Trying to burn fat isn't always the most straightforward process. Dieting can help you drop weight, but you can't stop eating and hope for the best. That approach can even have your body's survival instincts kicking in, preventing you from losing pounds. If you cut back on the number of calories you want, picking out the right foods is essential.

Rather than just deciding which foods you're going to say goodbye to, you need to pick which foods you'll be eating. Thankfully, various foods can help with your weight loss ambitions by giving your body many essential nutrients and enough calories to take care of itself. As you prepare your menu, make sure these seven fat burning foods are on it.

Chicken and Turkey

Chicken and Turkey

As you change your lifestyle habits with the goal of losing weight in mind, you'll likely start to see results on the scale. Sometimes, though, the numbers don't seem to match up to match up with the areas where you were hoping to see weight loss. That's mostly because our bodies don't only shed fat as they lose weight, but also muscle.


Exercise can be an essential step in maintaining muscle and shedding fat, and proteins help keep your muscles powered.

Chicken, turkey, and other types of lean meats provide an excellent source of protein, allowing you to maintain your muscle and shed fat instead. Proteins are also very filling, which can help curb your appetite while dieting.

While all proteins can be great dieting foods, the ones from animals also include tryptophan, which helps the body produce serotonin—a neurotransmitter that helps stabilize your mood. With lowered levels of stress, you decrease the risks of stress-induced eating.

Yogurt, Milk, and Cheese

Dairy can also be an effective fat-burner when eaten in the right amounts. Milk, yogurts, and cheeses contain high levels of calcium. Aside from strengthening your bones, calcium can inhibit the production of a vitamin that encourages fat cells to grow. And with less growth, you're not fighting against replenishing fat and can drop weight much more effectively.

Like chicken and turkey, dairy products contain animal proteins, adding another element to your diet that can keep your muscles in good shape.

If you decide to pick out a serving of yogurt, you're also getting probiotics that can support your gut and immune system. Good digestive health can be a surprising ally when trying to lose weight, once again discouraging stress eating.

Depending on what type of diet you're planning, you may decide to work with low-fat dairy products, but you don't have to. Yes, standard varieties of milk and the rest do have more calories, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. The extra fat in these products can even help your body absorb nutrients better, such as vitamins A and D. Just don't get carried away and head for the ice cream!

Fatty Fish

Fish in the market

While eating anything with "fatty" in the name may seem counterintuitive to losing weight, remember that not all fats are equal in the body. Fish, in particular, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can help with losing weight. Omega-3s help with dropping the level of cortisol in the body, which is a stress hormone that contributes to fat storage in the body. Once more, fish also have high levels of quality proteins.

Omega-3 fats have additional benefits aside from helping you shed weight. Omega-3s can help reduce inflammation, a process that can help heal the body but can also cause damage if the inflammatory systems overreact. You can even count on omega-3s to boost your heart health, decreasing the risk of conditions like heart disease.

While eating fish, in general, can be helpful, fatty fish are the best source of omega-3s. Some options you can add to your menu include:

  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Herring
  • Mackerel

Any other fish rich in omega-3s can also add a little variety to your diet.

Fruits

Fruits in a heart shape bowls

Adding fruit to your diet gives you a delicious yet effective way to help burn fat. Fruits help increase your body's metabolism, which in turn boosts the rate at which you process foods.

With a higher metabolism, you give your body a chance to burn off fat and more quickly process nutrients from what you eat.

And nutrients and minerals are plentiful in fruits. Depending on which fruits you pick out for your menu, you can consume potassium, vitamin A, folic acids, fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, and more. Each of these nutrients benefits the body in its unique way, potentially helping with muscle gain and healthy functioning of the body.

If you want to focus your fat-busting efforts, you may want to emphasize citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit in your diet. The citric acids in these fruits help facilitate the fat burning process, thanks to how these nutrients interact with the rest of the body.  Berries are also an excellent option because they have high amounts of fiber and antioxidants to support your immune system.

Nuts and Nut Butters

Peanut and nut butters

Back on the string of fat burning foods that provide you with proteins, we come to nuts and nut butter. You can also count on these foods to have fiber and healthy fats included.

Not only will you feel full after eating, but this combination of nutrients is a great way to stay energized throughout the day.  

Nuts can help you lose weight by increasing your body's sensitivity to insulin and boosting your metabolism. Some nuts, like walnuts, even have a small amount of an omega-3 acid, ALA, while almonds contain calcium. With so many health benefits outside of merely losing weight, you'd be remiss to skip out on nuts.

The key with nuts, however, is not to eat them in excess. Nuts in all forms are calorie dense, and small portions are more than enough for most people—think a quarter cup of whole nuts or a few tablespoons of nut butter. You don't need much more than that to reap the benefits of these foods.

Oats and Grains

Cereal food

Oats and grains are a must-have on a fat burning diet, even if you're trying to cut back on carbs. Carbohydrates can be good for you, so long as you're eating the right kinds.

After all, eating whole grains keeps you full, preventing overeating. And because complex carbohydrates provide fuel for your body and boost your metabolism, you'll feel energized as you lose weight.

The important thing is to focus on those whole grains, like barley, bulgur, brown rice, buckwheat, and quinoa. These are the best source of the essential nutrients you need to fuel your body. Without them, your body can't fully recover and repair from the usual wear of the day or the strain of exercise.

If you're eating processed forms of grains, check all packages to confirm that the product is 100 percent whole wheat grains. One of the best grains for you is barley, which helps your blood sugar raise slowly, rather than spiking then making your energy levels crash after a meal. Whatever grains you choose, though, there's plenty of variety to slip into your meals.

Eggs

Eggs, tomatoes, and ham

Whole eggs have a whole slew of health benefits for people who eat them. They're high in protein, protect your heart health, and help burn fat.  

They also contain choline and DHA when marked on the label, which both contribute to brain health and providing an anti-inflammatory effect on your immune system, respectively.

After eating eggs, you can expect your metabolic rate to increase, contributing to weight loss. Eggs also help by being an incredibly filling food, reducing how much you may eat throughout the day. For that reason alone, an egg-based breakfast will last for several hours, setting a good precedent for the rest of the day. The nutrient leucine in eggs can help your body maintain muscle mass.

Egg yolks on their own do have a high cholesterol content, but whole eggs can still improve your health. Three eggs can serve as a sizable portion to bring you benefits when eaten several times throughout the week.

Best Ways to Burn Fat

A person with bigger pants on lose weight

To effectively burn fat, your diet can be an essential component. When you eat several foods that boost your metabolism and help maintain muscle mass, you'll be in a better position to lose weight and improve your health. These and other foods are the perfect choices for building a menu that's both effective and enjoyable to eat, rather than blindly cutting out calories.

While your diet alone can have a positive impact on your body, you don't want to stop there. Real weight loss happens by combining several aspects of a healthy lifestyle. As you add these fat burning foods into your diet, also try these best practices.


Strength Training

workout

Almost any type of exercise can help with weight loss, but some are better at burning fat than others. Strength training is one of the most effective, and it can help reduce amounts of visceral fat, which can surround organs in the stomach. Another great case for strength training is that it enables you to build and maintain muscle so that you can lose fat instead.

Strength training can also help with boosting your resting metabolism, meaning that your body will go through more calories when you're not physically active. When paired with cardio, strength training can be much more useful than aerobic exercises on their own.


Avoid Eating Trans Fats

While our list of best foods to eat when burning fat is all about adding the right things to your diet, there are still some foods you should avoid. Trans fats happen by pumping hydrogen into unsaturated fats—and they're rather plentiful in many packaged foods we eat today. While common, they can have some negative impacts on your health.

Trans fats can lead to stomach fat gain, as well as inflammation, insulin resistance, and heart disease. None of these are things you want, even if you're not trying to lose weight, so read over ingredient labels to keep trans fats out of your diet. Some packages will list them as partially hydrogenated fats, so stay alert.


Maintain a Healthy Sleep Cycle

We need sleep to help stay energized and alert, but that's not all. Getting enough sleep can drastically assist when it comes to losing weight. One contributing factor is that, without enough sleep, your body will alter the production of hunger hormones so that you have a higher appetite. While this will mean you'll have more calories to operate on, eating more isn't your friend when burning fat.

While everyone needs a different amount of sleep, resting for less than five hours a night brings a higher risk of gaining weight. No matter if you need to avoid caffeine in the afternoons, go to bed earlier, or sleep a little later, getting at least seven hours of sleep per night will help you burn fat.


Cut Back on Alcohol

liquor

The idea of a beer belly exists for a reason; heavy drinking can increase the risk of maintaining stomach fat. Generally, high levels of alcohol consumption lead to this risk, rather than regular but minimal drinks. Not to mention that binge drinking can have other harmful effects on your health, even with its potentially small health benefits.

Of course, the impact of a drink on your weight will depend on what type of alcohol it is; for example, a serving of wine has fewer calories or carbohydrates than a standard serving of beer. Regardless, drinking won't do much to help with your weight loss ambitions. Consider abstaining from alcohol or at least only consuming it in moderation to help burn fat.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to losing weight, it can be a challenge to make the appropriate lifestyle changes. However, it is possible if you have a little know-how and determination. Start by building a menu for yourself around our top fat burning foods and try some of the other tips. With those in mind, you'll be on the right path to improving your health. These rest is up to you.