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6 Flat-Belly Vegan Meals

Blast Fat the Vegan Way!

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If you are looking to maintain a svelte frame, what you put into your body is equally as important as how you take care of your body on the physical level. Simply counting calories with no regard to quality does not lead to better fuel or a more efficient body. There are many ingredients that studies suggest may help you lose body fat, increase metabolism, and stay satisfied so you’re less likely to nibble between meals.

Try a few of my favorite delicious vegan recipes made from some of these beneficial ingredients. Just remember that portion control is key—too much of a good thing is still too much!

Apple-Cinnamon Oats

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Key Ingredients: Since cinnamon appears to keep blood sugar steady for healthy individuals as well as diabetics, it may prevent the typical post-meal sugar spike and subsequent crash that can lead to cravings. In a study in the journal Metabolism, people who ate a diet including almonds lost more body fat than those who didn’t eat the nuts.

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

1/2 apple, chopped

1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for baking apples

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 dash salt (optional)

1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted slivered almonds

1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place apple on a baking sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon as desired. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes until soft. Meanwhile in a small pot, bring almond milk to a boil. Stir in oats, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt, lowering heat to medium-low. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cut apple into bite-sized pieces. Once oats have reached desired consistency, stir in baked apples, almonds, and maple syrup.

Slow-Cooker Hearty Vegetable Chili

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Key Ingredients: Jalapenos contain capsaicin, which studies suggest may boost metabolism as well as decrease appetite, while beans provide resistant starch, a type of fiber that appears to increase short-term satiety and, according to animal studies, reduce body fat.

Serves: 2 to 4

Ingredients:

3 cups zucchini (green and golden)

1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (14 ounces) no-salt-added diced tomatoes

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced bell peppers

3/4 cup diced carrots

1 jalapeno pepper, minced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Peanut Butter Noodles

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Key Ingredients: Peanut butter is high in healthy monounsaturated fats. One study found that eating a MUFA-rich diet may help decrease belly fat more than a carb-heavy diet can. And new research out of Columbia University suggests that ginger may be able to reduce feelings of hunger and rev up metabolism.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon agave or sweetener of choice

2 tablespoons water

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon sriracha (or other red chili sauce)

4 ounces soba noodles

3/4 cup julienned cucumber

1 scallion, diced

1/4 cup peanuts, for garnish (optional)

1/2 scallion, diced, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Combine first nine ingredients (peanut butter through sriracha) to form a sauce, mixing well until thoroughly blended and smooth. Cook soba noodles according to package directions and cover in cold water as soon as removed from heat. Once cool (about 20 to 30 seconds), drain noodles and toss with sauce, scallions, and cucumber. Top with peanuts and additional scallions, if desired.

Lentil Bolognese

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Key Ingredients: The lentils alone provide about 11 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber per serving of this dish, meaning you’ll be too full to even think about dessert. And in a Korean study, garlic reduced body weight and fat in overweight mice.

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 package (7 ounces) pasta

3/4 cup vegetable broth

1/4 cup diced yellow onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cups chopped carrot

1 can (12 ounces) no-salt-added crushed organic tomatoes

1 can (14 ounces) organic lentils, rinsed and drained

8 basil leaves, torn

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile place 1/4 cup vegetable broth in a pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and carrot and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly and adding vegetable broth as needed so that nothing sticks or burns. Add tomatoes and mix well. Place mixture in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Place lentils in the pot used for veggies, add remaining vegetable broth, and stir. Add blended sauce and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Add basil and nutritional yeast, mix, and add to pasta. Mix and season with salt and pepper.

Moroccan Quinoa

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Key Ingredients: High-protein quinoa (the 1/4 cup in a serving of this dinner packs 6 grams) keeps you satisfied for hours, while chickpeas helped adults eat less processed foods and fewer calories overall in a study in the journal Appetite.

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

2 cups vegetable broth

1/4 medium onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1/2 cup dry quinoa

1/2 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup almonds

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Pour about 1/2 inch vegetable broth into a pot and continuing adding broth as needed while cooking vegetables. Add onion and saute for 3 to 5 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and sweet potato and saute for another 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in quinoa and stir to lightly toast. Add remaining vegetable broth, dried cranberries, and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes until potatoes are tender and all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in almonds, salt, pepper, and parsley.

Spiced Baked Apple withPeanut Butter

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Key Ingredients: In addition to the benefits of peanut butter and ginger, apples contain pectin, a fiber that may leave you more satiated after your snack.

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

1 apple, halved

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

2 tablespoons peanut butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle apple halves with cinnamon and ginger and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes until softened. Let cool for 1 minute and serve with peanut butter.