Do you graze, or prefer 3 square meals a day?
It seems that the health and fitness community will be forever divided on which approach is best, and I'm sure there is no right or wrong answer. Everybody's needs and routines are different, and sometimes it just takes a little experimentation to find the approach that works best for you.
Personally, I have always preferred grazing, keeping meals light and munching my way through several small snacks throughout the day. I find this approach helps to regulate my blood sugar and energy levels, nips cravings in the bud, and stops me from ever getting dangerously hungry...
I also think it's good to be realistic about what you will eat during the day. If you find that you can't make it through the day without buying emergency convenience food, or digging into the biscuit jar at work, why not plan ahead and take some healthier snacks with you. Instead of striving for 'perfection', think of it like this: Every time you replace something naughty with something a little less naughty, you are winning!
I like to keep my snacks protein-based where possible. Generally speaking, protein-based foods are more filling and less caloric then carbohydrate-based foods, meaning you will get more bang for your buck. Snacking on protein is also a great way of topping up your protein quotient for the day (remember, you need 1-1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of bodyweight, per day).
If you feel your snack game could use a little work, here are my top suggestions for keeping it real:
Quark: Not a yoghurt, not quite a soft cheese either. It's similar to greek yoghurt, but sweeter and less acidic. Super filling, and great with berries or a sprinkling of muesli, a small pot is more than enough for 11sies and SO much better for you than those watery, low-fat yoghurts.
Nuts: An obvious choice but often overlooked. They may be high in fat, but the fats are the good kind, and can help stave off cravings for the bad kinds. Just keep your portions small if you are worried about calories.
Mackerel pate: Just flake apart a smoked mackerel fillet, and mix with a small dab of soft cheese and a glug of lime juice. Add salt, pepper and chilli flakes to taste. Freeze in small portions and defrost as needed. Great on a rye cracker or with crudités.
Hummus: Also great with rye crackers or crudités. High in protein and good fats, and the garlic will satisfy the tastebuds (just make sure you buy one made with olive oil not cheaper oils).
Nature Valley protein bars: Nature Valley do a good protein-rich snack bar (this is different to their sweet oaty granola bar) that doesn't contain too many nasties, and has a few chocolate chips thrown in to the bargain. They are pricey, but you can frequently find them on offer if you keep your eyes peeled.
Wasabi peas: Not a low fat food, so consume in small portions. However, they contain less fat than nuts and are still high in protein and fibre. The strong flavour also means a small portion can be surprisingly satisfying.
Quorn cocktail sausages: Ok, strictly speaking these are a processed food, but they are super filling, and low in calories and fat, so you can do worse when it comes to satisfying those hunger pangs.
Whole Earth 100% Peanutbutter: I have been very specific about the brand here, as you need to make sure you buy a product that is 100% peanuts, with no added oils. This stuff is super thick and extremely satisfying, and just one or two rice cakes with a bit of this on top will keep you going for a while.
Vegan protein shakes: I have mixed feelings about protein shakes, and would definitely stay away from whey protein. The occasional soy or pea protein shake, however, can come in really handy when you need a quick fix for a big hunger pang.
Hard-boiled eggs: A little smelly but highly portable, and not bad with a dab of mustard!
And just remember - I don't suggest you count calories or track every ounce you eat, but if you do increase your snack intake, just make sure you keep your meals light to balance things out. :o)