Got swimsuit season on your mind? There’s still time to burn unwanted fat and get flat abs in time for summer. Get your body beach-ready with these fat-burning foods.
Leafy greens. Nutrient-dense and low in calories, leafy greens should be part of every meal. Fill your plate with veggies and leafy greens first. You’ll be more satisfied with fewer calories than if you fill your plate with carbs first. Juicing fresh vegetables — especially green veggies — is a great way to get all those nutrients in a form that’s a bit easier on your system to digest.
Avocado. Yes, it contains fat, but avocado is a healthy, whole food fat that is very filling. Top your salad with a few slices of avocado or add it to a sandwich. It has a creamy texture, which makes it a perfect replacement for mayo. For a healthy snack, make guacamole with avocado, chopped tomatoes, onion and cilantro and enjoy it with carrots or celery sticks. (For a quick and easy guacamole, add canned diced tomato with onions, like Rotel, to your avocado.)
Fresh fruit. When you’re craving sweets, reach for a piece of fresh fruit instead. Berries contain the most nutrients, and grapefruits have the fewest calories. Remember, some fruits (like apples and bananas) are high in carbs, which the body processes as sugar and may slow fat burn, so try to eat more berries and fewer high-carb fruits.
Flaxseed. It’s high in fiber, protein and omega-3s. Flaxseed meal is easier for the body to digest than straight flax seeds, so add a tablespoon of flaxseed meal to your morning smoothie. It can also be used as an egg replacement in baked goods; simply add water and whisk together until you get a gel-like consistency.
Nut milk. Almond or cashew milk (to name a few) make a flat-ab friendly replacement for dairy in cereal, oatmeal, coffee and smoothies. For homemade milk, soak the nuts of your choice overnight, then toss them in the blender the next morning with a bit of water, vanilla and cinnamon. You can add dates for more sweetness. If you prefer store-bought, be sure to get unsweetened.
Whole grains. Whole, unprocessed grains are rich in fiber, which means your body will burn more calories breaking them down than processed food. Quinoa is a nutrient-dense grain that is high in fiber and protein with a good dose of iron.
Lean meats. When you’re going for protein, stick with lean meats, like chicken over beef. The great thing about protein is that it has a high thermogenic effect, meaning you’ll burn about 30 percent of the calories in the food just digesting it.
Garbanzo beans. Also known as chickpeas, garbanzo beans are packed with filling fiber and metabolism-boosting protein. Add them to a leafy green salad or blend them into a creamy hummus to enjoy with raw vegetables. They’re also great in soups — either whole or blended for a creamy base.
Green tea. Sipping green tea provides a temporary metabolism boost, resulting in increased calorie burn. Brew some fresh green tea and keep a jug in the fridge for a quick, refreshing, calorie-burning drink.
Chili peppers. Hot peppers don’t just set your mouth on fire — they also melt away fat. Chili peppers contain capsaicin, which is responsible for the metabolism boost. You’ll get the calorie-burning effect no matter how you eat them — raw, cooked, dried or in powdered spices.