Soothe and Shrink Your Belly: Our 21-Day Tummy Diet Plan | Reader's Digest

Soothe and Shrink Your Belly: Our 21-Day Tummy Diet Plan

The Reader's Digest book 21-Day Tummy contains the exclusive meal plan, recipes, and workout that helped test panelists lose weight and ease digestive issues. Here's how the plan works.

By Liz Vaccariello from 21-Day Tummy (Reader's Digest Association)
Curried Chicken SoupAndrew Purcell

With our new 21-Day Tummy plan, you will be eating more anti-inflammatory foods, especially those rich in magnesium, and fewer carb-dense foods and FODMAPs (rapidly fermentable carbohydrates that can aggravate your gut). This plan helped my fellow testers and me shrink our stomachs (by up to 4 1/2 inches in one case!) and ease our tummy troubles. At least two people stopped taking prescription drugs for heartburn entirely, and GI symptoms disappeared completely for several testers.

Bonus: Try 6 recipes from the plan here! »

PHASE 1: FLATTEN (DAYS 1 TO 5)
Calm your sensitive system as you shed fat quickly. To jump-start your weight loss, the first phase is designed to supply the fewest calories, replacing one meal per day with the Belly Soother Smoothie. Very low in FODMAP foods and grain-free, this phase features foods that are the absolute easiest to digest healthfully. While you will immediately feel leaner and cleaner, this is not a “detox” diet of liquid meals or bland foods. You’ll eat real food—and get real results. Our testers lost an average of 5 1/2 pounds after this phase!

Tomato ginger flank steakAndrew Purcell

PHASE 2: SOOTHE AND SHRINK (DAYS 6 TO 15)
Maximize belly-fat loss by boosting anti-inflammatory foods that are high in magnesium and monounsaturated fatty acids. You’ll continue to enjoy one Belly Soother Smoothie per day, but your other meals will be larger, to keep your metabolism humming. Here, we introduce fiber-rich and carb-light grains—quinoa and oat bran—and pair them with magnesium-rich fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds, plus MUFA-rich oils and other foods, to create filling stir-fries and protein-packed dinners that will keep you fueled up and feeling good.

Twice-baked Potatoes with pepper hashAndrew Purcell

PHASE 3: BALANCE (DAYS 16 TO 21)
Stoke your body with meals that combine belly-friendly fiber, lean protein, and healthy fats so you never feel hungry. We’ll stay largely carb-light, but now you’re ready to reintroduce sweets to your diet, with a delicious dessert every other day. Meals feature an ideal balance of 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat, which research indicates is the best mix for decreasing inflammation and improving digestion. It’s the combination we recommend you stick with for life.

Learn more about the plan here. You can also order 21-Day Tummy wherever books are sold.