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Flat Tummy Tip – Reducing Carbs

how to get a flat tummy

Over the last week I have been really trying to regain the flat tummy of the Educogym days (which I am returning to, by the way, just as soon as I finish off my five gazillion bits of writing for various people!) and so I have been cutting out a lot of my usual carbs. Mr AMR would laugh a lot about that, as he has watched me chomp through toast, weetabix and porridge (not all at once) in the mornings, but for the rest of the day I have been really trying not to lazily reach for the bread or pasta to quick-fix my meals. I’m upping my lean proteins and eating lots of fish (ugh) shellfish (yum) and chicken and serving them alongside some of the substitution ideas below!

Some good substitutions for bread, pasta, potatoes and rice:

1) Salad. Don’t groan! I’m talking beautifully-dressed, in-season, fresh salad. Gorgeous juicy tomatoes, colourful peppers and peppery rocket leaves. If you want ideas on how to make amazing salads (and they will fill you up, believe me!) then buy a few good cookbooks – I like Thomasina Miers’ Mexican book and anything by Jamie Oliver. Simple ingredients, quick methods, just what you need. Serve with grilled fish or chicken.

2) Puy Lentils. My most amazing food trick of this year! I love big, saucy meals like homemade curries and pasta dishes, but obviously if I’m trying to cut down on carbs then these will just not do! So this is what I have started doing: I chuck in a tin of puy lentils at the end of the cooking time to make the dish into a type of one-pot stew! It’s amazing! You can get puy lentils from most supermarkets – they are about £1.50 for a tin of them at Waitrose and Sainsburys from a company called ‘Merchant Gourmet.’ So far I have had them in a chicken curry, a French fish stew and most recently, I have jazzed the lentils up with lemon and garlic and herbs and then served pan-fried scallops and asparagus on top of them! (Dying of hunger now, absolutely dying.) Lentils have a carbohydrate content, so they’re not ‘carb-free’ but if you’re looking to cut out wheat and add protein then these are a brilliant way of doing so.

3) Low-fat, natural greek yoghurt. (Total 0% to be precise.) I have been swapping ‘cereal and milk’ for a huge dollop of yoghurt with berries. Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries. I don’t usually advocate ‘reduced fat’ foods, as they are often pumped full of sugar and salt to compensate for lack of flavour, but in this case (as I am eating a shed-load of yoghurt more than usual!) I think that it’s necessary. Anyway, Total doesn’t have any nasties added, so it’s fine.

4) Cauliflower. (I haven’t gone mad, here.) If you simmer cauliflower florets in a bit of milk, and once they’re soft blend them up with a load of salt and pepper, they make rather a nice substitution for mashed potato! I have this with seared scallops on top and a bit of pan-fried parma ham. (Again, cauliflower has a carb content, but i’s not quite as starchy as potato, so I think it’s a good alternative. Especially with Sunday roast!)

My tummy is so flat at the moment – and I’m sure that it’s just from these little changes! I’m not advocating these substitutions for every meal – (I’m having the odd pasta dish or bit of bread when I really need to) – but as ideas to fall back on when you want to avoid too many carbs then I think you might find them useful.

(Q: What’s the problem with carbs?

A: No problem whatsoever if you eat them in sensible proportions, but some people eat toast for breakfast, a huge sarnie for lunch and then curry with rice and naan for dinner! Carbs are great for a quick-fix of energy (the body burns them easily and so chooses them first over fats and proteins) but they aren’t, believe it or not, essential nutrients for the human body. Fats and proteins are. I’m not going to go into depth here, because it would go on for pages, but there’s nothing wrong with eating carbs  – they can provide essential dietary fibre for a start! – we just need to eat them sensibly. They make our bloody sugar go haywire (because they are, or quickly get converted into, sugars) and they can leave us feeling hungry very, very quickly. So, just be a little bit ‘carb aware’ – things like white bread especially should be eaten infrequently. There’s no real nutritional benefit and although it’s a ‘fat free’ food, you have to get your head around the fact that IT WILL MAKE YOU FAT if you eat loads of it and little else! Don’t make processed, ‘easy’ carbs your staple – a plate full of rice is just a filler, try swapping it for a plate full of beautifully crunchy stir-fried vegetables instead! Mmmm. Also – and this is important – if you reduce your carbs, make sure that you’re getting enough protein. We want to build muscle people! Not waste away – healthy, toned bods, that’s the aim!)


  1. Don’t buy Tinned Lentils, any tinned items will have toxins seeping into the food. Buy natural, fresh items ALWAYS!

    • Totally agree! If you buy dry puy lentils they are also a fraction of the price, and you can buy in bulk :) Great website though, loving the carb-alternatives!

  2. Wow!
    This is really helpful! I love that you gave carb alternatives instead of just sharing the carbs we need to eat less of. Thank You!

    I just found your YouTube channel and I would be perusing your videos right now but my net connection is currently moving at a snail’s pace. So instead I read your blog. And I am having a great time!

  3. For those who feel dizzy when cutting carbs, I feel the same way. After three days it gets better! Your brain is used to the lower levels and regulates your sugar levels better!

  4. puy lentils are fab. if you put 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds, 4 chopped spring onions, 1/2 red chilli in frying pan, with fry light. then add 250g of cooked puy lentils warm through with splash of red wine vinegar. put on top of bag of salad, and then threw in any thing you fancy, crumble feta cheese, coriander, squeeze lemon. I love a oven cooked salmon. or cooked chicken perhaps cooked on griddle with patak tikka paste spread on top before cooking. this will feed 4. Cut up avocado is also yummy.

  5. Hey Ruth! These are amazing “diet hacks”. Especially the cauliflower and lentil ones – will definitely try those. Do you think I can write about these hacks on my site and reference you when I post it? :)

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