After the holidays, we’re all looking for ways to boost our metabolism and burn off extra fluff from the season of celebration and indulgence. Kicking up the intensity of your workouts at the fitness center will positively impact your metabolism, but so will paying attention to what you’re eating and drinking. Here are a few tips for progressively boosting your metabolism by the way you eat.

  1. Avoid starvation diets – they slow your metabolism.

 Eating fewer calories is a common weight-loss strategy, but cutting calories too severely can slow your metabolism by triggering the body’s starvation mode. When you finally return to your old eating habits, you’ll gain weight quickly and have an even harder time losing it again.

Break this cycle by ensuring you consume enough calories to keep your metabolism stoked, your energy levels high, and your fitness gym workouts empowered for results. You can start with tables and formulas and tweak your diet as you go, or consult a trainer or nutritionist for more precise help determining your caloric needs.

  1. Avoid nutrient-deficient foods.

 The type of food you eat is just as important as the calories it contains. “Empty” calories from processed foods will not give your metabolism the materials it needs to keep your body lean and healthy. Get most of your calories from whole foods – grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and lean protein.

  1. Get a morning rev: eat breakfast.

 Many studies support the fact that those who eat a hearty meal early in the day ward off weight gain more effectively than those who skip breakfast. Eating a combination of slow-burning fuel like complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats will keep you going stronger and help you avoid overeating later in the day.

  1. Consume (cold) water first thing in the morning and throughout the day.

 Water is also important to getting your metabolism fires burning in the morning as well as flushing out toxins and waste. Aim for 8 to 12 8-ounce glasses of water each day. If you can stand to drink cold water, you’ll burn a few more calories.

  1. Drink caffeinated coffee and green tea.

A moderate level of caffeine boosts your metabolism and nervous system (not to mention, it makes it easier to crawl out of bed for that 5 a.m. workout!). If you’re not a coffee drinker, green tea boasts a known fat-blasting substance known as ECGC.

  1. Eat calcium and iron-rich foods.

 Calcium in the foods you eat — not supplements — increases rate at which your bodies eliminates fats as waste, while iron carries vital oxygen and energy to muscle cells to keep you moving (and burning more calories).

  1. Eat protein at every meal.

 Our metabolisms use protein to build and maintain muscle cells, which in turn burn more calories than other types of cells. Consume roughly 30 grams of protein with each meal to ensure you’re getting enough of this vital building block.

  1. Eat spicy foods.

 Capsaicin is the magic fat-burning ingredient in spicy foods like chili peppers that not only sets your mouth on fire, but your metabolism. Even if you’re not a fan, adding a little bit of spice to your meals will go a long way.