Cutting calories can be an exhausting chore. Spending longer hours in the gym grinding out cardio or pumping more and heavier weights are a couple of options. These measures often result in overtraining or burnout awfully fast. Why not start with some easier and more practical ways to torch those unwanted calories and fat. Here are a few suggestions:

Drink up before eating. Did you know that the body often confuses thirst for hunger? This makes it easy to down a few hundred calories with mindless eating when all you need is a glass of H2O! Keep a water bottle with you all day and stay hydrated. Also, have a glass of water or two before each meal to fill you up and keep your appetite under control.

Start your day off with whole fresh fruit. Instead of a glass of juice at breakfast, opt for a whole orange, apple, a few melon slices, or a cup of berries. Fruit juices contain a greater concentration of sugar and thus more calories than whole fruit without the healthy pulp and fiber. Instead of drinking an 8-ounce glass of orange juice for 122 calories, you can eat the whole fruit for just 69 calories and benefit from 3-5 grams of healthy fiber.

Try some creative swapping when preparing meals. Going vegan is commendable, but most guys need their meat. So instead of doing without, try cutting back a little and save some calories and fat. When making burgers, meatloaf or meat sauce, try replacing some of the ground beef with chopped veggies like mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, or eggplant. They have the same meaty texture and taste and contain a lot less calories than meat and no saturated fat. You can do the same with carbs. Try using a mix of half potatoes and rutabaga when you make mashed potatoes. Cauliflower makes a yummy substitute for rice. When boiling pasta, go for less noodles and toss some chopped vegetables into the water during the last few minutes of cooking.

Eat healthy, satisfying snacks. Making it from one meal to the next can be a struggle once you’re hungry. Instead of eating quick, handy junk, treat each snack like a mini-meal. Choose items that have a good balance of protein, unsaturated fat, and fiber rich carbohydrates. Go for hummus with chopped vegetables, apple slices with almond butter, or yogurt topped with a few nuts.

Stay active at work. It’s great when you can budget time for the gym, but sometimes this is impossible. The solution is to do things at work to burn more calories and stay fit. Walk to work if you can. Park farther away from your destination at work or when running errands. Take the stairs whenever you can. Take a brisk walk or do some push-ups and crunches during your break times.

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