At the beginning of the week, your diet is on track. You spent your Sunday preparing food for the week, you’re feeling fresh and ready-to-go. Then life happens, and you sleep through your alarm, your kid has to come home sick from school, or you have to stay late at the office thanks to a lazy coworker and a looming deadline. Suddenly, the meals you had planned take too long to prepare and you find yourself out of time and energy, staring at the fridge not knowing what to eat.
Convenience is the number one diet saboteur. Your good intentions give way and before you know it you’re ordering take-out or digging through your pantry for a bag of chips. Thankfully, there are plenty of foods that you can keep in your kitchen that can make easy meals and snacks when you’re in a pinch, and help kick your body into fat-burning mode in the process.
5 Keys for Burning Fat
Weight loss is not achieved through short-term solutions, but rather, permanent small and consistent diet and lifestyle changes. That doesn’t mean that you can’t still have cake on your birthday or go out for margaritas on the occasional Friday night — as long as those are once-in-a-while things and not a regular occurrence. Consistency (and the occasional glass of wine!) will help you achieve long-term, sustainable results.
Water is extremely important for all of your body’s processes, big and small. Water helps to regulate your body temperature, lubricate your joints, eliminate waste, transport nutrients, aid in kidney and digestive function, and suppress appetite. Most of us are chronically dehydrated, which makes us lethargic and often is mistaken for hunger. The next time you feel tired or hungry, instead of reaching for a sugary snack or coffee drink to refresh you, have a glass of water. Chances are, those little hunger pains will go away! (1)
Several studies have been done to show that people who eat higher protein and lower carbohydrate diets lose weight faster and keep it off long-term. Protein doesn’t spike your blood sugar and insulin levels, and it has greater satiety value than carbohydrates, which helps you feel fuller for longer and less likely to reach for an extra snack. (2, 3)
3. MUFAs and Healthy Fats
Mono-unsaturated fatty acids have been shown to improve nervous system function, heart rate, blood pressure, and vitamin absorption. More recent studies have also shown that MUFAs prevent central body fat distribution (the dangerous storage of body fat around your abdomen and internal organs). Other important healthy fats for weight loss are Omega-3 fatty acids (try this supplement), which aid liver and brain function. (4, 5)
Not only do they add flavor and help protect your body from cancer and other diseases, but spices also give your metabolism an extra boost, help to stabilize your blood sugar, and squash sweet cravings before they start. (6, 7)
Regular exercise is crucial to weight loss and weight management. Building muscle will help you burn more fat throughout your day, but it doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment or grueling sweat-sesh. Even just a few minutes each day, and incorporating more movement like walks on your lunch break, will get the job done. (8)
We get that even following these tips can still make losing weight and managing a busy schedule challenging. We’ve compiled a list of some easy-to-use fat burning foods that will give you a leg-up on weight loss without having to spend an hour at the gym.
11 Fat Burning Foods to Keep in Your Kitchen
1. Nuts and Nut Butters
Nuts are excellent sources of MUFAs and other good fats, and pack a little protein, too. A small handful can make a great snack, and nut butter can make a great dip for veggies and fruit. Try making your own nut butters, use nuts to make healthy chocolate pudding, or put it in a smoothie for an extra fat-burning punch! Some of our favorites include: Thrive Market Creamy Organic Almond Butter or Justin’s Hazelnut Butter.
Eggs have the perfect balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. What’s even better, is they cook in minutes and are perfect for adding in a big serving or two of your favourite veggies! Try this avocado egg salad or this fat-burning breakfast.
Studies show that eating half a grapefruit before your breakfast can help you lose weight faster. While the mechanism is still unknown the proof is evident. Try it as a juice or in this metabolism-boosting ceviche and make sure to check with your doctor first if you are on any medications (9, 10)
5. Canned Salmon
It’s fast, packed with Omega-3s and MUFAs, and can be used in place of mercury-containing tuna in pretty much everything. Always look for organic, wild-caught salmon. Follow those same rules if you are buying Tuna, and be sure to buy skipjack for the lowest levels of mercury. (12)Try these cucumber cups for a quick snack or even just toss it on top of a salad and go!
6. Frozen Fruit
7. Chia Seeds
These little seeds (and other super seeds) are fat-burning miracle workers! They’re full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats to boost your metabolism and keep you going all day long. Sprinkle them on yogurt, smoothies, salads, and soups, grind them up to thicken sauces, or try this chia seed pudding for an easy mid-week breakfast.
8. Frozen Vegetables
Frozen vegetables are a great substitute for fresh veggies when you’re on a time crunch, and often flash frozen veggies actually have a higher nutrient level then some produce that has been sitting on a shelf for too long (11). Stop skimping on your veggie intake and scramble them with eggs, toss them in a stir-fry, or blend them in a smoothie. Be sure to choose organic or freeze your own.
This super spice helps fight disease and unwanted weight gain! Try this lemon-ginger-avocado smoothie, or other fat-blasting spices to include are cinnamon, garlic, black pepper, cayenne pepper, turmeric, and parsley.
10. Greek Yogurt
Full of protein and healthy fats to keep you full for a long time, plain Greek yogurt is easy to add in as a snack or simple breakfast. Have it plain topped with frozen fruit, use in place of mayo or sour cream, and try this 5-minute healthy cheesecake,
12. Apple Cider Vinegar
Not only does consuming apple cider vinegar help regulate blood sugar levels, early research suggests that ACV can help your body suppress fat accumulation thanks to its acetic acid content. Try adding 1-2 teaspoons in your water before bed.
Losing weight doesn’t have to be complicated! Prepare as much as you can, and keep these fat burning foods in your kitchen at all times to burn through fat with every bite.