9 Meals for Your Abs

Great abs start in the kitchen! Check out nine of our favorite clean recipes for your six-pack.
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Tuna Avocado Sandwich

Meals for your abs - tuna avocado sandwich

Your perfect power lunch! The Omega-3s in tuna and the healthy fats in avocado make this a winning combination; both have been linked to fat-loss.

Ready in 10 minutes • Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 5-oz cans water-packed white tuna
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup each carrots, celery, red onion, diced
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 slices whole-grain bread, cut in half

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, mash the avocado with a fork until partially smooth. Leave chunks of avocado for texture, if desired.
  2. Drain the tuna and mix in with the avocado.
  3. Add carrots, celery, onions, salt and pepper to mixture.
  4. Spoon half of the mixture onto the bread to make 2 half sandwiches. Serve.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 410, Total Fats: 17 g, Saturated Fat: 3 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 45 mg, Sodium: 620 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 24 g, Dietary Fiber: 10 g, Sugars: 4 g, Protein: 42 g, Iron: 4 mg

Fish Tacos with Zucchini-Radish Slaw


High in protein and low in fat, these fish tacos are abs-approved. Top them with red cabbage instead of green to fight inflammation and control cravings.

Meals for your abs - fish tacos

Ready in 20 minutes • Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

Fish Tacos

  • 6 oz white fish (halibut, cod, tilapia)
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 3 radishes
  • 1 small head of red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup corn, cooked and cooled

Dressing:

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 F. Set fish and tortillas aside. Shred the zucchini, radishes and cabbage with a food processor or hand grater.
  2. Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl. Divide in half into two separate bowls. Use one bowl to marinate the fish; coat both sides evenly. Toss the rest of the dressing with the shredded zucchini, radishes, cabbage and corn.
  3. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat. Drizzle some water on the skillet; when the water sizzles, place the fish in the skillet and cover with the marinade. Cook about 3 minutes. Flip the fish and cook 2 more minutes, or until the fish flakes when cut with a fork.
  4. While fish is cooking, place tortillas on a baking tray and bake for 3 minutes until crispy. You can also heat tortillas in a dry skillet to get the same effect. Divide the slaw amongst the tortillas and top with grilled fish. Serve.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 358, Total Fats: 10 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 27 mg, Sodium: 145 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 44 g, Dietary Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 11 g, Protein: 23 g, Iron: 2 mg

Seared Steak with Swiss Chard and Harissa

Meals for your abs - seared steak

The iron and B-12 in red meat will keep you energized! Red pepper, mint and rosemary add flavor, not calories, to this zesty harissa.

Ready in 20 minutes • Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

Steak

  • 4 oz extra-lean red meat
  • 1 bunch (200 g) Swiss chard
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/8 red onion, cut into thin slices

Harissa paste

  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp minced mint
  • 2 tsp minced rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cut meat crosswise on the bias into 2" long, thin slices (about 1/8" thick).
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine harissa paste ingredients. Place steak slices on a plate and smear with pepper paste. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Remove center ribs from the Swiss chard, chop ribs into small pieces and set aside in a bowl. Chop the chard leaves and set aside in another bowl. Chop romaine leaves and set aside in a separate bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, reheat brown rice in a sauce pan.
  5. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat. Add a few drops of water. Once the water starts to sizzle, add the chard ribs and onions. Saute until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the beef to the same skillet, sear for 3 minutes, then flip and sear for 2 more minutes. Remove beef, onions and Swiss chard ribs and set aside on a plate. Keep covered.
  6. Use the same skillet to sear the Swiss chard leaves for about 2 minutes. Divide the romaine lettuce between two plates. Top each plate with 1/2 cup of brown rice and half of the Swiss chard leaves. Add the beef, chard stems and onions. Serve.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 343, Total Fats: 11 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 51 mg, Sodium: 398 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 34 g, Dietary Fiber: 7 g, Sugars: 4 g, Protein: 27 g, Iron: 6 mg

Heirloom Tomato and White Bean Salad with Chicken

Meals for your abs - tomato and white bean salad with chicken

When you’re looking to shed fat, vegetables are your best weapon. For a few calories per serving, you can eat as much as you want and feel full without packing on the pounds. Replace high-calorie processed foods with fresh veggies and you’ll surely notice a change in your waistline!

Ingredients:

Heirloom Tomato and White Bean Salad with Herb-Marinated Chicken

  • 4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup Herb Marinade (see bonus recipe below)
  • 2 cups mesclun greens, rinsed
  • ½ cup navy beans, rinsed
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (stack leaves and cut into small ribbons)
  • 2 tbsp Herb Marinade, reserved for dressing
  • 1 heirloom tomato, coarsely diced

Herb Marinade 

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

Heirloom Tomato and White Bean Salad with Herb-Marinated Chicken

  1. Prepare marinade.
  2. Pound chicken with a mallet to flatten. Place in a small bowl. Cover with ¼ cup marinade, plus enough water to cover chicken completely. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.
  3. Heat a medium skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken and marinade to the skillet and cook until chicken is no longer pink inside, about 15 minutes.
  4. Place washed greens on a dinner plate. Top with beans.
  5. Remove chicken from skillet. Set on a cutting board and slice into thin strips. Place atop greens and beans. Sprinkle with basil leaves and reserved marinade.
  6. Place heirloom tomatoes around the plate. Serve.

Herb Marinade 

  1. Blend all ingredients in a blender. Pour into a mason jar to store. Use as a dressing or protein marinade. One serving equals two tablespoons.

This marinade is a great way to use up all of your herbs!

Nutrients per serving (about 3 cups): Calories: 386, Total Fats: 12 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 66 mg, Sodium: 535 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 35 g, Dietary Fiber: 10 g, Sugars: 7 g, Protein: 36 g, Iron: 5 mg

Ginger Salmon


This meal is quick, easy and full of fat-fighting Omega-3s. Parchment paper keeps the salmon moist and flavorful while cutting down on clean-up.

Meals for your abs - ginger salmon

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 1 red bell pepper, steamed, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup snow peas, halved
  • 4 4-oz salmon fillets, skin removed
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut four large pieces of parchment paper. Fold in half and then unfold and set aside.
  3. Combine cabbage, bell pepper and snow peas in a bowl. Divide them equally on the parchment paper squares.
  4. Place salmon fillets on top of vegetables.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, ginger, scallions, garlic, sesame oil and black pepper. Drizzle sauce over fish. Fold parchment edges to seal and place each closed package on a large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily. Serve.
  6. Bonus: This meal fights aging HOW? Salmon provides loads of omega-3 fatty acids. These polyunsaturated fats have recently been shown to help fend off age-related diseases and visible signs of aging by protecting chromosomes that affect life span from damage.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 230, Total Fats: 8 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 60 mg, Sodium: 660 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 10 g, Dietary Fiber: 4 g, Sugars: 5 g, Protein: 27 g, Iron: 1 mg

Black Bean Burger


Low in fat and high in protein, this vegetarian option is a lean and delicious alternative to try at your next summer barbecue.

Meals for your abs - black bean burger

Ready in 15 minutes • Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rinsed black beans
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 whole wheat bun
  • 1 tbsp salsa
  • Arugula, to garnish
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Instructions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, mash beans, flour, cumin, pepper and egg white together. Add carrots and press into a patty.
  2. Heat skillet over medium to high heat and coat lightly with cooking spray. Cook patty for 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Place arugula and patty on bun and top with salsa.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 370, Total Fats: 2g, Saturated Fat: 0g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 48mg, Sodium: 496mg, Total Carbohydrates: 69g, Dietary Fiber: 13g, Sugars: 4g, Protein: 18g, Iron: 6mg

Grilled Raspberry Salmon


After passing on hot dogs and grilling up this salmon, you'll look as amazing as you feel; this lean protein is rich in vitamins, minerals and high-performance fats that boost heart and brain health.

Meals for your abs - grilled raspberry salmon

Ready in 1 hour • Makes 4 servings

Tip: Less is more when it comes to marinating seafood. Usually, half an hour is enough time to add flavor to a delicate piece of fish. Less time is needed if you are using a strong acid, such as lemon juice, in the marinade.

Ingredients:

Salmon

  • Vegetable oil, as needed
  • 1 1/2 lb wild-caught salmon filet(s)

Marinade

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp raspberry vinegar
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tbsp low-sodium tamari or light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Prepare grill on medium-high heat. Oil slotted or vented grill pan.
  2. Rinse salmon and pat dry. Set aside in a small baking dish.
  3. Mix together marinade ingredients and pour over salmon. Cover and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
  4. Remove salmon from marinade. Rub the skin side with sea salt and place on grill pan skin side down. Spoon some of the marinade over the fish.
  5. Grill 7-10 minutes, or until just barely done.
  6. Remove from grill and let fish rest for 1-2 minutes to finish cooking. Garnish and serve.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 330, Total Fats: 18 g, Saturated Fat: 2.5 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 95 mg, Sodium: 840 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 6 g, Dietary Fiber: 0 g, Sugars: 5 g, Protein: 34 g, Iron: 7 mg

Apple Chicken over Spicy Lentils


Orange juice, apples, cinnamon and ginger make this Moroccan-inspired dish both sweet and savory. Protein-packed lentils and lean chicken breast get our abs stamp of approval.

Meals for your abs - apple chicken and lentils

Makes 1 Serving • Ready in 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 apple, chopped
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly spray a small dish with olive oil cooking spray.
  2. Mix orange juice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and chopped apple in a small bowl. Place chicken in baking dish and pour ingredients from bowl on top. Bake in oven. Turn over after 10 minutes. Cook for another 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. In another small bowl mix lentils, white pepper and cayenne pepper.
  4. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-to-high heat. Add in kale. Sautee kale until it starts to turn bright green. Add in lentils and cook for another one to two minutes.
  5. Plate skillet mixture and top with chicken. Garnish with avocado slices.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 485, Total Fats: 14 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 66 mg, Sodium: 448 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 57 g, Dietary Fiber: 14 g, Sugars: 21 g, Protein: 39 g, Iron: 6 mg

Curried Shrimp Kabobs

Meals for your abs - shrimp kabobs

Fire up the barbie! These shrimp kabobs make for lean and clean summer grilling.

Ready in 25 minutes • Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 24 jumbo cooked frozen shrimp
  • 1 tsp garlic (finely minced)
  • ¼ tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 16–20 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 large yellow onions, cut into large chunks
  • 8 large wooden skewers (soaked in water for 10 minutes)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat tabletop grill or outdoor grill.
  2. In a large bowl or large Ziploc bag, mix curry powder, turmeric, cumin, salt, pepper and garlic.
  3. Add shrimp and onions to spice mixture. Coat shrimp and onions thoroughly, being careful not to break up the onion chunks.
  4. Thread 3 shrimp onto each skewer, alternating with tomatoes and onions.
  5. Spray grill with non-stick cooking spray and cook until brown and onions are tender, about 8 minutes (flip halfway through if using outdoor grill). Optional: serve over brown rice.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 209, Total Fats: 2 g, Saturated Fat: 0 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 199 mg, Sodium: 411 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 23 g, Dietary Fiber: 7 g, Sugars: 14 g, Protein: 26 g, Iron: 6 mg

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