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Home arrow Nutrition arrow 32 Foods That Burn Belly Fat Fast: Essential Picks

32 Foods That Burn Belly Fat Fast: Essential Picks

HR_author_photo_Edna
Written by Edna Skopljak, MD
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Fact checked by Edibel Quintero, RD
Last update: January 16, 2024
20 min read 378 Views 0 Comments
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Take your meal plan to the next level with these foods

32 Foods That Burn Belly Fat Fast

When it comes to learning how to burn belly fat fast, the amount you eat has a huge impact. Exercise is also significant, helping you to burn more calories than you consume.

Both of these factors work together, typically in a 75% to 25% ratio, respectively, to help you stick to a calorie deficit. While this is the key to burning belly fat, the types of food you eat are also massively important.

Wondering how to make the right nutritional choices for dropping those pesky pounds? We’ll explore the top 32 foods to eat and some ideas for including them in your fat-burning diet.

32 Foods That Burn Belly Fat Fast: Sleek Physique Awaits

Fed up with trying to lose belly fat and seeing no results? Include the following weight loss foods into your diet to start shedding the pounds:

#1 Almonds

When trying to get a flat stomach, many people are put off by nuts due to their high-calorie content. For instance, peanuts provide a huge 588 calories per 100 grams. However, as a superfood, nuts such as almonds make a great addition to any weight-loss diet. 

They contain 31.3 grams of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat per 100 grams, a nutrient that helps to satisfy your appetite and keep you fuller for longer. When used to replace high-carbohydrate snacks, studies also show that eating almonds can reduce abdominal fat and prevent the onset of cardiometabolic diseases

.

To experience these fat-burning benefits, stick to the recommended portion size of 30 grams, or one handful daily. Mix almonds through quinoa for an added crunch, or blend roasted almonds with cinnamon, vanilla, and honey to create your own nut butter

#2 Apples

Known for their high fiber content, apples are one of the most popular fruits globally. With just over 4 grams per medium-sized fruit, or 16% of the Daily Value for fiber, eating apples therefore supports weight loss and good gut health.

Studies show that those with poor gut health, or a lower diversity of friendly bacteria in the gut, are more likely to be obese.

Apples make a great snack alone or paired with peanut butter, but you can also satisfy a sweet tooth by making pie baked apples. Cut off the top of an apple, scoop out the inside, and mix with walnuts and honey. Pop the apple mixture back in, cover with the top, and bake for around 30 minutes.

#3 Avocados

Packed full of healthy monounsaturated fats, avocados help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, therefore reducing your risk of heart disease.

Studies show that eating more monounsaturated fats can benefit weight loss by increasing satiety after meals and keeping you fuller for longer. Plus, avocados contain 13.5 grams of fiber per fruit, another important nutrient that influences appetite.

While they make a great addition to burrito bowls with chicken, black beans, and salsa, avocados can also be used as a butter substitute to create deliciously healthy desserts. Add them to chocolate mousses, brownies, and even green smoothies to boost the nutritional value.

#4 Bananas

Whether eaten as a snack, baked on the barbecue, or blended into smoothies, bananas are well-known for being one of the highest-potassium foods. However, like many other fruits, they are relatively low in calories, delivering 105 per medium fruit, to help you maintain a calorie deficit. 

Bananas are also packed full of fiber, and when unripe contain a good amount of resistant starch. This starch acts like soluble fiber, which slows the absorption of sugars, prevents blood glucose spikes, and maintains feelings of fullness.

#5 Barley

If you’re looking for low-calorie grains to support weight loss, barley is an excellent choice. 

The whole grain contains mainly beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that can lower bad cholesterol and promote better blood sugar control. This helps to maintain your energy levels throughout the day and can stop food cravings, so you’re less likely to overindulge.

One great way of eating more barley is to use it as a substitute for arborio rice. Combine with your choice of protein, mushrooms, asparagus, garlic, stock, and butter to create a creamy risotto.

#6 Blueberries

Blueberries are another great low-calorie fruit, with only 57 calories and 0.33 grams of fat per 100g serving. However, try not to exceed the daily recommended serving size of 140g, as they still contain natural sugars that can contribute to weight gain.

Blueberries are an ideal choice for weight loss as they’re one of the richest sources of antioxidants called anthocyanins. They can prevent heart disease, protect brain health, and have been shown to potentially reduce belly fat.

To easily incorporate blueberries into your diet, add to a Greek yogurt bowl with chia seeds, honey, and almond butter. You could also put frozen blueberries into a smoothie to thicken the texture, or create a blueberry balsamic dressing to drizzle over fresh salads.

#7 Broccoli

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are a weight loss staple as their high fiber content keeps you full without taking you over your daily calorie limit. One cup of raw broccoli offers only 54 calories, so you can enjoy good-sized portions of this vegetable. 

Broccoli also contains phytochemicals, antioxidant plant compounds that boost fat oxidation during exercise. Research suggests that this could help to increase fat loss for those with obesity. 

Blend broccoli and stilton to make a rich and cheesy soup, toss through stir fries for a nutritious crunch, or roast with garlic, lemon, and parmesan to create a delicious side dish. 

#8 Brown rice

Like barley, brown rice is a type of whole grain that is good for weight loss. This means that it is packed full of fiber and has a low glycemic index (GI), so it raises your blood glucose levels slowly. You’re therefore less likely to crave sugary, calorie-laden foods later in the day.

Unlike white rice, which undergoes a refining process that removes many important nutrients, the brown variety contains selenium. This mineral is great for your thyroid, which is responsible for the action of your metabolism. 

Although brown rice is most commonly eaten as part of a healthy lunch or evening meal, try using it to mix up your mornings. Top a portion of rice with eggs, avocado, black beans, and homemade salsa for a balanced breakfast.

#9 Cayenne pepper

You may be surprised to hear that the seasonings you add to your meals can also impact your journey to blasting belly fat fast. 

Specifically, spicy peppers such as cayenne contain a chemical called capsaicin, which has thermogenic properties. Thermogenic means to produce heat, so consuming capsaicin causes your body temperature to rise and burn more calories. Thermogenic chemicals can also help to speed up your metabolism, burn fat, and lower your appetite. 

If you don’t enjoy the spice of cayenne, try adding small amounts to already flavorful Mexican dishes like chili, fajitas, or huevos rancheros. Alternatively, you could use capsaicin supplements, but speak to a healthcare professional before adding these into your routine.

#10 Chia seeds

Chia seeds are tiny weight loss powerhouses that are full of omega-3s. These fatty acids are important for heart health, and have been shown to promote the reduction of abdominal fat in overweight or obese individuals.

One ounce of chia seeds also contains a huge 9.75 grams of fiber, or 40% of the daily recommended intake, to help you feel satisfied after eating.

A great way to use chia seeds is for chia pudding. Combine a tablespoon with half a cup of milk, then leave refrigerated overnight to set. Top with some fruit and high-protein nuts to increase the nutritional value even further.

#11 Cinnamon 

In a similar way to cayenne pepper, cinnamon contains thermogenic compounds that help you burn belly fat fast. One of these compounds is cinnamaldehyde, a flavonoid that stimulates the metabolism and is suggested as a therapeutic strategy to tackle obesity.

Adding cinnamon to your diet is simple. Sprinkle it over yogurt bowls and oatmeal, or add a cinnamon stick to your favorite hot beverages to transform the taste.

#12 Coconut oil

Cooking with coconut oil may be beneficial for weight loss around the belly as it contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). 

These naturally occurring compounds are absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream and converted into ketone bodies. As an alternative energy source, ketones help the body burn stored fat for fuel rather than glucose.

Research also shows that using coconut oil as a replacement for canola or soybean oil can help you lose fat as they contain long-chain triglycerides, which aren’t absorbed as quickly.

#13 Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is one of the best types of cheese for weight loss. With 11 grams of protein and 98 calories per 100 grams, it can keep you full without breaking the calorie bank. The protein content also contributes to building muscle, allowing you to burn more calories daily.

Cottage cheese contains both whey and casein proteins. Casein is digested more slowly in the body, providing you with a steady source of protein that can suppress your appetite for longer periods.

For a satisfying snack, create a rainbow dipping platter with raw veggies and cottage cheese. You could also mix it with your choice of nut butter and spread on toast to boost the protein content. 

#14 Dark chocolate

Although salads are great for weight loss, you can still enjoy some of your favorite treats in moderation when trying to burn belly fat fast. This includes dark chocolate, which studies show can help to regulate your appetite.

Along with dietary fiber, dark chocolate contains heart-healthy fats like oleic acid that are great for keeping you full. This treat works well when paired with nuts and fruit as part of a trail mix, and can also be included in homemade energy bars for a boost of richness.

#15 Eggs

With around 12 grams in each serving, eggs are an excellent complete protein source for those hoping to retain lean muscle while trying to burn belly fat fast.

Thanks to their high protein and omega-3 fatty acid content, eggs are high on the satiety index, meaning they’re great at keeping you full to reduce calorie intake. A study therefore found that those who consumed eggs had a 34% lower risk of developing fat around the abdomen area.

Although eggs with avocado on toast make a simple, well-balanced breakfast, try mixing it up with shakshuka, a North African dish. Fry off onion and bell pepper with olive oil, garlic, chili, and paprika. Simmer with tomatoes until thickened, then make two wells to crack your eggs into. When cooked through, garnish with chopped cilantro.

#16 Flaxseeds

Like chia seeds, flaxseeds are also packed full of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids that can suppress your appetite and prevent overeating.

Flaxseeds are also rich in lignin, a plant polymer. Thanks to its antioxidant properties, research shows that lignin may contribute to weight loss, as well as treating diseases like diabetes and cancer.

To improve your digestion and keep you satisfied while trying to burn belly fat, create a hot flaxseed drink by mixing a teaspoon of ground flaxseeds with 8 ounces of hot water and a lemon wedge.

#17 Garlic

Garlic can be effective in reducing belly fat because it contains allicin, a sulfur compound that activates brown adipose tissue and burns calories.

While research into garlic’s effect on losing weight offers mixed results, studies suggest that it is effective in reducing waist circumference. To experience this benefit, add a couple of minced garlic cloves to your daily meals, such as scrambled egg or guacamole. Spread raw garlic onto your toast, or toss through pan-roasted vegetables.

#18 Greek yogurt

Compared to the plain variety, Greek yogurt is thicker and contains nearly three times more protein, thanks to the straining process it undergoes. This makes it more filling, with studies highlighting the link between yogurt and lower body fat, less weight gain, and smaller waist circumference.

Greek yogurt also contains probiotics, friendly bacteria that are essential for good gut health. Maintaining a well-balanced gut microbiome benefits your metabolic health, improving factors such as inflammation, blood sugar, and blood pressure that lower the risk of obesity.

Research suggests that pairing Greek yogurt with fresh fruit boosts these benefits. Try swapping mayonnaise or sour cream for yogurt in pasta salad dressings, tuna or chicken, and chili con carne.

#19 Green tea

In the world of health and wellness, green tea is popular due to its fat-burning properties. Although containing less than a cup of coffee, green tea provides caffeine, a stimulant that has been shown to increase energy expenditure.

It also contains catechins, antioxidants that may boost your metabolism to help burn belly fat fast, particularly when combined with exercise.

If you struggle with anxiety or insomnia, try switching your regular coffee to green tea to experience the weight loss benefits without the unpleasant side effects of a high-caffeine drink. Add matcha powder and almond milk to create a creamy matcha green tea latte.

#20 Kale

Kale is another member of the cruciferous vegetable family that is low in calories, with just 35 calories per 100-gram serving. You can therefore load up your plate with kale, increasing the size of your meal without going over your daily calorie limit.

This vegetable has also been shown to lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol. A study found that when people with metabolic syndrome consumed 14 grams of kale powder each day, their cholesterol and blood pressure levels improved. They also experienced a reduction in belly fat.

A delicious way of incorporating kale into your diet is by making healthy chips. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil onto the kale, sprinkle with salt, and bake for a few minutes until crisp.

#21 Lentils

Lentils pack in a good amount of plant-based protein, delivering 23.6 grams per 100-gram dry serving. As well as being high in fiber, the legume also helps to reduce blood sugar levels and is digested slowly to keep you feeling satisfied.

For instance, one study discovered that replacing half a serving of rice with lentils experienced 20% lower blood sugar levels.

Lentils work well as a plant-based alternative to ground beef. Whether you’re vegan or trying to cut back on your red meat consumption, you can therefore use them to make spaghetti bolognese, sloppy joes, or tacos.

#22 Oats

As another type of low GI carbohydrate, oats provide slow-release energy. So, if you eat oatmeal at breakfast rather than sugary cereals, you’re more likely to stay full until lunchtime, resulting in less mindless snacking.

If you’re trying to shift stubborn fat from the stomach area, choose rolled or steel-cut over instant oats. These types of oats are whole grains, which are packed full of soluble fiber to satisfy your appetite.

Along with oatmeal, oats can be used to make homemade healthy flapjacks that are lower in sugar than store-bought varieties. You could also coat chicken in oats to create a crispy crumb.

#23 Olive oil

Similarly to avocados, nuts, and seeds, olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are a much better option for weight loss in comparison to saturated fats. Eating plenty of monounsaturated fats has also been shown to prevent the accumulation of body fat.

Like coconut oil, olive oil contains medium-chain triglycerides that help to regulate the appetite. However, it is relatively high in calories, with 119 per tablespoon, so you should eat it in small amounts to help burn belly fat fast. 

Incorporate olive oil into a salad dressing with vinegar and lemon juice, drizzle on top of vegetables for some extra richness, or use as a dip for whole grain bread.

#24 Oranges

Oranges are a low-calorie and fiber-filled snack that can help to cure your sugar cravings. As a citrus fruit, they are also packed with vitamin C. Studies show that getting enough vitamin C into your diet can increase fat burning during exercise by around 30%.

Although drinking orange juice is a great way of getting important nutrients like vitamin C, the commercial processing that it undergoes often removes much of the fiber. Juice also tends to contain added sugar, so stick to whole oranges for weight loss.

A fun way of incorporating oranges into your diet is by mixing up your usual salsa. Combine chopped oranges and their peel with tomatoes, green onion, lime juice, cilantro, and chili for a kick.

#25 Quinoa

As a type of whole grain, quinoa is brilliant for blasting belly fat as it is full of fiber that will keep you feeling satisfied after your meal. With 14.1 grams per uncooked portion, quinoa is also known to be one of the highest protein grains.

Like eggs, this superfood is another complete protein source, meaning that it delivers all 9 essential amino acids. These amino acids support the growth and development of muscle tissue, which helps the body burn more calories even at rest.

Quinoa works well with spices and herbs such as paprika, garlic, thyme, and black pepper. Try stuffing it into bell peppers with ground beef, or cook with coconut milk and honey for a sweet dessert.

#26 Salmon

Salmon is another food rich in omega-3 fatty acids, helping to promote a fast metabolism and increase your body’s fat-burning capabilities.

Salmon also stands out as being good for weight loss as it is packed with protein. Just half a filet contains 32.6 grams of this muscle-building nutrient that can help your body burn more calories.

Start the day off right with smoked salmon and eggs on whole wheat bread for breakfast. Try a grilled salmon salad with quinoa and plenty of veggies for lunch, and serve baked salmon filets with noodles and stir-fried vegetables for an easy evening meal.

#27 Spinach

As a superfood, spinach is a great source of a range of vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, and vitamin A. The leafy green is also high in fiber, therefore keeping you full on just 28 calories per 100 grams.

In a study where 60 overweight or obese individuals took spinach extract, results showed that their hunger and longing for food decreased significantly

Although it can be eaten raw in salads and even added to smoothies, spinach wilts down easily when cooked. So, try adding it to pasta sauces, curries, and risotto to help your fat-burning journey.

#28 Sweet potatoes

It’s often thought that all starchy vegetables are bad for weight loss as they’re high in carbohydrates, which can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels and leave you feeling hungry.

However, sweet potatoes are an exception to this, as they are high in dietary fiber and water, both of which help to maintain satiety so that you’re less likely to overeat. 

Try to avoid sweet potatoes that have been deep fried, as this adds calories that could cause you to gain more fat. Instead, bake in the oven with some olive oil and enjoy with a dash of cinnamon. Sweet potato mash is a great option, which can be served with salmon and broccoli for a highly nutritious, yet filling meal.

#29 Turkey breast

Like chicken breast, turkey is a type of lean protein that is ideal for muscle growth. This means that it is high in protein, yet low in fat, therefore keeping you full on fewer calories.

Turkey breast also contains a range of important vitamins and minerals that will maintain your health while you’re trying to lose belly fat fast. It is a great source of B vitamins, which support energy production and amino acid formation to create proteins in the body. Turkey is also rich in selenium, which regulates your metabolic rate.

Swap chicken for turkey in curries, casseroles, and soups, or mix with breadcrumbs to create a higher protein alternative to a takeout burger.

#30 Walnuts

Like almonds, walnuts are relatively high in calories, meaning they may not be your first choice when trying to burn belly fat. However, research indicates that the energy your body absorbs from them is 21% lower than expected based on their nutritional profile.

Walnuts are also rich in alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that is highly beneficial for weight loss.

If you’re struggling with hunger while on your fat-burning journey, try adding walnuts to a smoothie. One study found that people who did this once per day had smaller appetites after 5 days.

#31 Whole grain bread

In terms of bread, varieties like whole wheat, rye, or barley are the best for weight loss. This is because they are made from whole grains, rather than refined carbohydrates that are digested more quickly and can cause your blood sugar to spike 

One slice of regular multi-grain bread delivers around 69 calories, so can fit well into any weight loss diet. Swap white bread for whole grain varieties in sandwiches, paired with chicken and salad for a filling lunch option. For breakfast, top toasted bread with nut butter and banana.

#32 Yogurt

Like Greek yogurt, normal yogurt is another high-protein, filling option that you should eat if you’re hoping to burn belly fat fast. 

While there are many varieties available, try to choose plain yogurt, and avoid those with added flavorings. These varieties are generally laden with added sugars that increase the calorie count.

To make plain yogurt more exciting, jazz it up by creating a flavorsome breakfast parfait. Layer with berries, homemade granola, and a dash of honey. Before grilling, marinate chicken in yogurt, crushed garlic, cilantro, and lemon juice for a delicious Greek-inspired dinner.

How to Build a Healthy Eating Plan to Lose Belly Fat Fast

While the best way to burn belly fat is slowly for sustainable results, there are some things that you can do to make the process more efficient, and stay healthy. Here are 4 tips on how to lose weight fast:

#1 Prioritize lean proteins

Along with being relatively low-calorie, meaning you can eat larger portions to satisfy your appetite, lean proteins can help you build muscle mass. Lean muscle requires more calories for fuel, therefore enabling your body to burn more fat.

High-protein foods like chicken breast, turkey, and lean beef are also low in saturated fat, which research shows can cause visceral fat accumulation around the stomach area if eaten in excess.

#2 Focus on fiber-rich foods

As we’ve mentioned throughout our list, eating plenty of fiber-rich foods is important for keeping you full, suppressing your appetite, and preventing overeating. A study of 345 people found that fiber intake was the biggest predictor of body weight, regardless of calorie or macronutrient intake.

Depending on your age and gender, it’s recommended for adults to consume between 22 and 34 grams of fiber per day. Increase your intake by including whole grains, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds, or even a fiber supplement in your daily diet.

#3 Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water each day is important for maintaining overall health, but can also aid weight loss. This is because it may act as an appetite suppressant to fill the stomach, particularly when consumed before meals.

Research indicates that water can boost your resting energy expenditure, meaning you’ll naturally burn more calories without exercising. For instance, one study found that drinking just 500 milliliters of water increases the metabolic rate by 30%.

#4 Be mindful of portion sizes

Including the foods we’ve mentioned in your diet is a great way to begin burning belly fat, but eating them in large amounts could counteract your efforts. This could cause you to consume more calories than you’re burning, which leads to weight gain over time.

To prevent this, try using the plate method when serving meals. Reserve a quarter of your plate for lean proteins, another quarter for whole grain carbohydrates, and pile up the rest with low-calorie vegetables. You could also weigh out higher-calorie foods and track your daily intake using a weight loss app.

A Word From Our RD

Expert image border HR_author_photo_Edibel
Edibel Quintero, RD
Medical advisor for Health Reporter

If you’re trying to get rid of body fat from the stomach area, simply performing sit-ups for hours is unlikely to help. Instead, you’ll need to be in a calorie deficit, where your body burns more calories than you consume.

There are several effective approaches to this. For example, along with lean proteins, fiber-filled whole grains, and small amounts of healthy fats, you should try to eat plenty of zero-calorie foods. These are high-volume foods, meaning that you can consume large portions without racking up the calorie count.

You could also support a healthy, balanced diet with appetite suppressants, which help you feel full and therefore prevent overeating. However, they should only be a short-term solution to kickstart your weight loss journey, and may not be suitable for everyone. Consult your doctor before including these supplements in your daily routine.

FAQs

What can I eat before bed without gaining weight?

If you’re hungry after dinner, try to eat small, high-protein snacks that will keep you full throughout the night. Some ideas include a protein shake, a bowl of Greek yogurt and berries, or your nut butter of choice with sliced apple.

What raises metabolism quickly?

Eating high-protein foods such as lean meats and dairy can increase your metabolism quickly. This is because protein requires more energy to digest, absorb, and be used by the body. Foods containing thermogenic compounds like chili and cayenne can also boost your metabolism by generating heat.

What helps to burn stomach fat fast?

Including fiber-filled foods in your diet like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can reduce belly fat as they help you feel full. This means that you’ll naturally eat less, therefore promoting weight loss. Cutting out alcohol, lowering your stress levels, and getting plenty of sleep can also promote quicker fat-burning.

Conclusion

If you’re trying to burn belly fat fast, focus on filling your diet with a range of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, lean proteins, thermogenic seasonings, and drinks that will kickstart your metabolism.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should completely cut out all of your favorite foods – you can still enjoy treats like dark chocolate in moderation, as part of a balanced diet. Try to make exercise a regular part of your routine too, as this can help you blast the fat even more quickly.

Written by Edna Skopljak, MD
Edna Skopljak, MD, is a medical advisor for the Health Reporter, a general practitioner who also worked as a medical doctor at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology. In addition to clinical work, she has years of experience in medical research as an editor at a prestigious medical journal.
The article was fact checked by Edibel Quintero, RD
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HR_author_photo_Edna
Written by Edna Skopljak, MD
HR_author_photo_Edibel
Fact checked by Edibel Quintero, RD
Last update: January 16, 2024
20 min read 378 Views 0 Comments
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