“The Skinny” … hardee har har
Even if you eat most of your meals at home, I suggest having them ready just like you would if you brown bagged it. If your food is ready and waiting for you, you’ll be less likely to “accidentally” grab something you shouldn’t just because you’re hungry.
When you’re putting away leftovers after a meal, I suggest putting them in single serving containers (labeled with their calories) so you can whoosh them away in your brown bag lunch the next day, or if you’re at home, so you can just grab a meal without having to think too hard about it.
If you get hungry when it’s not close to mealtime, drink a glass of water and change activities. Take a walk, read a book, vacuum the carpet, dance, call a pal, brush your teeth, or eat a crunchy stalk of celery. Or all of the above. If you’re still hungry in 15 or 20 minutes, eat an apple or a tangerine or a banana whether it’s time to eat or whether it puts you over your calorie count for the day. First, fruit is good for you. Second, being hungry sucks. Third, fruit is good for you and being hungry sucks.
I’ve found that for no discernible reason, some days I’m hungrier than others. I know more about zombies than I do about how metabolism works, but if I had to guess, I’d say that some days I have crappy protein to carb to fat ratios. And since I’m way too lazy to learn about such things (plus, I think they involve math), I’ll stick to fending off zombie attacks and just eat apples or celery when I get hungry.
I’m not an evening snacker, but if you are, there are a couple of things you can do. The obvious thing is to have your fourth meal in the evening. If that’s not practical, savor one piece of high-quality dark chocolate every evening. Focus all of your attention on it. Really enjoy it. Make some air-popped popcorn, sans butter. Eat a handful of grapes really slowly, enjoying the sensory experience of it. Make a pot of green tea.
Actually, you can try those strategies any time you have trouble waiting for the next meal. If it happens too frequently, though, you’ll need to start a food journal and figure out why.