Whether it’s a spring trip to Vegas or upcoming anniversary, February is a time many men look to trim the waistline a bit. Finding yourself in the gym more frequently is a good start, but you’ll also need to examine your diet. Look, you know you should “eat right”, but coming off of months of holiday parties, disciplined consumption can be tough. Many of us have basically been training our bodies to live on foods a little too sweet and a bit too fatty. We’re craving sugar cookies just conversing about winter treats. That is no reason to abandon any resolutions, though. We’ve put together a list of tasty substitutions that will help calm (read:trick) your stomach’s junk food growl in a satisfyingly healthy manner.

Ice Cream 

Of all the traditional deserts in the world, ice cream is certainly not the worst for your body. It does have health redeeming qualities, like being a source of calcium and protein. The unfortunate tag-a-long is saturated fat. When jonesin’ for two scoops, treat your mouth to a different dairy delight, frozen yogurt. We are not referring to the softserve cousin of ice cream. Rather, we are suggesting placing a popsicle stick into a cup of yogurt, and freezing it. After a day, remove the yogurt from the freezer, break away the plastic cup and enjoy. Your brain will barely register a difference, but the calorie deficit, and lack of saturated fat, will be noticed on your gut.

Another weapon against freezer fat is the surprisingly delicious frozen grape. Keep a tupperware bowl filled with a bunch of these hydrated raisins in the cold, and pop a few any time you crave an icy, sugary treat. Obviously, grapes are fat-free, and now when you reach into the freezer, you’ll pull out fruit, not cream. Pace yourself, though. A handful will help battle cravings, but eating the entire bowl at once will boost your calorie count beyond the benefit.

French Fries/Potatoes

Few things are better than enjoying a basket of fries with a beer and the game. Of course, fries are full of fat and salt and carbs and blah, blah, blah. You know that, it’s what makes the taters so darn tasty. Too many baskets though, will not get you a scoring record, if you get what were saying. When your mouth is watering for something crispy and salty, give in to it, in the form of lightly salted veggies. We’re not saying you should only serve carrot sticks and celery on Super Bowl Sunday; your friends will not forgive. However, we are trying to ween ourselves of foods that force us to keep on our shirts. So, in the near future, consider the substitution, no matter different it might appear. Your mind might be fooled (read:satisfied) enough not to notice.

Additionally, an apple slice topped with cheese will make for a satiating switch. The crunch of the apple and fat of cheese provide the texture and flavor your body is telling you acquire. Both subs will save carbs, calories and unwanted fats.

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Hamburger 

As the days slowly get longer, the urge to grill grows in all men. Tossing some beef on the ‘que is as simple as it satisfying. Don’t worry, we are not about to suggest you ditch the grill, just the meat you cook on it. When you crave that grilled, fatty, meat flavor, consider a fresh piece of salmon instead of beef. “The Powerfood Nutrtition Plan,” mentions amongst its fat-loss essentials the importance of fish. Studies show that common between men who have successfully altered their weight is a diet high in fish.

Heat your grill to medium-high, then pepper the salmon and brush lightly with some olive oil before placing it on the heat. When the fish begins to flake, it is ready to eat. Consider grilling some veggies or chopping up the salmon and tossing it in a salad. Now you have a large, filling meal, full of flavor and heart-healthy fats, minus the carbs/calories of a bun and the bad fat overlord from the burger

Candy 

Whether it is M&Ms, Skittles, Hershey Kisses or something more exotic, these little treats are so small, yet so delicious. That flavor, of course, comes with a price, in the form of coma-inducing sugar. If you find yourself reaching into the candy jar a bit too frequently at the office, or mindlessly finishing off bag after bag in front of the TV, you may need to find another source to get your sugar fix. The candy is probably providing your body with more calories than you realize, and it is also sending signals to your hormones that can actually cause you to store more fat and burn it less efficiently.

Consider going for some natural sweets. If you need a quick snack, keep some unsweetened dried fruit at your desk and in the home. When the sugar crave hits, a handful of dried blueberries and strawberries may even prove more satisfying than fruit flavored corn syrup. Careful, though, even a cup of dried fruit can pack a lot of calories, so watch your intake amount. If you need more of a meal, but got to have the sugar as well, consider a smoothie. Frozen berries and other fruits are economical to keep in the freezer and make smoothie preparation quick and easy. Mix your favorite fruits with a little milk, juice or water, toss in a scoop of protein and blend. The drink will be delicious, satisfy your craving and the protein will help you feel full, something your typical candy can not accomplish.

You don’t need to alter your lifestyle wildly to fight back the bulge. As you begin ponder switching from jeans to swim trunks, don’t neglect the food switch in the kitchen. Your body will thank you.

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