Sometimes getting lean can be a downright drag. We fall into comfortable, known recipes that get the job done, often at the expense of taste and general happiness. But it doesn’t have to be that way. What you may not realize is that some foods can not only diversify your get-lean palate but also actively work to boost metabolism, increase caloric expenditure and positively affect waist-trimming hormones. Here are our favorite seven foods that you should be eating to get peeled.
Instead of sipping on gallons of hot liquid, maximize your intake of green tea by reaching for matcha. This finely ground powder, which is made from green-tea leaves, is 10 times more potent than brewed green tea with more than 135 times the metabolism-boosting substance epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG. Add matcha powder to smoothies, oatmeal or salad dressings, or even infuse it into steamed fish and vegetables.
Here’s yet another reason to enjoy this spicy red sauce. The main ingredient of this popular condiment is chili peppers, which are rich in capsaicin, a phytochemical that fights inflammation and may also temporarily boost metabolism. Slather it on eggs, add to marinades or combine with lemon juice and Greek yogurt for a high-protein dipping sauce.
Choose heart-healthy unsaturated fats over artery-clogging saturated ones and reap the metabolic benefits. Monounsaturated fats like the ones found in avocados have been linked to an increased resting metabolic rate. Add guac to sandwiches or use as a replacement for salad dressing. Avocados also can be blended to create creamy shakes, dips and soups.
This aromatic spice helps keep blood sugar levels stable to ensure you’re using fat appropriately, but don’t settle for only eating a small sprinkle on oatmeal. Find consistent ways to maintain your intake of cinnamon by adding it to coffee, postworkout shakes, yogurt, chili and spice rubs for grilled meats.
5. Chia Seeds
These tiny powerhouse seeds are packed with muscle-building protein, digestion-slowing fiber and joint-repairing omega-3 essential fatty acids. Don’t let the name fool you; these types of fats help promote lean body mass, circulation, brain function and skin health. Add chia to shakes, muffins, pancakes and oatmeal.
6. Cottage Cheese
Grab some cottage cheese to boost your intake of branched-chain amino acids and help maintain muscle mass. Cottage cheese is one of the best sources of protein around with a whopping 26 grams per cup. Top with fruit or salsa, or incorporate into recipes for pancakes, muffins and dips.
7. Chicken Breast
Lean protein options like chicken help keep you fuller longer, and digesting them actually requires more energy (read: burns more calories). Referred to as the thermogenic effect of food, this also holds true for other cuts of lean beef and poultry. If you’re bored of plain, grilled chicken fajitas, try roasting boneless, skinless breasts at 400 degrees with olive oil, salt and pepper; cool, chill and slice thinly as a healthier alternative to cold cuts.
For a treasure trove of recipes with these ingredients, visit danawhitenutrition.com.