These meals and snacks focus on protein and fiber to help keep you satisfied no matter what your health goals are.
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Not all abdominal fat is created equal. Some belly fat is necessary to provide protection and warmth. But too much visceral adipose tissue (VAT)—the fat that is deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your organs—can be problematic. In a 2020 review of the literature published in the journal Circulation Research, researchers pointed out that several large studies have shown that excess VAT can increase your chances of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

While genetics play a role in where people deposit fat on their bodies, there are lifestyle changes that will help reduce VAT and your potential risk for disease. These lifestyle factors include getting plenty of quality sleep, reducing your stress, engaging in physical activity, and including foods high in protein, fiber and healthy fats in your diet. One 2018 study published in the journal Circulation suggests that a diet high in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and fiber (for example, the Mediterranean diet combined with physical activity was more effective in reducing VAT compared to diet changes alone.

Protein is a necessary nutrient with many health benefits. As far as your belly goes, both protein and fiber help keep us full and satisfied. Fiber also promotes healthy gut bacteria and can reduce bloating by keeping things moving through your gut.

This plan includes at least 50 grams of protein and 30 grams of fiber each day. We set this plan at 1,200 calories a day with modifications to bump it up to 1,500 or 2,000 calories depending on your calorie needs and satiety levels.

High-Protein Good-for-Your-Belly Foods

In addition to eating more of the healthy belly foods research has shown can help you lose belly fat, like artichokes, green tea, avocado and chickpeas, these high-protein foods can help too.

  • Eggs: A quality protein source, eggs are a quick, easy and healthy choice that can help trim belly fat. According to the USDA, one large egg contains about 7 grams of protein. Feel free to eat the yolk—it contains most of the nutrients.
  • Fermented dairy: Because they contain probiotics, fermented dairy products, like yogurt and kefir, help keep our gut bacteria healthy. A healthy gut is linked to important health outcomes. According to a 2019 study published in the journal Nutrients, the gut microbiome influences the development of several disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and colorectal cancer. One cup of kefir provides about 10 grams of protein while a cup of Greek yogurt packs in about 20 grams of protein, per the USDA.
  • Legumes: High in both fiber and protein, beans and lentils are flat-belly powerhouses. Research shows that people who regularly eat chickpeas are 53% less likely to be obese. According to the USDA, a 1/2 cup serving of chickpeas has about 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber.
  • Nuts: All nuts are awesome, but peanuts seem to be particularly good for our blood sugars. For example, a 2019 study published in Current Developments in Nutrition found that people with elevated fasting glucose levels who ate about 1 ounce of peanuts as an evening snack had improved blood sugar levels in the morning. Maintaining healthy blood sugar control plays a role in keeping us from getting that "hangry" feeling. A 1/4-cup serving of peanuts provides about 9 grams of protein, per the USDA.
  • Fish and poultry: Fish, chicken and turkey are all healthy protein sources that can help keep us full. According to the USDA, a 3.5-ounce serving of cooked chicken packs in about 31 grams of protein.
  • Water: While there's no special detox drink for a flatter belly (our kidneys and liver take care of detoxing), aim to increase water intake to stay hydrated and reduce constipation. Looking for a tea that's going to trim your waistline? While initial research showed some promise regarding green tea and weight loss, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a resource of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), warns about placing too much emphasis on the claims about green tea and weight loss. There are plenty of other reasons, though, to include green tea on your menu, including reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, per the NIH. Try one of our green tea recipes.

7-Day High-Protein Meal Plan to Help You Lose Weight

Whether you follow all seven days, or simply choose a recipe or two to try out this week, these healthy meals are sure to satisfy.

How to Meal-Prep Your Week of Meals:

  1. Make the Chimichurri Noodle Bowls to have for lunch on Days 2 through 5.
  2. Prepare Sherry Dijon Vinaigrette to use on salads throughout the week.
  3. Assemble the Slow-Cooker Creamy Lentil Soup Freezer Pack and freeze.

Day 1

Salmon & Asparagus with Lemon-Garlic Butter Sauce

Breakfast (274 calories)

A.M. Snack (64 calories)

  • 1 cup raspberries

Lunch (366 calories)

P.M. Snack (131 calories)

  • 12 walnut halves

Dinner (374 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,208 calories, 90 g protein, 127 g carbohydrates, 30 g fiber, 42 g fat, 13 g saturated fat, 726 mg sodium

To make it 1,500 calories: Add 8 walnuts to A.M. snack and 2 Tbsp. almond butter with 2 (5-inch) celery sticks to P.M. snack.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 cup cooked oatmeal prepared with water to breakfast, add 1/2 cup walnuts to A.M. snack, and add 3 Tbsp. almond butter with 3 (5-inch) celery sticks to P.M. snack.

Day 2

Skillet Lemon Chicken & Potatoes with Kale

Breakfast (274 calories)

A.M. Snack (96 calories)

  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries

Lunch (377 calories)

P.M. Snack (97 calories)

  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup blackberries

Dinner (374 calories)

Meal-Prep Tip: Prepare 1 serving of Date & Pine Nut Overnight Oatmeal to have for breakfast tomorrow.

Daily Totals: 1,219 calories, 76 g protein, 141 g carbohydrates, 31 g fiber, 43 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 926 mg sodium

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

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 cup cooked oatmeal prepared with water to breakfast, add 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to A.M. snack, add 1 large pear to lunch, and add 1/4 cup chopped walnuts to P.M. snack.

Day 3

Slow-Cooker Creamy Lentil Soup Freezer Pack

Meal-Prep Tip: Place the Slow-Cooker Creamy Lentil Soup Freezer Pack in the slow cooker, add broth per recipe instructions and cook on Low for 8 hours so it's ready for dinner tonight.

Breakfast (281 calories)

A.M. Snack (51 calories)

  • 1 small peach

Lunch (377 calories)

P.M. Snack (88 calories)

  • 2/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Dinner (425 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,222 calories, 70 g protein, 143 g carbohydrates, 30 g fiber, 45 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 1,377 mg sodium

To make it 1,500 calories: Add 1/3 cup chopped walnuts to P.M. snack.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 slice whole-wheat bread and 1 1/2 Tbsp. almond butter to A.M. snack, add 1 large pear to lunch, add 1/3 cup chopped walnuts to P.M. snack, and add 1/2 avocado to dinner.

Day 4

Greek Cauliflower Rice Bowls with Grilled Chicken

Breakfast (287 calories)

A.M. Snack (95 calories)

  • 1 medium apple

Lunch (377 calories)

P.M. Snack (41 calories)

  • 2/3 cup blackberries

Dinner (411 calories)

Meal-Prep Tip: Prepare Date & Pine Nut Overnight Oatmeal to have for breakfast tomorrow. Tomorrow's dinner is the Slow-Cooker Vegan Chili, which you'll want to start in the morning so it's ready by dinnertime. If you'll be strapped for time tomorrow morning, prep the veggies you'll need for the recipe tonight so all you have to do is dump the ingredients in the slow cooker and turn it on in the morning.

Daily Totals: 1,211 calories, 69 g protein, 124 g carbohydrates, 30 g fiber, 55 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 1,091 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 2 Tbsp. almond butter to A.M. snack, add 1 large pear to lunch, and add 1 1/2 cups nonfat plain Greek yogurt and 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to P.M. snack.

Day 5

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Meal-Prep Tip: Cook the Slow-Cooker Vegan Chili on Low for 8 hours so it's ready in time for dinner tonight.

Breakfast (281 calories)

A.M. Snack (133 calories)

  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Lunch (377 calories)

P.M. Snack (14 calories)

  • 1/2 cup sliced bell pepper

Dinner (418 calories)

Meal-Prep Tip: Refrigerate 2 servings of the Slow-Cooker Vegan Chili to have for lunch on Days 6 and 7.

Daily Totals: 1,224 calories, 67 g protein, 136 g carbohydrates, 30 g fiber, 51 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 1,242 mg sodium

To make it 1,500 calories: Add 1/3 cup chopped walnuts to A.M. snack.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 2 Tbsp. unsalted dry-roasted almonds to breakfast, add 1/3 cup chopped walnuts to A.M. snack, add 1 large pear to lunch, add 1/4 cup guacamole to P.M. snack, and add 1/2 avocado to dinner.

Day 6

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Breakfast (287 calories)

A.M. Snack (84 calories)

  • 1 5-oz. container nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Lunch (314 calories)

P.M. Snack (16 calories)

  • 1 cup sliced cucumber
  • Pinch of salt & pepper

Dinner (511 calories)

Meal-Prep Tip: Prepare Date & Pine Nut Overnight Oatmeal to have for breakfast tomorrow.

Daily Totals: 1,212 calories, 69 g protein, 141 g carbohydrates, 34 g fiber, 46 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 1,424 mg sodium

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

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to A.M. snack, add 1 large pear to lunch, add 1/4 cup hummus to P.M. snack, and add 2 cups mixed greens with 1/2 avocado and 1 serving Sherry Dijon Vinaigrette to dinner.

Day 7

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Breakfast (281 calories)

A.M. Snack (100 calories)

  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Lunch (314 calories)

P.M. Snack (35 calories)

  • 1 clementine

Dinner (463 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,193 calories, 71 g protein, 142 g carbohydrates, 31 g fiber, 45 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 1,356 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 1/3 cup chopped walnuts and 1 large peach to A.M. snack, add 1 large pear to lunch, add 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to P.M. snack, and add 2 cups mixed greens and 1 serving Sherry Dijon Vinaigrette to dinner.