The latest evidence now reports that its better to avoid snacking to give your body a rest from eating in between meals so it can reset. So now the old advice of 3 meals + 2 snacks is losing favour.
If you get hungry in between meals and find yourself craving sweet & salty snacks & sticking to 3 meals with no snacks in between feels like a million miles from where you are right now - here are my top 5 tips to help you get there.
Ensure your main meals are balanced to support a stable appetite. Always eat carbohydrates and protein together and include plenty of non starchy vegetables at each meal - preferably half your plate should be taken up with colourful non starchy vegetables. Scale back on the starchy carbs - which should take up 1/4 of your plate - and choose good quality unrefined carbohydrates.
Check in with yourself and ask 'Am I really hungry?' A lot of people eat out of boredom. If this resonates with you, next time you open the biscuit barrel take the opportunity to pause and check in with yourself to see if you are really hungry. If the answer is no then choose an alternative activity to eating that brings you pleasure & joy - walking in nature, having a hot bubble bath, or make yourself a cup of tea in your favourite china cup and relax in your favourite spot where you won't be disturbed.
Eat a protein-based breakfast that keeps you fuller for longer and avoid mid morning energy dips that leave you wanting to refuel before lunch. Add nuts & seeds to your morning porridge or go for an egg-based option like scrambled eggs or an omelette. If you are pushed for time a protein shake is a great portable option.
Its hard not to feel hungry if you have eaten lunch at 1pm and you don't get a chance to eat dinner until 7 or 8pm at night. Planning ahead for those days when you know dinner in the evening will be later than usual is a great strategy to stop you visiting the vending machine. Always keep a small packet of mixed nuts in your bag and a piece of low sugar fruit eg. apple, pear or two plums for those occasions
Make sleep a priority. You know what it is like after a bad nights sleep - you drag yourself through the day relying on coffee and snacks to keep your energy up. The research shows that poor sleep is bad for health and if you regularly try to operate on less sleep than you need you are much more likely to feel hungrier the next day.