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20 Foods That Strip Belly Flab

A Stanford Med Certified Nutritionist shares the key foods that help reduce belly fat.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

Growing up in Ohio, my life revolved around sports. I was so serious about being "the female Michael Jordan" that I convinced my parents to build a half-basketball court in our backyard and turn our basement into a full-blown workout facility. Playing sports and working out year-round ultimately got me into learning about food and healthy ways of eating. That then turned into wanting to help others do the same, which is why I became a Stanford Medicine certified nutritionist and started my business, Stripped with Melissa. This turned into working with Body Network's sister site, Eat This, Not That! on their Medical Expert Board. Helping people with their nutrition is my greatest love and passion! Read on to discover the key foods that help reduce belly fat and learn proven tactics to kickstart your weight loss journey and stay on track.


Good Ol' H2O


Yes, water! Water is SO awesome for your entire body, especially when trying to burn belly fat or any fat. Not only does water fill you up without filling you out, but it keeps your body hydrated. A hydrated body allows for fat molecules to break down, helping you to burn off energy!




Not only is avocado one of my absolute favorite foods ever, but it's also full of omega-3 fatty acids which helps to reduce visceral fat. Visceral fat is also known as "toxic fat" stored for winter or any season deep within your body, especially within your belly. The more we can chop away at the visceral fat, the slimmer and healthier your belly and body become!

Related: I Lost 30 Pounds With These 4 Easy Exercises

3 & 4

Kale & Spinach


Numbers 3 & 4 go to the rockstars kale and spinach. Not only can you eat them raw or cook them up in so many ways, but dark leafy greens are low-calorie, little to no fat, and perfect for getting that belly lean and mean!

5 & 6

Eggs & Fish


Numbers 5 & 6 go to my other loves, eggs and fish! Protein-packed foods like these two all-stars increase your body's metabolic function, which gets your body working, resulting in less abdominal fat! Whole eggs are great, but just using the whites is very eggcellent with lower calories than eating the egg yolk as well.


Hot Sauce


Number 7 might be my all-time favorite ever… hot sauce! The hot part of your favorite spicy food comes from a compound called capsaicin. This has been shown to boost your metabolism, helping your body to burn more calories and fat. Hot sauce or salsa are also beneficial when used as a healthy, low-calorie ingredient or condiment instead of high-fat butter or margarine. When in doubt, hot sauce it out!

Related: This is the #1 Carb You Could Eat For Your Body




Beans beans, they're good for your heart, the more you eat them the more you… lose that weight! Yes, it's true, beans ARE the magical fruit! Low-fat and loaded with fiber, beans help to keep your body filling up without filling you out!




Cinnamon is SO fine that's why it's #9! Oh, how I LOVE cinnamon. Whether adding to your morning coffee or bowl of oatmeal, there are many benefits to using cinnamon. As with hot sauce or salsa, it has zero to no calories and is an amazing substitute for sugar. While sipping that cinnamon in your coffee, digestion is improved which lends to your metabolism kicking into gear and burning extra calories and fat!




Number 10 is NUTS! No, really, nuts like almonds are full of those amazing omega-3 fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals which help to keep you feeling fuller longer. They also contain amygdalin, a compound shown to help reduce belly and body fat overall. So enjoy. It's time to be nutty!




Nowadays, so many of us have an uneasy gut. Gut issues are a pain, literally, and absolutely no fun. The great news, there's a way to help and eating yogurt is one of them! Yogurt is an amazing source of probiotics helping to support the bacteria good for gut health. These probiotics assist you not only in feeling better in your gut but helping you lose that stubborn belly fat!

Related: The Best 20-Minute Full-Body Workout, by Selena Gomez's Trainer

12 & 13

Chicken & Turkey


#12 & lucky 13…Get your meat! Well, chicken and turkey! I cannot say enough about foods high in protein. But please do me a favor and sub out that red meat for the low-fat, and most importantly, healthy fat turkey and chicken!

14 & 15

Salmon and Tuna


Is that tasty chicken of the sea… salmon and tuna! Remember with those almonds and avocados, salmon is full of heart and belly healthy omega-3s which help to boost your metabolism and reduce that underneath visceral belly fat! Both are also high in protein helping you to feel fuller for a longer time.




An apple a day keeps the belly fat away! Apples are one of the highest-fiber fruits packing a huge healthy punch to that belly fat. Fiber slows digestion in your gut, helping you feel fuller longer. Although apple contain natural sugar, the high fiber actually slows down blood sugar absorbed as well! 




Oats baby! Grab those oats, add some cinnamon, and make a heart healthy, belly fat fighting meal! Oats are high in soluble fiber which, like with the fiber in those apples, slows digestion by the absorption of water AND blood sugar. Oats are oatastic so enjoy your cinnamon flavored oatmeal for breakfast!




Broccoli is so good for your body! Broccoli contains vitamin K which is amazing for fat metabolism. Broccoli also contains a compound called carotenoids that helps to get the fat burning going and help you lose that belly fat! 


Protein Shake


Shake shake, shake it off! And by shake, I mean grab a protein shake. Some of us don't get enough protein in the day, so having a protein shake is a quick and easy way to fuel up on that goodness your body needs. Along with all the amazing protein packed foods above, the protein in these shakes make you feel fuller longer while helping your muscles burn fat and get the recharge they need to keep burning, building and getting stronger! 


Green Tea


Want a drink?! Well look no further! Number 20 is one of my favorite go-to's Green Tea! Whether you're a hot tea or an iced tea lover, green tea contains not only caffeine, but a type of antioxidant called catechin. Catechin combined with the caffeine can speed up your metabolism, increasing the amount of energy used and helping to break down that stubborn excess belly fat. So, grab a glass or cup, add some cinnamon and say bye-bye to that weight!


Belly Flab Strip Tip: Sugar and Fat Calories Leave Its Mark on Your Body


You know that old saying "You are what you eat"? Well, I'm a very firm believer in it! Eating donuts every day doesn't mean you are going to turn into one however, all the calories, sugar and fat in those donuts will leave its mark on your body. A funny story about that little saying too…when first becoming a mom, I was big on making sure my baby had enough vegetables. When taking my boy to his one-year check-up, the doctor asked if I often fed him orange-colored vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash. I proudly responded, "Yes!" She then asked me to look at the bottom of his feet and pointed out the light color of orange they were. While she was very proud as his pediatrician, she said he's literally turning orange, so maybe don't have to feed him so many!

Related: Boost Your Ozempic Results With This Quick 10-Minute Workout


Belly Flab Strip Tip: Take It One Day at a Time



Please know when you're about to begin your weight loss journey, take it one day at a time and take small steps! Losing weight and getting healthy is a marathon, not a sprint. It's not about crazy fad diets that are impossible to sustain long term. Just as you would starting back to riding a bike or working out, slow and steady wins the race! Staying positive and taking everything, no matter how small you might think it may be, as a win is huge. We are always so busy with work, kids and taking care of everyone else, it's important to take care of yourself. The healthier and happier you are, both physically and mentally, the better you are for everyone else! 

Oh, how I love all the deliciously amazing foods that are great for your entire body, especially for your belly! There are so many to choose from, but these are some of my favorites!

Related: 8 Game-Changing Daily Habits for a Better Body


Belly Flab Strip Tip: Start Small

Melissa Pfeister

I'm a firm believer that small changes make a BIG difference. It's not about a complete 180 of your eating. Take one meal and start to make changes. Get comfortable with the new routine. Strive for being confident. As much as you are wanting a change physically, we must change your mental game and outlook as well. Don't forget to be proud of yourself. The more fun you have with it, the more success you will have in the long run. All these foods are amazing for your body and to burn belly fat, for best results though get moving and keep that exercise going. The more you move, the more your body is working and helping you on your successful belly-fat fighting, weight loss journey!

💪🔥Body Booster: Hot sauces boost your metabolism, helping your body to burn more calories and fat.

Melissa Pfeister, founder of the program Stripped with Melissa, is a Stanford Med Certified Nutritionist.

Melissa Pfeister, CN
Melissa Pfeister is a Stanford Med Certified Nutritionist and founder of the program Stripped with Melissa. Read more