Healthy Eating

5 Metabolism-Boosting Eating Habits

Plus simple metabolism-boosting snack and recipe ideas!

By: Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC

When it comes to achieving our fitness and weight loss goals, we all want a faster metabolism. But, what does this really mean? Your metabolism refers to the natural reactions that essentially keep your body alive and working. Under the metabolism umbrella falls the body’s ability to break down food and use the nutrients, including calories. A faster metabolism means that your body uses more calories at a state of rest, potentially meaning that you are able to manage a healthy weight, even when you are not exercising.

Our metabolism can be affected by many factors, including some that are completely out of our control, like our genetics. But among these factors that we are born with, there are others that we can control that can help boost our metabolism in a natural way. While things like sleep, stress management, and exercise are important factors, focusing on specific metabolism-boosting eating habits is a simple place to start! 

5 Metabolism-Boosting Eating Habits to Help You Reach Your Goals

#1 Include Protein In Your Meals

Protein is a MVP macronutrient for many reasons! It supports muscle growth, increases satiety, and speeds recovery, among other things. And when it comes to supporting weight loss and fitness goals, data suggests that it may require more calories to break down protein. This calorie-boosting effect is known as thermogenesis, and it’s been shown to help increase a person’s metabolism. 

From salmon to Greek yogurt to nuts, seeds, and tofu, there are plenty of protein-rich options to add to your diet. To help boost your metabolism, try adding a serving of protein to all your meals!

RELATED: 11 Delicious Sources of Plant-Based Protein to Add to Your Diet

#2 Eat More Spicy Foods

Kicking up the heat in your dishes may do more than make your food more exciting to eat. Of course, it adds flavor in a calorie-free way, but including spices like cumin, ginger, pepper, and chili has also been linked to an increased metabolic resting rate! 

Sprinkle spices into your stir fry, snack on peppers and hummus, marinate your favorite protein with a spicy sauce, or flavor your veggies with a DIY spicy season. 

Want to sip your spice? Try this Turmeric Ginger Detox Tea! It’s filled with ingredients like ginger, turmeric, and cayenne for a metabolism-boosting pick-me-up. 


  • 12 oz hot water
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp turmeric, finely grated
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Honey, to drizzle


Step #1: To make your tea, add all the ingredients to a mug with hot water minus the honey and stir to combine. Steep for 5 minutes and then strain.

Step #2: Sweeten with a drizzle of honey.

Step #3: Sip and enjoy.

#3 Sip On True Tea

Speaking of tea, true teas — which include green, white, oolong, and black teas — are jam-packed with antioxidants and plant compounds. And some evidence suggests that one plant compound found in green tea particularly, called catechins, may increase a person’s metabolism naturally. 

Want to support your metabolism in a simple way? Try swapping your coffee with matcha for a jitter-free energy boost!

And don’t forget — how you flavor your cup matters! Be mindful of adding sugar to avoid packing in excessive calories. If you want a bit of sweetness, opt for something natural like raw honey. 

#4 Enjoy Brazil Nuts And Other Selenium-Rich Foods

Selenium is a mineral that is found in foods like Brazil nuts, whole grains, and dairy foods. This nutrient plays many key roles in the body’s metabolism, including your body’s thyroid function. Not having enough selenium in your diet may result in your thyroid not producing enough hormones that impact metabolism. 

Sprinkle them on top of your salad, mix them into your trail mix, add a handful to your pesto,  or add them chopped to your smoothie or oatmeal bowl.

#5 Include Kale In Your Diet

Kale and other leafy greens are a natural source of iron in a low-calorie package. And since low iron status is linked to a slower metabolism, including these popular veggies in your diet can help you get the boost that your body needs.

Try making oven-baked kale chips, sneak a handful into your smoothie, or use kale or other dark-leafy greens as the base of your salad.

Need some recipe inspiration? Give this Simple & Healthy Lentil Kale Soup a try for a tasty metabolism boost.

Serves: 4


  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups Lacinato kale, chopped
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 2 garlic, minced
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


Step #1: Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook for 6-8 minutes until beginning to soften. Season with salt and pepper.

Step #2: Add the sweet potatoes, garlic, thyme, and rosemary. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes until fragrant.

Step #3: Add the vegetable broth. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer.

Step #4: Add the lentils and kale. Turn the heat down, so it continues simmering. Stir and cover. Cook for 25-30 minutes until lentils and potatoes are tender.

Healthy Eating Habits To Support a Healthy Metabolism

In addition to getting quality sleep and regular exercise, our dietary choices can play a role in our metabolism as well. While eating metabolism-boosting foods won’t guarantee a faster metabolism, including them in a balanced and healthy diet may help you see the results you want to see. So add some spice to your dishes, sip on some tea, and make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet. Your body will thank you for it!