One of the first things I learned when I started my fitness renaissance was the importance of eating throughout the day.
It's fairly simple to fall into a trap when it comes to food and how often to eat. If you don't eat that much for most of the day and stick to a couple of meals, you've got to be losing weight, right?
No, actually, not right. Dead wrong. There are several reasons why you should eat throughout the day as I've learned first-hand.
First of all, such a schedule probably would look like this:
7 am Breakfast
9:30 AM Snack
3:30 PM Snack
The longest you'd go without eating as 3.5 hours between lunch and PM snack, but if you eat dinner earlier, you can eat the snack earlier. That's just one positive. You don't go very long between meals.
Also, by eating more often, your body is working more efficiently and you burn more calories that way. If you eat two big meals a day, the food sits and does not go through your system as quickly and the body hangs on to all the bad stuff.
Another thing, since you will eat more often chances are you won't get to the point where you feel like you are absolutely starved. If you get to that point, it is easier to make bad choices. If you aren't starving when you prepare dinner, for instance, it will be easier to fight off temptation.
Also, the snacks are easy ways to sneak in some fruits and/or vegetables and get some fiber into your system. One of my favorite snacks is to have an apple and small fruit/veggie as well, such as some carrots, a plum, some orange slices. It's easy to keep it at around 100 calories and the fiber you pick up is much needed. It beats a bag of chips for 140 empty calories with hardly any nutritional positives.
Now, it took me a while to get this system down and get used to it. But now if I can keep my breakfast to around 200 calories, the combined calories for snacks at around 200, I've got 1400 calories to split between lunch and dinner. That's quite a few calories, to be honest. That's not too shabby of a tally.