Before you start reading, just know that sometimes in order to get my point across I have to use clickbait. While I know you were really looking forward to a list of 9 fat-burning foods that will get you ripped for summertime, this article is not that. However, if you follow the advice I have laid out for you here, you will be well on your way.
Bottom Line: There are no fat-burning foods. As a matter of fact, foods don’t burn fat at all. The only way to lose fat is to be in a negative energy balance, but I’ll get into that later.
With that being said, I am going to give you some foods that will make it much easier to stick to your calorie deficit and get lean.
All while staying full and satiated without having to heave in the tilapia and brown rice by the truck-load.
1. “Skinny Foods”
I don’t mean skinny pop…
I don’t mean skinny cow, although those are pretty tasty…
Skinny foods are simply foods that are lighter in weight, higher in volume.
In other words, let’s take 2 different foods:
- 388 calories for 100g
- 3.5g fiber
B.) Popcorn (Air popped)
- 300 calories for 100g
- 15g fiber
Now you may be thinking, “88 calories, big deal…”
But here’s the thing—think about how much room 100g of pretzels is going to take up in your stomach. Now think about how much room 100g of popcorn kernels is going to take up.
Not to mention the 15g of fiber that 100g of popcorn has is going to keep you full even longer and possibly benefit your digestive health.
Needless to say, popcorn is the clear winner when it comes to bang for your buck. However, pretzels may still be a better option to those stupid veggie straws (those are gross).
I say that to say this: do your research. It pays off in the long run to have a list of foods that are low calorie and high volume.
Bonus Tip: 90% of fresh fruits and vegetables are high in volume. You should eat them.
2. “Fatty Foods”
This guy, again with the clickbait??
“Fatty foods have more calories!!?”
True, but what your favorite IFBB pro gym bro is not mentioning is that dietary fat is satiating.
Let’s compare two foods again:
A.) Fat Free Greek Yogurt
- 53 calories for 100g
- 10g of protein
- 0g of fat
B.) 5% Greek Yogurt
- 95 calories for 100g
- 9g protein
- 5g fat
The fat free yogurt has half the amount of calories for the same amount of protein.
Does that mean it’s a better choice?
When it comes to fat loss, satiety is king. How long you can stay full for the least amount of calories is important, especially when those calories get lower and you get leaner. Fat loss becomes a grind. If you spend an extra 50 calories for that 5% and it keeps you full for an hour longer, it may be worth it to have that extra dietary fat and calories.
Ultimately, with the risk of sounding like a broken record here…
Do your own research. Be your own science experiment. Some people do better with higher dietary fat and lower carbs, while other feel more full with higher carbs and lower fats. Then there are others who fall right in the middle.
No matter which approach you use, it really doesn’t matter that much. The main thing that most dietary zealots can agree on, is to keep protein high.
Would you look at what’s next??
You guessed it…
3. Protons and Neutrons
All we hear from the lips of your favorite IG fitness influencer these days is protein protein protein….
It has become such a buzz word that people think it is a product.
Protein is not a product. Protein is a macronutrient. A damn fine macronutrient for fat loss at that 🙂
So does that mean you should be spending all of your hard-earned GameStop residuals on protein bars, protein shakes, and protein IV bags?
Ideally, if you are in a deficit, you should be getting most of your protein from real food.
When is it a good idea to take protein supplements?
Real food is going to keep you full much longer. 40 grams of protein from a chicken breast is going to take longer to chew, break down, and digest, than 2 scoops of whey.
It may be a good idea to include supplements if you find you are:
- very busy
- don’t enjoy eating large amounts of meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or plant proteins
- enjoy having a nice protein bar or shake to curb sugar cravings (I like protein ice cream :))
So how much protein do you need?
It’s pretty simple, and that is my goal—to give you the most useful information, in the simplest way possible.
Goal Bodyweight X 1 = Grams of protein
That way, whether you have 100 pounds to lose or only 20, you are still eating enough protein.
If you find it hard to hit those targets, try increasing your protein intake slowly over a month or two.
Many of my online coaching clients struggle at first to hit their protein goal, but eventually they find it easy, and usually find they are stuffed once they hit their target.
4. Free Foods
Have you ever looked at the label of a bottle of nonstick cooking spray?
It has zero calories.
Let’s think about this for a second…How can an oil have zero calories? It is literally the same thing as regular cooking oil, just with an additive to make it spray out of a can.
The reason this product can claim zero calories is because the FDA allows rounding down. If you look at the serving size it says 1/6 of a second spray. NOBODY sprays for 1/6 of a second. You probably spray realistically for 2-3 seconds, and that has calories.
Is this the free food I am talking about? No, I just thought it was worth mentioning because most people abuse the hell out of the zero calorie spray and should probably just use a 1/2 tsp of oil and track it 🙂
The free foods I am talking about are VEGGIES.
Non-starchy veggies to be exact.
Let’s say you fill up a bowl with 4 cups of spinach, 1 ounce of mushrooms, 1 ounce of broccoli, and 1 ounce of cabbage.
That is 47 calories, and around 4g of fiber.
These calories are so minimal, and come with tons of micronutrients and fiber to keep your body healthy and happy.
Here is my short list of free foods:
- Artichoke/ hearts
- Brussels sprouts
- Green beans
- Leafy greens e.g. collard, kale, mustard, turnip, bok choy, kohlrabi
- Snap peas
- Summer squash
- Spaghetti squash
- Water chestnuts
PS: This is not a comprehensive list, just a short one I threw together. There are 100s of other veggies not on this list so just use your best judgement here.
5. The Taco Cleanse
I am thinking about doing a taco cleanse where I eat nothing but tacos for 2 weeks just to prove that you can never get sick of them.
But seriously, include your favorite foods.
If you love tacos like myself, it’s totally fine to have them as much as you want, as long as you take care of the 4 pillars of good fat loss nutrition:
- Calorie Deficit
- 80/20 Approach
If all of those needs are met, you are good to fit in some pizza, pasta, cake, cookies, and most importantly…TACOS.
Tacos are great because there is so much variety, if you use corn tortillas, you are getting a really minimally processed carb source, protein, healthy fats, and usually some veggies thrown in there. I mean, it really is the ultimate package!
Include them on your ultimate diet plan for fat loss.
6. Liquid Foods
No, I don’t mean a big green smoothie with extra chia seeds, adaptogens, and shakeology packets you got from your friend Debbie on Fb who made it seem like they were the reason she is in the best shape of her life (we know it was because of a calorie deficit, not the protein powder with #superfoods)
I mean fluids.
If you are super hungry on your calorie deficit, struggling to get to your next meal, chugging down 24-32 ounces of water will definitely make you feel less hungry.
Alternative options: Sparkling water, diet soda, green tea.
The key here is to stay away from liquids that have unnecessary calories.
7. Convenient Foods
It’s a little unrealistic to plan out every meal, and we have all heard “failure to plan, is planning to fail.”
It’s true, but having a backup plan never hurts.
Having your goto staple meals at places like Chipotle or Subway may be helpful for times when you just don’t have time to meal prep or cook.
The calories are relatively easy to figure out on Myfitnesspal, and for the most part, relatively inexpensive.
Having some staple protein foods in the fridge is never a good idea:
- Rotisserie chicken
- Deli sliced turkey breast
- Frozen grilled steak strips
- Frozen salmon burgers
- Frozen turkey burgers
Throw some protein In the air fryer with some frozen veg and you’ve got a meal!
BTW, it never hurts to cook a bunch of rice for the week 🙂
8. Nature’s Candy
Fruit does not make you fat.
No matter how many times I will make this statement to you or anyone else, there are still nutrition “gurus” who claim that fruit is the reason most of the US population can’t see their feet.
No one ever got fat from eating fruit.
As a matter of fact, if the average American replaced their processed snacks with some fruit they would probably drop some serious weight.
Just for reference here, a pound of watermelon is only 138 calories. A pound of blueberries is only 261 calories.
9. Diet Hacks
Foods like “Anabolic French Toast”, protein ice cream, protein lava cake, protein waffles, protein pancakes, etc…can be a major game changer.
There’s a reason why I put them last on the list however, and that is because I would not make them your goto.
Most of your nutrition should come from Whole Foods, but if you are craving some ice cream and your calories just won’t allow it, foods like these may help you curb your cravings without breaking your calorie bank.
Okay, I hope this list was useful to you!
Let me know if you have any questions below!