If soup is filling and protein builds muscle, then chili has all that and more. The combination of the fiber from the tomatoes and the protein from the beans and beef and prevents overeating. Plus, capsaicin, the compound that gives cayenne, chili peppers, and jalapeños their heat, can also torch fat, says weight-loss specialist and board-certified internist Sue Decotiis, MD. Spices trigger your sympathetic nervous system—which is responsible for both the fight-or-flight response and spice-induced sweating—to increase your daily calorie burn by about 50 calories, she says. That equals about 5 pounds lost over a single year.
Whether you call them garbanzos or chickpeas, a half-cup serving of these hearty legumes provides about 40% of your daily protein needs and 70% of your daily fiber intake, helping to stabilize blood sugar, control cravings, and prevent overeating, Gidus says. They’re also a great source healthy unsaturated fats that can whittle your waistline. A 2009 study from the University of Newcastle in Australia found that participants who consumed the most unsaturated fats had lower body mass indexes and less belly fat than those who consumed the least.