18 minutes or until crispy and the cheese is melted.

Per serving: Calories 293 (From Fat 96); Fat 11g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 8mg; Sodium 480mg; Carbohydrate 41g (Dietary Fiber 8g); Protein 13g.

Note: Pizza often gets a bad rap, but adding lots of vegetables and beans along with a whole-wheat crust can provide a nutritious and balanced meal.

Vary It! Get creative! Switch up the cheese, beans, or vegetables to find your unique flavor combination.


Yield: 6 servings

What's Needed:

 

16 ounces whole-grain pizza dough

1/2 cup cannellini beans

3 tablespoons sundried tomato pesto

1/2 cup chopped fresh broccoli florets

1/2 cup thinly sliced mushrooms

2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

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MICHELE SCICOLONE and THE ITALIAN VEGETABLE COOKBOOK
Cincinnati-style Walking Taco
Grilled Carne Asada Tacos with Onion Relish and Cotija

Sizzling, Crisp & Delectable! SOUTHERN FRIED by James Villas
Asian Chicken Flatbread
Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Flat Belly Cookbook For Dummies® White Bean and Tomato Pesto Pizza
Mini Kale & Parmesan Quiche from HOW TO FEED A FAMILY
Coffee-rubbed Pulled Pork Sliders with Cherry BBQ Sauce

Red Gold Easy Classic Lasagna
Hoppin John Salad
Cuban Sandwich

Zucchini Flowers Stuffed with Ricotta and Tuna from Jeff Michaud, EATING ITALY
Here's Looking at You Mini Meatball Sandwiches
Open up a Can of Worms

Lasagna with White Sauce
HELLO TASTE, GOODBYE GUILT! from Mr Food - Howard Rosenthal
Bourbon Braised Brisket Tacos with Grilled Corn and Peach Salsa

Asian BBQ Ribs
Taste of NFL 2013 Recipe: Cincy Cheesesteak Sandwiches
Merguez Burgers with Cucumber Dressing from Caroline Wright's Twenty Dollar Twenty Minute Meals

Brisket Tacos
Mediterranean Bean and Kale Sauté
Healthy tips plus Beef & Veggie Fettucini from Chef Michael Williams and Gourmet Nutrition: The Cookbook for the Fit Food Lover

George Miliotes, Master Sommelier, and Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon and Citrus Quinoa & Tabbouleh Salad from Seasons 52
Baked Dijon Tilapia with Crumb Crust
Crispy Oven Fried Fish Fingers

Extra Crunchy Fish and Chips
White Chicken Chili from Chef Kim Baretta and Garnish
Texas Chili

Zell Schulman's Brisket of Beef
Brined and Deep Fried: A Really Great Tasting Turkey
Braised Beef Short Ribs with Herbed Parmesan Polenta

Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese from In The Kitchen With David
Pot Roast with Gingersnap Gravy from the FIX-IT and FORGET-IT PINK Cookbook
Spicy Fennel and Shrimp Flatbread with Garlic Caesar

Slow cooked turkey with ricotta and spinach
Wok-Stirred Vegetables and Rice Noodle Salad from Simply Ming in Your Kitchen
Pecan Chicken with Roasted Grapes

Jesse Price's Southwestern Three-Bean & Barley Soup
Thai Chicken with Noodles from Erin Chase's Cookbook - THE $5 DINNER MOM ONE-DISH DINNERS
Bruce Aidells' SPANISH-STYLE ROASTED RACK OF PORK WITH PAN-ROASTED ROMESCO SAUCE

Bruce Aidells' BRAISED BEEF STEAK WITH TEQUILA, TOMATO, AND ORANGE
Chicken Spring Rolls
Hearty Southwest Chili

Bourbon Street Muffuletta Braid
Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches
Pasta Carbonara

Irish Stew
Chicken Noodle Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette
Penne with Chicken, Romaine and Roasted Tomatoes

Cider Glazed Chicken Under Bricks with Garden Vegetable Salad tossed with Apple Butter Vinaigrette
Grilled Peach Salad with Spinach and Red Onion Vinaigrette
Curried Halibut, Snap Pea and Spring Mix with Lemongrass Vinaigrette

Grilled Pork and Pineapple Kebabs with Spinach Salad
Romesco with grilled asparagus, fish and ramps from Smart Chefs Stay Slim byAllison Adato
Katie Workman's One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni

Slow Cooker Cassoulet from Michelle Scicolone's The French Slow Cooker
Lasagna Fauxlognese with Brian Patton, The Sexy Vegan
Simple Asian Meals: Tofu Noodle Salad with a Spicy Tahini Dressing

Lobster Mac n Cheese with Cognac Cream Sauce
Sweet Potato, Garden Vegetable and Spring Mix Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
Grilled Salmon, Snap Pea and Spring Mix Salad with Chow Mein Noodles

St. Patrick's Day recipes
Mushroom Mac n Cheese with Bacon and Blue Cheese
Tex- Mex Max n Cheese with Green Chiles and Corn Tortilla Crust

Roasted Salmon with Pernod Sauce from Wini Moranville
Roasted Corn, Black Bean and Avocado Salad
Farmer's Market Vegetable Soup from Weight Watchers One Pot Cookbook

Peanut Butter Granola
Sesame Noodle Chicken Salad
Chicken Salad with Cranberries, Toasted Almonds and Orange Vinaigrette

Kung Pao Chicken
Everything really is better with bacon!
Baked Huevos Rancheros

Maytag Cheddar Soup
Shrimp Cavatelli with Tomato Concasse, Braised Fennel, and Clam Nage
Rustic Grilled Cheese and Mushroom Sandwich with Light Caesar Salad

Turkey 101
Basic Sear-Roasted Pork Tenderloin and All about Roasting with Molly Stevens
Herbed Popovers

The Winemaker Cooks: A chat with Chris Hanna
Simmering Pork Shoulder
Grilled Chiles Rellenos stuffed with Queso Oaxaca, Mushrooms, and Sweet Potato

"World’s Greatest Chicken Pot Pie" from The Casserole Queens
Homemade Gyros
7 Steps to Sensational Stew

Crispy Orange Beef with Green Rice
Anna Boiardi's Leaving-home Penne Rigate with Broccoli
Budget Friendly Foods

Summer Citrus Salad with Creamy Yogurt Dressing
O as in Organizing: Peanut Butter and Jam Muffins
In Season: Apple Recipes

Gold Star Mini Meatloaf “Cupcakes” with Mashed Potato Icing
Tagliata al Rosmarino (Steak with Rosemary)
Chop-chop Salad

Pinwheel Steak Skewers
Pecan-crusted Catfish with White Cheddar Grits
Corn on the Cob

Grilled Asian Orange Chicken
Open Face Bean, Tuna and Arugula Grilled Sandwich
Porterhouse for Two

Mark Schatzker's Steak: One Man's Search for the World's Tastiest Piece of Beef
Lemony Grilled Halibut
Chili-rubbed Chicken Summer Salad

Eat Clean Crispy Chicken Bites
Coffee-Pepper Blackened Pork Tenderloin over Spinach
Ham and Grilled Asparagus Salad

Grilled Steak with Vegetable Kabobs and Summer Salad
Grilled Ribeye Steak with Classic Steak Butter
Classic Italian Pasta Salad

Maggie Green's Kentucky Honey–Lime Grilled Salmon
Laurie David's Vietnamese Soup in a Teapot
Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

Bluefish with Creamed Corn and Croutons from For Cod and Country by Chef Barton Seaver
Braised Beef Brisket
Spicy Buttermilk Oven- fried Chicken Fingers

Parmesan Crusted Cod with Dilled Carrots
Lemon Angel Hair Pasta from CHRISTINA FERRARE's BIG BOWL OF LOVE
Quick Chicken Mole from You CAN trust a skinny cook

Gold Star Chili Hot Brown Bake
Chicken stuffed Poblanos with Two Cheeses
Cooking a great steak

Spicy Chicken Quesadilla
Asian Flank Steak with Beer Reduction
Linguini alle Vongole (Linguine with Clams)

Antipasto Salad
Trio Bistro's Grouper “California Style”
Chicken and Salsa Tamales

Roast Leg of Lamb with Oven Roasted Potatoes
Glazed Beef Kabobs
Porterhouse for Two with Lemon, Potatoes and Asparagus

Best Burgers from the Grill
Tequila Fajitas
Honey Mustard Chicken Rolls

Turkey Meat Balls with Spinach-Tomato Sauce
Grilled Beef and Vegetable Kabobs
Corned Beef Hash

All American Mini Meatloaf Salad
Bourbon Steak
Stir Frying: Mandarin Shrimp and Vegetables

Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages and White Beans
Tortilla Lasagna
Beef Tenderloin Stew

Chicken Fricassée
White Bean Soup with Sausage and Spinach
Burger in a Bowl

Teriyaki Turkey Burgers
Pork Cutlets with Three-Mustard Cream Sauce
Chef Rick Bayless' Brava Steak

Beef and Guinness Stew with Potato Herb Dumplings
Salmon and Boursin Baked in Phyllo
Marinade 101

Hyde Park Chili
Manicotti Beef Florentine
Steak au Poivre

Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Cream Sauce
Seafood Stew
Holiday Sliders

Macadamia Chicken with Mango Butter Sauce
Open-faced Ratatouille Sandwiches with Gruyere
Beer-Batter Shrimp

Chili with Sausage and Beef
Antipasto Toss
Roasted Corned Beef and Cabbage

Beef Wellington
Chinese New Year Tradition: Dumplings and Whole Chicken
Baked Dijon Tilapia with Crumb Crust

Jim Beam Tipsy Barbecue Sauce
Mustard Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Cabernet Sauce
Lobster Sliders

Mom’s Famous Vinegared Shrimp
Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Buttered Crumb Topping
Classic Romaine with Country Ham, Apple, and Sour Cream Dressing

Black Bean & Chicken Burritos from Nourish
Chicken Piccata
Creole Pasta

Spicy Ginger Beef in Lettuce Cups
Orange Chicken with Broccoli
Asian Dumpling Soup

Fettuccine Alfredo
Kentucky Baseball Picnic Bird
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sushi

Crunchy Sesame Chicken Wings
No-Knead Pizza Dough
Smoked Salmon Puff Pastry Pizza with Capers & Dill

Lemon Mustard Salmon Salad
Baked Mediterranean Snapper
Mexican Meatballs

Ghoulish Pasta
Better BLT's
Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Buttered Crumb Topping

Coconut Shrimp and Rice Noodle Bowl
Minestrone Salad
Italian Wedding Soup

Coffee Dusted New York Strip
Japanese-style Sirloin
Chicken Tortilla Soup
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