Your favorite feel-good foods don’t have to pile on the pounds—some can help you lose weight. They’re called “comfort” foods for a reason—they bring back warm memories, tickle your taste buds, and soothe your soul. Though some comfort foods are deep-fried, covered in cheese, or packed with sugar, some can actually help you lose weight. Beat the battle of the bulge with the following cozy eats.
Cocoa is packed with antioxidants, which reduce your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that causes your body to cling to belly fat, says Tara Gidus, RD, a nutritionist based in Winter Park, Fla. In fact, one Cornell University study found that the concentration of antioxidants in hot chocolate is up to five times greater than it is in black tea. Hot chocolate’s combination of carbs and protein can also help your muscles recover faster from a tough workout, according to research in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Adding a dash of cinnamon boosts your treat’s health benefits even more—it contains compounds that keep insulin out of the blood stream and from storing fat, says Gidus.