13 Comfort Foods That Burn Fat
Rethink your comfort foods
Comfort foods don’t always need to be high in fat – in fact, there are a few foods that will help you burn it. Watch the video so that next time you curl up on the couch for some Netflix and snacks, you can do so guilt-free.
Cocoa is packed with antioxidants, which reduce your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that causes your body to cling to belly fat, says Tara Gidus, RD, a nutritionist based in Winter Park, Fla. In fact, one Cornell University study found that the concentration of antioxidants in hot chocolate is up to five times greater than it is in black tea. Hot chocolate's combination of carbs and protein can also help your muscles recover faster from a tough workout, according to research in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Adding a dash of cinnamon boosts your treat's health benefits even more—it contains compounds that keep insulin out of the blood stream and from storing fat, says Gidus.
Try this recipe: Mexican Hot Chocolate
A single serving of this hearty veggie adds up to a mere 46 calories. A serving also packs more than your daily-recommended doses of vitamins A and K, which can strengthen your immune system for a healthy metabolism, says Jonny Bowden, PhD, a nutritionist and the author of The 150 Healthiest Comfort Foods on Earth. Plus, a cup of collard greens contain 7.6 grams of belly-filling fiber. Research from the US Department of Agriculture shows that eating fiber-rich foods can lower your body's absorption of calories from carbs.
Try this recipe: Collard Salad with Roasted Tomatoes, Bacon, and Mushrooms
Chicken noodle soup
Your morning cup of coffee does way more than kickstart your day. Watch this video to learn about the health benefits of coffee, giving you even more reasons to find your joy in java.
The moment protein passes your lips, it starts fighting fat. Your body has to work harder to break down protein and use it for energy, which means you burn more calories as you digest it, Gidus says. It also takes more time to leave your stomach, literally keeping your belly fuller for longer. In one study published in the journal Nutrition Metabolism, dieters who increased their protein intake to 30% of their total diet ate about 450 fewer calories a day. Over 12 weeks, that equals 11 pounds lost—without doing anything else!
Try this recipe: Braised Roast with Root Vegetables
One cup of warm, gooey oatmeal contains 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein, a combination that slows the digestion of carbs, reduces your insulin response, and keeps you fuller for longer, says Batayneh. In fact, a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluated 38 common foods and found that oatmeal was the third most filling. When possible, opt for steel-cut oatmeal, which goes through less processing than other varieties and as a result has a lower Glycemic Index score, a measurement of how much a food increases your blood sugar.
Try this recipe: Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Salted Caramel Topping
As a side or mixed in with your favorite meats, the high water and fiber content in carrots fills you up fast. Roast them for a better calorie burn: University of Arkansas researchers found that carrots roasted at 104 degrees contain three times as many antioxidants as raw carrots.
Try this recipe: Roasted Baby Carrots with Fresh Thyme
Yes, small amounts of alcohol, including wine, are thought to be good for your health. But are you sabotaging yourself with a heavy-handed pour? It's all too easy, and common, to consume too much. Watch this video to find easy ways to stick with the recommended serving size of wine, every time.
Yes, this chili is perfect for fall, but you can also enjoy it year-round, thanks to canned pumpkin puree. Black beans deliver protein, and vegetables like carrots, red peppers, and tomatoes bump up the nutrients.
If soup is filling and protein builds muscle, then chili has all that and more. The combination of the fiber from the tomatoes and the protein from the beans and beef and prevents overeating. Plus, capsaicin, the compound that gives cayenne, chili peppers, and jalapeños their heat, can also torch fat, says weight-loss specialist and board-certified internist Sue Decotiis, MD. Spices trigger your sympathetic nervous system—which is responsible for both the fight-or-flight response and spice-induced sweating—to increase your daily calorie burn by about 50 calories, she says. That equals about 5 pounds lost over a single year.
Try this recipe: Chili from Scratch
Whether you call them garbanzos or chickpeas, a half-cup serving of these hearty legumes provides about 40% of your daily protein needs and 70% of your daily fiber intake, helping to stabilize blood sugar, control cravings, and prevent overeating, Gidus says. They're also a great source healthy unsaturated fats that can whittle your waistline. A 2009 study from the University of Newcastle in Australia found that participants who consumed the most unsaturated fats had lower body mass indexes and less belly fat than those who consumed the least.
Try this recipe: Cumin-Spiced Chickpeas
Spuds don't have a waist-friendly reputation, but they're actually full of nutrients, Gidus says. "White foods contain the disease-fighting chemical allicin," she says. "This chemical, also present in garlic, has been shown to fight inflammation in the body, contributing to smaller waistlines." Plus, research shows that calorie for calorie, white potatoes are more satisfying than any other tested food.
Try this recipe: Garlicky Roasted Potatoes with Herbs
Mashed sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes pack more than just flavor—they're also loaded with nutrients. In this video, discover five of the ways eating these sweet spuds can improve your health.