25 Best Fat Burning Foods for Women

Woman surrounded by groups of healthy fat burning foodsIt’s not magic, there really are foods that can help you slim down just by eating them. Below we’ve rounded up a list of the top 25 natural fat burning foods for women to include as part of a healthy, balanced diet to help you fill up, not out!

Some of the foods here literally melt belly fat while you chew, thanks to their thermogenic effect on the body, while others contain a potent blend of fat-fighting macro-nutreints, including protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates that satisfy your appetite and keep your metabolism in fat-burning mode 24/7.

First, here’s a short breakdown on the all-important macro-nutrients and vitamins found in the foods below, showing you how each helps you burn fat.

PROTEIN-POWER:

meatConsider this your go-to weapon to fight the fat. Protein is tougher to breakdown than carbohydrates or fat which means your body has to work extra hard to process it. All of this hard work burns energy (calories), which boosts your metabolic rate.

This ‘hard work’ also means protein takes longer to leave the stomach, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Getting enough protein is also essential to fuel your muscles in-between workouts to help cellular repair and recovery.

COMPLEX (and simple) CARBOHYDRATES:

breadCarbohydrates are you body’s primary fuel source. There are two types: Simple & complex. The ‘trick’ to losing weight is to keep your blood-sugar levels stable throughout the day (i.e. minimal peaks and troughs).

Simple carbs, like sweets and pastries, are more readily converted into glucose which raises blood sugar quickly. Complex carbs take longer to be broken down, helping keep blood sugar levels stable, leaving you feeling full, happy and satisfied.

FIGHTING-FIT FIBER:

appleEssential for healthy digestion, fiber-rich foods can also help you slim down as they tend to be filling and low in fat. There are two types. Soluble fiber, which forms a gel-like substance that slows digestion, promotes nutrient uptake and helps lower cholesterol absorption. Insoluble fiber (‘roughage’) is what’s commonly known to promote regularity.

HEART-HEALTHY FATS:

fishIf you don’t want to be fat, don’t eat it, right? Actually, fat intake plays a very important role in losing it. Without it, we can’t absorb nutrients like Vitamins D, E, K and A. It’s also a key player in giving skin that glow of good health.

Plus, good ‘heart-healthy’ fats (like mono and poly unsaturated and Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids) you find in avocado, and nuts/seeds have been linked to improved brain health and reduced cholesterol levels.

BONE-BUILDING CALCIUM:

calciumIn addition to helping build strong, healthy bones to prevent the onset of osteoporosis, low-fat dairy foods, like milk, cheese & leafy green veggies can help keep you stay trim by signalling your body to absorb less fat. Plus calcium can also help regulate blood pressure and help with PMS.

NATURAL SUGARS (FRUCTOSE):

sugarsYou might be thinking, how is sugar going to help me burn fat? Well, foods naturally high in sugar are sweet. This means fruit and other natural sweet treats can satisfy your sweet tooth for a fraction of the calories you would normally get from something worse – think donuts & choccy bars!

AWESOME ANTIOXIDANT’S:

antioxidantsWhile not a specific fat-fighting compound, antioxidant’s can help you feel good on the inside. And when you feel good on the inside, it shows on the outside.

Antioxidant’s help to neutralize free-radicals created by stress, alcohol and by-products of the body. These disease fighting factors help make antioxidant’s potent ‘buffers’ against the toxicity of modern day living.

Finally, there are the essential vitamins and minerals which we need for everyday health. These include folate, iron, zinc, selenium, niacin, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium, the B-Vitamins group and Vitamins A, C, D and E.

THE TOP 25 LIST:

Without further ado, here’s 25 of the best foods to include as part of your diet to turn your body into a fat burning machine! Top-tip: Print out the list below and stick it up on your fridge at home for easy reference and take it with you during your weekly grocery dash.

Foods to Burn Your Excess Fat

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1. FRESH/FROZEN BERRIES: Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, Goji berries – the list goes on. With almost nil carbohydrates and calories, grab a handful as a quick snack, add them to low-fat yoghurt, desserts, salads or blend them up in a smoothie. Out of season? Look for the frozen variety.

YOU GET: Fiber, Antioxidant’s, Natural sugar & Essential vitamins & minerals

orange12) CITRUS FRUITS: Oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruits, kiwi fruits and tangerines are some of the best picks. The high acidity in these fruits slows down the digestion of whatever you eat them with, keeping you fuller for longer. Add to salad dressings, use in meat or seafood marinades, or squeeze into a glass of water to have with dinner. You can also use oranges, grapefruits and kiwi’s for healthy snack/breakfast options. Grapefruits with a small sprinkle of sugar – delicious!

YOU GET: Fiber, Antioxidant’s, Natural sugar & Essential vitamins & minerals

3) OATMEAL: Go for the plain, unsweetened variety. ‘Quick-oats’ and steel-cut are great choices. Make yourself a bowl in the morning, add some chopped nuts, strawberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg and you’ve got a waistline-friendly breakfast in under 5 minutes. You can also add oats to smoothies for extra energy and to keep hunger under control.

YOU GET: Fiber, Complex carbohydrates & Essential vitamins & minerals

4) FRESH FISH: Salmon, tuna, sardines, herring and mackerel are your best choices when you’re yearning for a fatty meal like fish and chips – just leave out the chips. Because these are all types ‘fatty’ fish, it will scratch that itch while topping up your body with omega-3′s. Enjoy them once or twice a week with vegetables or salad for lunch or dinner. Use the tinned varieties for healthy sandwiches and wholemeal wraps.

YOU GET: Protein, Healthy fats, Antioxidant’s & Essential vitamins & minerals

5) LEAN RED MEAT: Beef, lamb and pork and kangaroo are the best. Buy the leanest cuts and trim visible fat. Red meat is also an excellent source of iron, essential fatty acids, folate and B12. Don’t overcook red meat to keep amino acids (protein) intact. Keep leftovers in the fridge and use for sandwiches or add with salad for a quick and easy meal.

YOU GET: Protein, Healthy fats & Essential vitamins & minerals

6) CHICKEN & TURKEY: Both chock-full of fat-fighting protein, these staples make great additions to any rice, pasta or salad dish. To slim down fast, switch wings and drumsticks and opt for leaner breast meat. To save extra calories, be sure to remove the skin – it contains high levels of saturated fat. Keep the meat moist and spicy by marinating it in olive oil, chilli, lemon grass and ginger before grilling.

YOU GET: Protein, Essential vitamins & minerals

7) SWEET POTATO: Sweet potatoes are bursting with flavor, so you don’t need as much of the toppings, like butter, sour cream, coleslaw or baked beans, that you might with a regular, white potato. The result? You cutback on calories without sacrificing the flavor. Plus they help you stay full, thinks to their high fiber content.

YOU GET: Fiber, Complex carbohydrates & Essential vitamins & minerals

8) CINNAMON: The active ingredient in cinnamon makes fat cells significantly more responsive to insulin, upping your metabolism by 20 percent. It can also help stabilize blood-sugar levels. Add to smoothies, yoghurt, sprinkle on oatmeal or stir into your coffee for added sweetness without the calories.

YOU GET: Antioxidant’s, Essential vitamins & minerals & Natural sweetness

9) CAYENNE PEPPER: Scientists have found that cayenne pepper increases the rate at which you metabolize dietary fats by 15-20 percent for three hours after eating. Plus, it lowers your appetite between meals. Hot stuff!

YOU GET: Antioxidant’s & Essential vitamins & minerals

10) MUSTARD: A mere half teaspoon boosts your calorie burn by 20-25% almost instantly, according to scientists at Oxford Brookes University. So order that fillet steak guilt-free – just swap the Bearnaise sauce and chips for mustard.

YOU GET: Antioxidant’s & Essential vitamins & minerals

11) TOMATOES: Sweet and delicious! Tomatoes are great way to give quantity to a meal so you feel full and satisfied afterwards. They’re fat free and full of vitamins and antioxidant’s, so pile them on for a hearty pasta, curry or salad. Having a bowl of cherry tomatoes on hand around the house is a great idea when you’re feeling peckish.

YOU GET: Antioxidant’s & Essential vitamins & minerals & Natural sugar

12) WATER: OK, it’s technically a food but getting enough H20 every day aids in digestion and can boost your metabolism by up to 30%. Keeping it cold – below 5 degrees – optimizes this effect, as your body burns extra energy warming it up before it can be absorbed. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and drink pre-emptively to stay topped up.

YOU GET: Essential vitamins & minerals (Potassium, Fluoride, Chloride etc)

13) GINGER: Research has found this flavorsome root contains acids that stimulate gastric enzymes that can boost your metabolism by 20%. Ginger has also been found to lower cholesterol and thin your blood.

YOU GET: Antioxidant’s & Essential vitamins & minerals

eggs14) EGGS: According to research, there’s no better way to start the day than with eggs. Thanks to their high-quality protein, eggs help you stay full for longer compared to other refined breakfast options like bagels. They’re also a fast and inexpensive dinner option. Omelet, frittata’s or a vegetable sandwich topped with hard-boiled egg slices are all great options.

YOU GET: Protein & Essential vitamins & minerals

15) WHEY PROTEIN: This supplement, which you can pick up online or at your local health food store, is a cheap, easy and effective way to boost your protein intake. There are two types: ‘Isolate’ and ‘concentrate’. See which is right for you below.

‘Concentrate’ provides a more complete protein with a slightly higher carbohydrate content (around 5%) which is great for every day use, while isolate is more rapidly absorbed which makes it great to take straight after exercise. Add the powder to smoothies with fruit and ice – yum!

YOU GET: High quality Protein-concentrate

16) WHOLE-GRAIN CRACKERS: Making the switch from traditional plain flour crackers to wholegrain rye crackers will keep you fuller for longer and help shrink your belly. Use them for a quick and easy snack or pack them for lunch. Keep them fresh and dry until you’re ready to eat, then top them up with lean meats, avocado, cucumber slices and other tasty foods mentioned here.

YOU GET: Complex carbohydrates, fiber, & Essential vitamins & minerals

watermelon17) WATERMELON: Nothing beats a sweet and succulent piece of watermelon on a hot day. The best part is that they’re virtually calorie-free, with each slice containing 70% water. Plus, they’re loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients.

YOU GET: Antioxidant’s & Essential vitamins & minerals

18) COTTAGE CHEESE: Just make sure you go for the low-fat variety. Cottage cheese is an excellent source of naturally occurring high-quality protein and is ideal for spreading on rye crackers with salad and lean meats.

YOU GET: Protein & Calcium (reduced by 30-50% through curding process)

19) NUTS: Nuts are fantastic for weight loss. Plus, they’re great for lowering cholesterol when eaten in moderation. Keep a small bowl in the kitchen or living room and grab a handful when you’re feeling peckish between meals. See the best nuts for health and weight loss for more information.

YOU GET: Protein, Calcium (Almonds), Fiber & Healthy fats

20) BEANS, PEAS & LEGUMES: Peas, beans and legumes are full of protein and fiber, which will either fill you up or give you wind – or both – depending on your constitution. Combine them with brown rice, barley, wheat and corn and add them to lasagne, casseroles, soups, salads or mash the up as a dip for extra protein and added nutrients, minus the fat.

YOU GET: Protein, Fiber, & Essential vitamins & minerals

popcorn121) POPCORN: A great weight loss snack, but most supermarket bags are loaded with calories, preservatives, sodium and even trans fats. So make your own instead. Add 1/4 of popcorn kernels to a microwavable bag, along with a few teaspoons of olive oil and your favorite herbs & spices (chilli/curry powder, thyme, rosemary & oregano all work well). Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes.

YOU GET: Antioxidant’s! Popcorn is rich in poly-phenol

22) WHOLE GRAINS: Quinoa, barley, buckwheat, brown rice and wholemeal pasta, bread and cereal are nutritional all-stars. Like protein, whole grains force your body to work hard during the breakdown process, which can burn up to twice as many calories compared to their processed ‘refined’ counterparts. For a quick and healthy meal, add in some lean protein sources, nuts and vegetables.

YOU GET: Complex carbohydrates, Fiber, Calcium & Essential vitamins & minerals

dairy23) MILK, GREEK YOGHURT & CHEESE: When picking these up at the supermarket, go for the fat-free or low-fat options. You’ll get all of the protein and calcium + Vitamin D, with less kilojoules. Not only have these foods been shown to assist in losing abdominal fat, they help to preserve and build lean muscle mass—essential for keeping your fat-burning metabolism firing on all cylinders.

YOU GET: Protein, Calcium, Natural sugar & Essential vitamins & minerals

24) APPLES & PEARS: Thanks again to their high fiber and water content, these are two of the best fruits for weight loss. Stick to the ‘whole fruit’ options and don’t be tempted by the dried varieties – they are more nutritionally dense and don’t provide the same visual appeal of satiety. To bump up your protein, add a smearing of natural peanut butter to your apple slices.

YOU GET: Fiber, Complex carbohydrates & Essential vitamins & minerals

25) SPINACH & RAW VEGETABLES: As far as healthy snacking for weight loss goes, you simply can’t beat the benefits of raw vegetables. With virtually no calories – thanks largely to their high water content – a few carrot sticks can satisfy your desire to crunch without ruining your waistline.

Celery, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, carrots and bell peppers are all great choices. If you find them a little bland on their own, whip up your own low-calorie dip! Salsa, hummus or guacamole anyone?

YOU GET: Fiber, Antioxidant’s, Complex (and simple) carbohydrates & Essential vitamins and minerals

That’s all folks! If you enjoyed the list and found it helpful, share it!

10 Tasty Fat Burning Snack Foods

If you checked out our big list of fat burning foods, but are stuck for a few snack ideas, we've got you covered. Here's 10 super simple and tasty fat burning snacks you can whip up in a pinch to keep your metabolism ticking over and your appetite under control. These are perfect between-meals,  when you're on the go or at work.

1. Peanut butter fruit toast - Toast 1 (35g) slice of fruit bread and spread with 1tsp of natural peanut butter.

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