7 Days of Fat-Melting Meals
Meet your new nutrition secret weapons: nuts, eggs, salmon, low-fat dairy, peanut butter, avocado, spinach, berries, whole grains, and dark chocolate. Each of these foods works in a different way to zap fat and make you sleeker, says Neva Cochran, RD, a nutrition consultant based in Dallas. The high protein content of nuts and eggs helps curb hunger and boost your calorie burn, meaning you'll eat less (and lose weight). "The calcium in dairy products trims your waist by increasing the activity of enzymes that break down fat cells. It also reduces levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that causes your body to hang on to belly flab, " Cochran explains. Whole grains, leafy greens, and berries are loaded with filling fiber, which has been proven to reduce your calorie intake. The mono- and polyunsaturated fats in peanut butter, avocados, olive oil, and salmon prevent abdominal fat from accumulating in the first place, research shows. And dark chocolate? "Indulging in a little bit every day keeps cravings under control, which helps you stick to a healthy diet, " Cochran says. Get the ab-flattening benefits of these foods starting today.
Try the recipes on the following pages, aiming for a total of 1, 500 calories a day. Mix, match, and slim down!
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Smoothie
In a blender, combine 3/4 cup frozen berries, 1/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt, 1/2 cup low-fat chocolate soy milk, and 2 tablespoons reduced-fat all-natural peanut butter. 355 calories
Egg-White Muffin Melt
Scramble 3 egg whites. Cover half of a whole-grain English muffin with 1/2 cup spinach and the other half with 1 slice reduced-fat cheddar cheese; toast until cheese is melted. Add egg and 1 slice tomato. 270 calories
Top 1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup low-fat granola, 1 teaspoon slivered almonds, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1/2 cup berries. 303 calories
Prepare 1 packet plain, instant oatmeal with 1/2 cup skim milk. Microwave 3/4 of a small apple, chopped, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon brown sugar. Top oatmeal with apples and 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts. 255 calories
Mexican Egg Scramble
Scramble 3 egg whites with 1/4 cup canned black beans (rinsed and drained) and 1 ounce reduced-fat cheddar cheese. Top with 2 tablespoons salsa, or to taste. 191 calories
Peanut Buttery Bagel
Toast a whole-grain bagel and spread with 1 tablespoon reduced-fat all-natural peanut butter. Cover with slices from 1 apple. 335 calories
Top 2 whole-grain waffles with 1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt, 1/2 cup mixed berries, and 2 teaspoons maple syrup. 246 calories
Place 2 to 3 slices roasted turkey, 2 slices avocado, and 1 slice low-fat pepper jack cheese between 2 slices whole-grain bread. Grill in skillet. 303 calories