With the delicious meals and snacks, you'll be able to enjoy the best flavors of fall in this healthy meal plan to lose belly fat.

Emily Lachtrupp, M.S., R.D., C.D.
Updated October 01, 2020
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Losing belly fat can help you feel less bloated and more comfortable in your skin, and beyond just that, there are a number of other benefits that may serve as extra motivation to stick to this delicious plan. Extra weight in our midsection, also called visceral fat, can become dangerous, as it's a type of fat that surrounds our vital organs and increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. But the good news is that there are certain foods and lifestyle habits that can help you lose belly fat and decrease your weight overall. The even better news is that this is a delicious and sustainable way to eat, meaning it's something you can stick with.

We set this plan at 1,200 calories per day to promote a healthy weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week, and added in modifications to bump it up to 1,500-and 2,000-calorie days, depending on your needs. Read on to learn more about this way of eating, and how we to put it all together into an easy-to follow meal plan. Whether you follow for the whole week, or just try a recipe or two, you'll see just how delicious it can be to lose belly fat, the healthy way.

What About This Plan Helps People Lose Belly Fat?

This diet emphasizes a balance with plenty of fresh produce, while incorporating foods that are shown to burn more fat from our midsection. Of course, there's no magic fix, but there are some foods-like avocado, chickpeas and artichokes that are shown to have some fat-burning benefits.

The diet also aims to improve our gut bacteria, which can help decrease bloat and thus help us to feel better, physically and mentally. To improve gut bacteria, incorporate plenty of probiotic foods like yogurt, kefir and kombucha, and make sure you're getting enough fiber: this plan provides at least 30 grams a day. Fiber not only improves our gut bacteria but also helps with both losing weight and maintaining weight loss over time. The fiber from foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Pump up your intake of these fiber-rich foods (like we did in this meal plan) to make sure you're getting enough each day.

Foods to Help Lose Belly Fat

Learn which foods to eat more of and which ones to skip to beat the bloat and reduce your waistline.

Foods to Increase:

  • Fiber-rich foods: All fiber is beneficial, but fiber from artichokes and chickpeas seem to be extra helpful in burning stubborn fat in your midsection.
  • Probiotic foods: Kefir, yogurt, kimchi and kombucha all contain healthy bacteria which help improve gut health and keep your weight in a healthy range.
  • Protein sources: Eating protein at each meal throughout the day (rather than overloading on protein foods at dinner) can help keep you full and aid in weight loss and weight maintenance. Try incorporating a healthy protein source, like eggs, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts and yogurt, at most meals.
  • Water: Drinking plenty of water helps keep your digestive tract moving and your body feeling good. Men need about 13 cups of water per day and women should aim for 9 cups per day.

Foods to Limit:

  • Carbonated drinks: Although seltzers and sparkling water won't add to the problem like soda and other high-calorie drinks, all carbonated beverages create more gas in your stomach, which can increase bloating.
  • Salt: Too much salt makes your body hold on to more water weight and can leave you feeling bloated. Skip processed foods, frozen dinners and fast foods, and aim to cook more meals at home to better control how much salt you're eating.
  • Sugar substitutes: Although they are calorie-free, artificial sweeteners are difficult to digest, which means more bloating and gas for many us.

How to Meal-Prep Your Week:

A little prep at the beginning of the week sets you up for success! Do these easy steps over the weekend to make your weekdays less hectic.

  1. Prepare 2 servings of Coconut Chai-Spiced Overnight Oats to have for breakfast on Days 2 and 3.
  2. Whip up the Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette with Shallots to have throughout the week.
  3. Cook the Slow-Cooker Vegan Chili to have for lunch on Days 2, 3, 4 and 5.
  4. Make Maple Granola to have throughout the week.

Day 1

Breakfast (315 calories)

A.M. Snack (101 calories)

  • 1 medium pear

Lunch (307 calories)

P.M. Snack (35 calories)

  • 1 clementine

Dinner (424 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,182 calories, 63 g protein, 163 g carbohydrates, 33 g fiber, 40 g fat, 1,278 mg sodium.

To make it 1,500 calories: Add a 5-oz. container of low-fat plain Greek yogurt to A.M. snack and add 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to P.M. snack.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 slice whole-wheat toast with 1 1/2 Tbsp. almond butter to breakfast, add a 5-oz. container of low-fat plain Greek yogurt to A.M. snack, increase to 2 servings of White Bean & Avocado Toast at lunch, and add 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to P.M. snack.

Day 2

Breakfast (263 calories)

A.M. Snack (95 calories)

  • 1 medium apple

Lunch (314 calories)

P.M. Snack (105 calories)

  • 8 walnut halves

Dinner (448 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,223 calories, 50 g protein, 159 g carbohydrates, 33 g fiber, 49 g fat, 1,519 mg sodium.

To make it 1,500 calories: Add 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to A.M. snack and increase to 15 walnut halves at P.M. snack.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 banana and 2 Tbsp. almond butter to breakfast, add 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to A.M. snack, add 1 serving Everything Bagel Avocado Toast to lunch, and increase to 15 walnut halves at P.M. snack.

Day 3

Breakfast (263 calories)

A.M. Snack (35 calories)

  • 1 clementine

Lunch (314 calories)

P.M. Snack (170 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt

Dinner (412 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,193 calories, 53 g protein, 136 g carbohydrates, 38 g fiber, 55 g fat, 1,390 mg sodium.

To make it 1,500 calories: Add 3 Tbsp. unsalted dry-roasted almonds to A.M. snack and add 1 serving Maple Granola to P.M. snack.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 banana and 2 Tbsp. almond butter to breakfast, add 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to A.M. snack, add 1 serving Everything Bagel Avocado Toast to lunch, and add 1 serving Maple Granola to P.M. snack.

Day 4

Breakfast (316 calories)

A.M. Snack (101 calories)

  • 1 medium pear

Lunch (314 calories)

P.M. Snack (35 calories)

  • 1 clementine

Dinner (443 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,209 calories, 65 g protein, 142 g carbohydrates, 31 g fiber, 48 g fat, 1,034 mg sodium.

To make it 1,500 calories: Add 3 chopped dried figs to yogurt at breakfast and add 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to P.M. snack.

To make it 2,000 calories: Increase to 2 servings of Maple Granola and add 1 slice whole-wheat toast with 1 1/2 Tbsp. almond butter to breakfast, add 1 serving Everything Bagel Avocado Toast to lunch, and add 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to P.M. snack.

Day 5

Breakfast (315 calories)

A.M. Snack (77 calories)

  • 1 small apple

Lunch (314 calories)

P.M. Snack (35 calories)

  • 1 clementine

Dinner (478 calories)

Meal-Prep Tip: Make the easy Black Bean-Smothered Sweet Potatoes to have for lunch on Days 6 and 7.

Daily Totals: 1,219 calories, 54 g protein, 166 g carbohydrates, 34 g fiber, 44 g fat, 1,405 mg sodium.

To make it 1,500 calories: Add 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to P.M. snack.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 slice whole-wheat toast with 1 1/2 Tbsp. almond butter at breakfast, add one 5-oz. container low-fat plain Greek yogurt to A.M. snack, add 1 serving Everything Bagel Avocado Toast to lunch, and add 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to P.M. snack.

Day 6

Breakfast (316 calories)

A.M. Snack (16 calories)

  • 1 cup sliced cucumber
  • Pinch of salt & pepper

Lunch (308 calories)

P.M. Snack (77 calories)

  • 1 small apple

Dinner (502 calories)

Meal-Prep Tips:

1. Prepare 1 serving Coconut Chai-Spiced Overnight Oats to have for breakfast tomorrow.

2. Soak chickpeas overnight and prepare ingredients for the Slow-Cooker Mediterranean Chicken & Chickpea Soup so you can put it in the slow-cooker tomorrow morning.

Daily Totals: 1,220 calories, 52 g protein, 139 g carbohydrates, 31 g fiber, 56 g fat, 1,450 mg sodium.

To make it 1,500 calories: Add 3 Tbsp. hummus to A.M. snack and add 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to P.M. snack.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 slice whole-wheat toast with 1 1/2 Tbsp. almond butter to breakfast, add 3 Tbsp. hummus to A.M. snack, add 2 cups mixed greens with 1 serving Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette with Shallots and 1/2 avocado to lunch, and add 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to P.M. snack.

Day 7

Meal-Prep Tip: In the morning, add the ingredients for the Slow-Cooker Mediterranean Chicken & Chickpea Soup to the slow cooker and set it to cook on Low for 8 hours so it's ready for dinner tonight.

Breakfast (263 calories)

A.M. Snack (77 calories)

  • 1 small apple

Lunch (308 calories)

P.M. Snack (93 calories)

  • 1 cup sliced cucumber
  • 3 Tbsp. hummus

Dinner (446 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,188 calories, 55 g protein, 165 g carbohydrates, 38 g fiber, 38 g fat, 1,598 mg sodium.

To make it 1,500 calories: Add 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds and 1 clementine to P.M. snack.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 slice whole-wheat toast with 1 1/2 Tbsp. almond butter to breakfast, add 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to A.M. snack, and add 2 cups mixed greens with 1 serving Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette with Shallots and 1/2 avocado and 1 pear to lunch.

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