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22 Meals to Melt Belly Fat in 2022

New year, new you? Make your diet changes stick with these healthy recipes!
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The pandemic has changed our lifestyle drastically. Suddenly, working from home has us moving significantly less than we previously did. Ordering takeout is easier than ever, and being at home has us conveniently reaching for a snack any time we get the slightest craving.

While spot-reducing belly fat is not exactly possible, eating fewer calories than you burn translates to overall weight loss—including your belly. Eating for weight loss is very specific and requires a few essential components.

  • Protein: Important for feeling full, preserving muscle mass, and improving our metabolism, protein is key at each meal while trying to lose weight.
  • Fiber: High fiber carbs, vegetables, and fruits are invaluable during a weight loss diet in order to feel both full and satisfied. Focusing on about a cup of carbs at each meal is a good place to start for most.
  • Volume: When you have to eat a little less, it's helpful to add more to your plate to feel less deprived. Fruits and veggies are a great "add" to the diet to increase total volume of food without extreme restrictions. Focus on half your plate coming from veggies at one main meal to get started.
  • A calorie-conscious mindset: You don't have to start counting every calorie to lose weight. However, it helps to be conscious of the high-calorie foods in your diet, and begin making swaps. Trade out the creamy dressings for lighter sauces, switch high-fat meats for leaner cuts, and swap dessert for a lighter option.

A new year is a fresh start. A chance for you to set new goals, change your lifestyle, and adapt to the new normal in a peri-pandemic world. Rest assured, we've got you covered with 22 delicious and weight loss-friendly meals. Then, for even more healthy meal inspiration, check out our list of these 100 Easiest Recipes You Can Make.

Black Bean Omelet

Black bean omelet
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This high-protein, fiber-packed breakfast is sure to satisfy and keep you full for hours. The soluble fiber from black beans can help lower cholesterol, keep you regular, and increase satiety to start your day.

Get our recipe for Black Bean Omelet.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Salsa

Pork tenderloin with grilled pineapple salsa
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Sweet and savory, this meal checks all the boxes. Pork tenderloin is super lean, making it perfect for your new year weight loss goals.

Get our recipe for Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Salsa.

Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Salsa Verde

Grilled mahi mahi with salsa verde
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Looking to add some variety into your dinner schedule? Fish is a great addition to your plate for low-fat, low-calorie protein options and endless ways to season it! Start with our super easy salsa verde recipe.

Get our recipe for Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Salsa Verde.

Healthier Grilled Caesar Salad

Low-calorie grilled caesar salad
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Caesar salad can be heavy if ordered out. Luckily, we've lightened up this fan-favorite with a homemade option. Top it off with grilled chicken to feel full longer—you'll thank us later!

Get our recipe for Healthier Grilled Caesar Salad.

Hearty Turkey Chili

Serious gluten-free chili
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Turkey is significantly leaner than beef, and you won't even be able to tell the difference once it's seasoned in this hearty chili. The high protein and fiber combo here will keep you full for hours!

Get our recipe for Hearty Turkey Chili.

Moroccan-Inspired Quinoa Pilaf and Salmon

Paleo moroccan salmon with quinoa
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This flavorful dish is packed with fiber, heart-healthy fats, and protein—a winning combination for weight loss that doesn't leave you feeling deprived.

Get our recipe for Moroccan-Inspired Quinoa Pilaf and Salmon.

Baked Chicken with Tomatoes and Capers

Paleo chicken with tomato, olives, and capers
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This Mediterranean-themed chicken dish is super satisfying if you've run out of fun ways to incorporate chicken into your week. Pair it with a starchy carb like brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, or potatoes for a balanced dinner.

Get our recipe for Baked Chicken with Tomatoes and Capers.

Teriyaki Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples

Paleo teriyaki pork chop with apple
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Liven up your lean protein options with this delicious combo of sweet and savory. Pork is known as "the other white meat" for its leanness—making it a great addition to your weekly rotation for weight loss!

Get our recipe for Teriyaki Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples.

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

low-calorie tortilla soup
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Soup is a great way to sneak plenty of veggies and broth into your diet—two foods that help you stay more full and increase the volume without added calories!

Get our recipe for Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Chicken Cacciatore

Healthy chicken cacciatore
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

The tomatoes and chicken broth come together in this dish to make a creamy, lightened-up sauce! Serve this dish on a bed of brown rice or whole-wheat pasta, and you have a super-filling balanced meal.

Get our recipe for Chicken Cacciatore.

Chicken Mole Enchiladas

Low-calorie chicken mole enchiladas
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Instead of sour cream, we use mole and chicken broth in this traditional Spanish favorite. No compromising on flavor here! Choose a whole-grain tortilla for added fiber to keep you feeling full longer.

Get our recipe for Chicken Mole Enchiladas.

Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala

Healthy chicken tikka masala
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

The creamy, spicy sauce here is made with Greek yogurt instead of a full-fat cream. We've lightened this recipe up without compromising on the taste or texture.

Get our recipe for Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala.

Greek Salad Recipe with Chicken

Healthy greek salad
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This classic combo never gets old. If you're bored with salads, this recipe might be your saving grace. The chicken, feta, and olives help keep you full longer, so don't skip the toppings.

Get our recipe for Greek Salad Recipe with Chicken.

Spanish Garlic Shrimp

Healthy spanish garlic shrimp
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Shake up your weeknight with a seafood recipe. This Spanish Garlic Shrimp is zesty and flavorful and pairs well with cajun sides, veggies, and rice, or on top of a whole grain pasta option.

Get our recipe for Spanish Garlic Shrimp.

Pumpkin Mole Chili

pumpkin mole chili bowls with spoons
Blaine Moats

This recipe is a little festive, but don't knock it until you try it. The creamy pumpkin balances out the earthy notes of cocoa to deliver a super savory punch to the taste buds. Plus, the lean beef and beans make this one a protein-packed meal!

Get our recipe for Pumpkin Mole Chili.

Paleo Turkey Bolognese with Garlic Spaghetti Squash

Paleo turkey bolognese
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Trade your traditional noodles for spaghetti squash here to get a high fiber, low carb meal that tastes amazing and will keep you full for hours.

Get our recipe for Paleo Turkey Bolognese with Garlic Spaghetti Squash.

Butternut Squash Hash

bowl of butternut squash hash with celery
Posie Brien/Eat This, Not That!

This less-starchy breakfast hash is lightened up from traditional potatoes. The seasonings and sausage round out this savory breakfast to keep you satisfied longer.

Get our recipe for Butternut Squash Hash.

Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Soup

two bowls of instant pot chicken and rice soup with bread
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

This spin on chicken noodle soup will make you feel extra cozy this winter. The milk and broth come together to create a creaminess that is unmatched with significantly less calories than traditional creamy soups.

Get our recipe for Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Soup.

Overnight Chia Pudding

overnight chia pudding bowl with chia seeds on a marble counter
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

A couple of tablespoons of chia seeds go a long way—literally! Chia seeds expand in liquid, so soaking these overnight really increases the volume. Customize your own with toppings that satisfy: nuts, fruit, granola, or honey all work well here.

Get our recipe for Overnight Chia Pudding.

Minestrone Soup with Pesto

Healthy minestrone with pesto
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This heart-healthy option will keep you feeling full from the added fiber. Bonus—there's a healthy dose of fat from the pesto to add more flavor and increase the satisfaction factor here.

Get our recipe for Minestrone Soup with Pesto.

Breakfast Hash with Sweet Potato and Chicken Sausage

Breakfast hash with sweet potato and chicken sausage
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

We love a hot breakfast hash in the morning, and this sweet potato-chicken sausage combo does not disappoint. In fact, we think it's even better the next day as leftovers!

Get our recipe for Breakfast Hash with Sweet Potato and Chicken Sausage.

Spicy-Sweet Grilled Chicken Pineapple Sandwich

Paleo grilled chicken pineapple sandwich
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

A little sweet and a little spice here delivers the best of both worlds. This sandwich is super balanced with lean protein and high fiber carbs if you use a whole wheat bun!

Get our recipe for Spicy-Sweet Grilled Chicken Pineapple Sandwich.

3.2/5 (19 Reviews)
Caroline Thomason, RDN, RD, LDN, CDCES
Caroline is a women's health Registered Dietitian and diabetes educator based in Northern Virginia. Read more about Caroline