Let's be real: Belly fat is the hardest area on the body to target. Certain foods and habits cause bloating, and it's natural to store body fat in the abdominal region, so fighting it can be a struggle. However, what you're putting on your plate is key to trimming down.
While you can't spot-reduce fat in a specific area like your stomach, certain foods can lead to weight gain while others can help you lose weight. For starters, protein and fiber are two key nutrients that help you shed fat.
"There have been studies showing that the amount and quality of protein consumed was inversely related to fat in the belly," says Maggie Michalczyk, RD. "Getting enough fiber (25 to 38 grams a day) is also linked to reduced weight gain because when you eat a high-fiber meal, you feel fuller and are less likely to eat more or snack later."
Eating more healthfully and losing belly fat can not only help you take control of your weight but your health, too. "Belly fat is actually strongly linked to diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, so beyond how it looks, it's important to keep it under control for your wellbeing," she adds. All of these recipes below pack satiating protein and fiber and take just 10 minutes or less to whip up.
1. Stuffed Avocado
These colorful, stuffed avocados are not only satiating, but they are loaded with fat-burning qualities, too. "Among the vitamins and minerals packed in avocados, they also contain fiber, which is digested together with protein-filled tuna," says Bonnie Balk, RD for Maple Holistics.
"This combination allows for proper digestion, regulates blood glucose levels and allows you to feel full longer," she says. Yet, although avocados have fiber, they also contain healthy fat, so be sure to stick to the appropriate serving size, which is about a third of a medium avocado, she says.
Get the Stuffed Avocado recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Southwestern Egg Scramble
For a filling, protein-packed breakfast, this scramble should be your go-to when you wake up. "Full of high-fiber ingredients and loaded with protein from the beans and eggs, you're bound to feel satiated and energized," says Balk.
"The beans also help reduce inflammation in your digestive system, as they are loaded with soluble fiber, which is linked to less belly fat," she adds. Plus, this recipe doesn't have any added sugars.
Get the Southwestern Egg Scramble recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Roasted Chicken Lettuce Wrap
Ditch refined-carb tortilla wraps and go for a lettuce wrap, which has a high water content to fight the bloat. "This protein and veggie-packed dinner can be helpful for losing belly fat, as it contains no added sugars," says Balk. "The fiber from the cucumbers, peppers and lettuce will contribute to your feeling of fullness while the roasted chicken breast will add protein," she says.
And with no extra sauces or dressings, these gluten-free wraps are flavored with Dijon mustard and a bit of cheese, allowing them to be low in sodium and fat.
Get the Roasted Chicken Lettuce Wrap recipe and nutrition info here.
Read more: How to Bake a Plain Chicken Breast
4. Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast
"Protein and fat are a belly-fat-burning combo and this recipe is a perfect combination of both," says Michalczyk. "This meal is super simple to make and will keep you full from the healthy fat, protein and fiber," she says. Plus, you get omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to fighting inflammation and belly fat in particular, she says, thanks to the salmon. Feel free to top with some fresh herbs, too.
Get the Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast recipe and nutrition info here.
5. Chef's Tofu Salad
"Beans and tofu are two great sources of plant-based protein, which help fill you up and make meals more satisfying. And this is especially good news for people who don't eat meat but want to ensure they're getting enough protein," says Michalcyzk.
"This salad also contains fiber from the different veggies," she adds, and you can also play around with other veggies for different flavor and color combos. Try throwing in some sweet potato, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms and beets. This recipe is super simple to make for easy meals, as it takes just 5 minutes!
Get the Chef's Tofu Salad recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Simple Walnut Soy Yogurt
Add some nuts to your protein-packed yogurt for a morning meal or quick snack in the day when the munchies hit. "This is a great belly-fat-burning snack because yogurt is a solid source of protein and walnuts add some fiber and healthy fat for more staying power," says Michalczyk.
"This combination will keep you fuller for longer and you'll be less likely to grab a sub-par sugary snack, which could contribute to belly fat," she explains. Bonus: Walnuts pack in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats.
Get the Simple Walnut Soy Yogurt recipe and nutrition info here.
7. Crunchy Tuna and Feta Salad
A great, easy salad for lunch or a light dinner, this tuna and feta mix is refreshing yet nutrient-dense to satisfy your hunger. "Tuna is a no-fuss, inexpensive source of protein to keep in your pantry," says Michalczyk. "And this combo checks all the boxes for a belly-fat-burning meal that will keep you full and satisfied."
Get the Crunchy Tuna and Feta Salad recipe and nutrition info here.