From the moment their groom-to-be slips that sparkler on their left hand, most brides begin to envision how they want to look on the big day. And how does every bride-to-be hope she'll look on the big day? Her very best, duh. And preferably without being subjected to months of hunger pains and sugar cravings. Holistic nutritionist Kelly LeVeque—she helped Emmy Rossum prep for her 2017 vows—swears it's possible to do just that. "I don't count calories and I don't count fat grams," says the pro. Heed her advice and all you'll be tallying are the number of likes on your wedding day Instagrams.
Focus on the fab four.
That's protein, fat, fiber, and greens. The author of the upcoming Body Love says getting a mix of those at each meal (she recommends four to six ounces of protein, two to four cups of fiber-rich vegetables, and one to two tablespoons of fat) is key to feeling satiated. "Not only are you getting the essential amino acids and fatty acids that your body needs to produce really healthy cells," she says, but the combo "turns off all the hunger hormones, so you feel calm and relaxed."
Eat three square meals.
LeVeque eschews the idea of having many small meals throughout the day. By sticking with just breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you're giving your body a chance to naturally diminish fat, says the L.A.-based nutritionist, "and you can also have a surge of human growth hormone and testosterone that really helps burn belly fat."
Avoid inflammatory foods.
In the last few weeks leading up to their vows, LeVeque recommends her brides stay away from dairy, gluten, sugar, and soy, which can lead to bloating or, in some cases, hormone-related breakouts. Explains the pro, "We focus on foods with the highest amount of nutrition that really help detoxify the body."
Pile on the beauty foods.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (her picks: fish, bison, avocado, and olive oil) "really help your skin glow," swears LeVeque. She also recommends crunching on high-fiber leafy greens. The sulfur-based sugar in the veggies feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut, she says, which can lead to healthier skin.
Gulp down water.
Along with filling up on H2O, LeVeque advises dining on water-rich foods such as cucumber, peppers, and jicama. "If you're dehydrated," she explains, "it can lower your metabolism by up to 30 percent."
Try a liquid breakfast.
LeVeque's brides start their day with one of her fab four smoothies. (One recipe calls for vanilla protein powder, peanut butter, chia, unsweetened nut milk, and cacao nibs.) The blend "turns off all the hunger hormones," she says, "so you feel calm and relaxed and arrive at lunch not starving. When you do that, you're able to make better choices."
While the health and wellness consultant says the right blend of foods should cancel out afternoon cravings, if you do need a snack, choose one that has satisfying protein and fat. Her favorites include a handful of cashews or almonds, a hardboiled egg or some sliced cucumber with guacamole. "You really want to lean on whole foods," says the expert. "And get back to eating the most simple foods possible."