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8. Go Slow with Beans and Gassy Vegetables.

If you're not used to eating beans, they can cause that gassy feeling. So can the cruciferous family of vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.

That doesn't mean you should give up on these super-nutritious, high-fiber vegetables.

"Don’t be nervous about beans," Blatner says. "Just work them into your diet slowly until your body adjusts to the compounds that can initially cause gas."

Or, you can take an anti-gas product, which can help reduce gas from beans or vegetables.

9. Eat Smaller Meals More Often

Instead of three big meals per day, try eating smaller meals more often. This can keep you free of the bloated feeling that often follows large meals (think Thanksgiving). Eating more frequently can also help control blood sugar and manage hunger.

So go for five to six small meals each day, but make sure the quantity of food and calories are proportionate to your needs. To create a daily meal plan that includes the recommended amounts of all major nutrients, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate web site.

10. Try Anti-Bloating Foods and Drinks.

A few studies suggest that peppermint tea, ginger, pineapple, parsley, and yogurts containing probiotics ("good" bacteria) may help reduce bloating.

"These are safe foods that are good for you when used appropriately, so why not try them and see if they help you de-bloat?" Blatner says.

A Final Word About Stomach Fat

Experts agree that you shouldn’t fast, skip meals, or use laxatives or water pills to help you de-bloat or lose weight.

If you're looking to flatten your belly for the long term, there's no substitute for losing a few pounds, Jensen says.

"For most everyone, when you lose total body fat, your body reduces belly fat preferentially," he says. "Even though people lose weight differently, there is a little more lost in the abdominal region than elsewhere.”

Experts also say that doing ab exercises all day long won’t get rid of the excess belly. Although you can’t necessarily spot reduce, you can strengthen abdominal muscles with routines like Pilates and exercise ball workouts. And, stronger muscles can help your belly appear flatter.

"Toning and strengthening the abdominal muscles can help you look less fat [and] improve your appearance, muscle tone, and posture, which is also very good for your back," Jensen says.

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