I know that might sound strange to many of you.
A fitness professional telling you that you can have snacks
"But aren't I meant to eat rice, broccoli, chicken and shakes?"
Well you can
But that's really boring
And unlikely to last in the long term
The thing is, the brain is a rebellious bugger so when you tell yourself "I can't eat" such and such food, the brain kinda goes "well now I want that food!!!"
Not to mention that many of us have a lot of time on our hands and boredom snacking is a real thing that has crept in for a lot of people
Some can handle it well, and some struggle with it.
So if you're struggling, here's an idea to make snacks a part of your day (I'll use easy figures in my example and you can adjust it for you own needs):
1) Set yourself a limit to the size of the snack you can have. For example: No more than 300 calories. To put that in context, a 45g Cadbury Dairy Milk bar is 240 calories. 2oz of raw almonds is about 320 calories
2) Reduce the portions or calorie content of your other meals through the day by the size of your snack limit. For example, if you have 3 meals a day which is 1800 calories.
You can work this to suit you and your meals:
a) Reduce 1 meal by 300 calories
b) Reduce 2 meals by 150 calories
c) Reduce 3 meals by 100 calories
3) Enjoy your snack whenever it suits you.
The advantages to this approach:
a) You are still consuming the same amount of calories through the day i.e. 1800.
b) You won't notice small to moderate reductions in your other meals
c) You're not mentally beating yourself up about having to resist a snack
d) You get to enjoy the snack, guilt-free, no hang-ups.
I know one question is "How do I know how much to reduce by?"
The NHS has produced a very handy guide to give you an idea what 100 calories looks like across a range of food which will help
Here's the link:
The other common question is "What should I remove from my meals?"
I would generally recommend keeping in as much lean protein sources (eggs, lean meats, fish) as possible and reduce carbs and / or fat sources first or substitute fatty protein sources for leaner ones i.e. switching from 20% mince to 5% mince.
Lastly, if you need to ask "I have x,y,z condition, does this mean I can snack on chocolate now?"
Speak to your doctor / nutritionist, I cannot give medical advice.
This is my, mostly, Personal Trainer musings and information which I hope you'll find helpful!