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To get a more toned body, you need to build muscle and lose body fat. Eating a healthy diet, consisting of lean proteins, healthy unsaturated fats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help you achieve these goals. Diet alone is not enough to create a lean frame -- you must also participate in regular strength training and cardiovascular exercise. When you choose the right kinds of foods, you have more energy and nutrients to support your workouts.
A diet of whole, unprocessed foods, or clean foods, can help you achieve a more toned body. Processed foods contain added sugars, saturated and trans fats and refined flours that pad your diet with extra calories and promote fat gain. Choosing whole foods low in sodium and high in fiber helps reduce bloating and water retention which hides your lean muscle. Even when choosing clean foods, you must watch portion sizes -- too much of any food can cause weight gain.
Foods high in protein support the maintenance and growth of lean muscle mass. Some protein foods contain high amounts of saturated fat - particularly fatty cuts of meat, processed meats, dark meat poultry and full-fat dairy. The saturated fat in these products makes them high in calories - potentially causing fat gain and increasing your risk of certain disease. To shed pounds and appear more toned, choose lean proteins such as egg whites, whey protein, flank steak, white fish and skinless chicken. Vegetarians benefit from soy foods, such as tofu, or beans and lentils.
Do not shy away from fats altogether when trying to achieve a toned body. You need some fat in your diet to promote hormone production and vitamin absorption. Make about 20 to 25 percent of your daily calories come from unsaturated fats found in nuts, avocados and fatty fish. Healthy fat can help you feel full for longer, reducing cravings and overeating which can cause weight gain.
Vegetables and Fruits
Vegetables and fruits contain fiber and ample amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are also low in calories, so you can fill up without gaining fat. A study in the March 2008 issue of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" found that diets high in potassium-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, can help preserve muscle mass -- a primary component of a toned body.
Replacing refined grains with whole grains helps you reduce belly fat - resulting in more tone in your abdomen - reported a study in a September 2009 issue of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." Whole grains are also a source of fiber which helps regulate digestion and prevents abdominal distention. Examples of common, tasty whole grain options include oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa.