When it comes to planning meals, there are just about as many strategies out there as there are foods you’d like to see on your plate.
While some diet gurus tout secret fat-burners like green tea, hot peppers, and caffeine to boost metabolism and aid in busting through calories, the real secret to creating fat-burning meals is planning a balanced menu.
Check out the following five tips on how to assemble a meal that will boost your metabolism and leave you feeling full.
#1 Use Protein to Your Advantage
It takes work for your body to digest protein, resulting in an increased rate of thermogenesis. This can help promote weight loss, since your body’s rate of thermogenesis dictates how many calories will be used in the day-to-day functioning of your body.
Protein also helps build muscle mass, which causes your body to use more calories throughout the day. In terms of your food intake, this means that you’ll want to ensure that any snack or meal contains some form of lean protein, like turkey or fish.
#2 Dig Into Dairy
While dairy has been a frequent target of diets, relegated to the “no” list due to its fat content, dairy may actually help to promote weight loss.
While the reasons for this are not entirely clear, researchers have noted that boosting calcium and vitamin D intake may be related, but it isn’t just the vitamins and minerals.
Specifically, researchers found that three servings of milk, cheese, and yogurt increased rates of weight loss more than vitamin and mineral supplements.
#3 Stick to Oatmeal and Quinoa
A 2008 study found that obese adults who ate a diet rich in whole grains lost significantly more abdominal fat than study participants who ate a diet with the same caloric content, but far fewer whole grains.
While the distinction is not as clear in adults who are not obese, whole grains nonetheless contain high amounts of fiber, which will leave you feeling full and less inclined to snack throughout the day.
Consider starting your day with a bowl of oatmeal, or trading out refined carbs for grains like quinoa when it comes time for dinner.
#4 Don’t Omit All Fats
In the creation of a fat-burning meal, you may assume that avoiding all additional fats is the way to go.
To the contrary, however, studies have found that the so-called “Mediterranean” diet, which contains significant amounts of healthy monounsaturated fats like olive oil, actually results in greater weight loss than low-fat diets.
Healthy fats are also necessary for the processing of nutrients, and can also lead to greater satiety.
#5 Boost Your Fiber Intake
Whether it comes from fruits, vegetables, or legumes, fiber is a key part of keeping your metabolism going. Like protein, fiber is difficult for your body to digest, leading to an increased metabolic rate after you eat it.
An added bonus: foods that are rich in fiber tend to keep you feeling fuller longer since they take your body a while to break down, so you’ll be less tempted to munch on unhealthy snacks.
What are your fat-burning meals made of?