Small & silent snacking suggestions?
November 24, 2008 12:10 PM   Subscribe

What small (snack-sized), quiet (non-crunchy), neat (non-crumb making) and relatively healthy foods can I keep at my desk?

My work has adopted a "if the customer can see you at your desk, you may not eat there" rule. I am not really following this rule, I am just trying not to get caught. I am a grazer, and I find my stomach growling every 2-3 hours. I bought some crunchy granola bars- those 2-to-a-pack kind- and was eating one now and one later. But they are crumbly (messy) and loud (crunchy) and it's pretty obvious I'm sneaking a snack at my desk. When my co-workers sneak a snack, it's usually a quiet plain doughnut or croissant- something they can tear a small bite off of and eat while the rest is in a drawer. I prefer something a little healthier than doughnuts, but all I can come up with that meets the small, quiet, neat & healthy criteria is cheese sticks.

Does anyone else have any ideas?
posted by dogmom to Food & Drink (42 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Small banana. "Nutrition" shake.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:15 PM on November 24, 2008

How about something like a Clif Bar, since they're chewy rather than crunchy? Most of those bars don't get crumbly, either—it's easy to break off a piece at a time.
posted by bcwinters at 12:17 PM on November 24, 2008

Dates or figs
posted by Gorgik at 12:19 PM on November 24, 2008

I like edamame -- small, salty enough to let you know you're eating something, high-protein for energy without crashing, and they're both bite-sized and quiet.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:20 PM on November 24, 2008

You could create your own granola-like bar.
posted by nitsuj at 12:21 PM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Cashews (less crunchy than other nuts.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:22 PM on November 24, 2008

Raisins. Roasted seeds.
posted by mkultra at 12:23 PM on November 24, 2008

Turkey jerky. Edamame is a great suggestion - for maximum health benefits, cook it up yourself with no added salt.
posted by muddgirl at 12:24 PM on November 24, 2008

Banana bread. A pbj sandwich. You can pre-cut them into bitesized bits.
posted by captaincrouton at 12:25 PM on November 24, 2008

string cheese
dried fruit
posted by pointystick at 12:25 PM on November 24, 2008

cook it up yourself with no added salt.

My modification to this suggestion is cooking it yourself (frozen bags of edamame is just an unbelievable amount cheaper than those little plastic clamshells of cooked edamame they sometimes sell), but using different flavors of salt -- garlic-salt edamame is a savory little treat, it is!
posted by Greg Nog at 12:27 PM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Unsalted/sugared/spiced, therefore clean for fingers.
Not actually that crunchy sounding.
Full of protein & fullness-feeling.

Alternatively - berries, or non-apple fruits, diced up.

Less crunchy bars.
Like, where I am, I can get these soft, ground oatmeal type bars, which hold together relatively well, and aren't crunchy (they used to have a carrot-cake like & white chocolate variety... absurdly delicious!). Can you get something similar?
Then, you should be able to break small bite sized pieces off.
posted by Elysum at 12:28 PM on November 24, 2008

I'm eating grape tomatoes right now at my desk. Hope no one notices!
posted by ginagina at 12:30 PM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Dried apricots or other dried fruit & almonds. Bring a container of blueberries or other berries.
posted by machine at 12:38 PM on November 24, 2008

Edamame is great as a snack unto itself, but should also not be overlooked as a refrigerant. A small plastic container of frozen, precooked edamame in an insulated bag will slowly thaw and help to keep other things (cheese sticks, crudite, dinner leftovers, etc) nicely chilled through the morning.
posted by contraption at 12:41 PM on November 24, 2008 [3 favorites]

"LĂ„RABAR is a delicious blend of unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices - energy in its purest form. Made from 100% whole food, each flavor contains no more than six ingredients....Uncooked and Unprocessed."

I get mine at Whole Foods.
posted by ericb at 12:45 PM on November 24, 2008

When I'm at work, I munch on cherry tomatoes, nuts (cashews, peanuts etc), presliced fruit (bananas, oranges, peaches, pears etc with a sprinkle of coconut flakes) from a sandwich sized container. Works great to get by the afternoon malaise. You could also make some hummus (or buy it) and put that in the aforementioned sandwich container with some sliced pita bread for a silent snack.
posted by elendil71 at 12:45 PM on November 24, 2008

Grapes, cherry tomatoes and cubes of cheese, maybe some nuts. You can go all day on just this.
posted by Aquaman at 12:49 PM on November 24, 2008

I eat two bananas and two apples at my desk each day. Maybe you could run to the break room to wolf something down quickly if eating at your desk is forbidden.
posted by prunes at 12:59 PM on November 24, 2008

as someone who just polished off a 1lb. bag of almonds and my desk (not at once), im gonna say: almonds. yum
posted by Mach5 at 1:00 PM on November 24, 2008

A bag of almonds and your desk? Must've been hungry...

I absolutely love frozen grapes. They last for a while in your mouth and they're clean, so no worrying about crumbs. Also nthing edamame.
posted by Baethan at 1:12 PM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Walnuts. Not crunchy, and very, very good for you. I also like the fact that they're OK tasting, but not (IMHO) particularly delicious. As a result I'll eat them when I'm hungry, but not recreationally.

Milk, or tea/coffee with lots of milk, is also good. Filling, and usually OK in no-food environments.
posted by CruiseSavvy at 1:25 PM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Dried fruit (especially apricots, yum) is my go-to snack. It's non-crunchy, nutritious, and doesn't need refrigerating. It also satisfies my sweet tooth in a healthy way. My local Trader Joe's carries a huge selection of dried fruits (apricots, mangoes, apples, mmm good).
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:28 PM on November 24, 2008

Grapes, raisins, edamame, fruit 'n' nut bar (the soft bread-like kind, not crunchy), granola cereal, shelled peanuts, dried cranberries, and on and on...
posted by curagea at 1:29 PM on November 24, 2008

Almonds are great. When I was at work this summer, I just dolled out a serving size (24 almonds, to be exact) into a little dish and kept it nearby in case I got hungry before lunch. Because almonds are magical and delicious, two or three can really tide you over. Really.

I also second the edamame suggestions.
posted by fantine at 1:30 PM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Definitely go with fruit. I make a yummy fruit salad in a plastic container, and always get hungry for it 3 hours after breakfast. Bring a plastic fork, and sneak the cut/sliced/chopped portions in whenever your stomach growls. It's clean, good for you, and easy to eat if you can hide or disguise the container.
posted by Bakuun at 1:30 PM on November 24, 2008

Frozen peas are good, too, if you have a way to keep them frozen.
posted by leahwrenn at 2:10 PM on November 24, 2008

Make a trail mix. Cashews, peanuts, dried fruits (I like dried cranberries and apricots), and you can add whatever sounds good to you. The mix of protein and natural sugars will keep you going, it's good for grazing since you only grab what you need, and it doesn't need any special storage (just an airtight container). Almonds or pumpkin seeds (yum!) work in this as well, trail mixes are pretty flexible.
Cheese sticks are a fabulous idea, as is jerky as long as you make/buy it in small enough bits.
Grapes will work as long as they are the seedless kind. I would stay away from most berries though due to their ability to squirt juice and cause stains.
You might consider making your own granola. It can be crunchy or chewy, and you can control the size of the pieces so they're small and bite-sized and won't make a mess.

Keep in mind with whatever you choose that you also don't want it to have a distinctive aroma, or you'll get caught!
posted by Night_owl at 2:14 PM on November 24, 2008

Nature Valley makes chewy granola bars (they call it Chewy Trail Mix). I love the Fruit and Nut ones (dried raisins, craisins, almonds and peanuts, plus miscellaneous granola stuff). They're not at all crunchy: they're sticky so there's no crumbs. Two drawbacks to them: the foil wrapper makes a crumpling sound that could give away your covert snacking though and I hate sticky residue on my hands so I always bite from the bar, keeping it inside the wrapper, rather than tear bits of it off.

Loose trail mix could work better, keeping a bag of it in your drawer and grabbing a discreet handful every so often.
posted by gladly at 2:24 PM on November 24, 2008

Duh. I didn't think of the obvious fruit and/or nuts. Obviously my inability to snack is affecting my brain.

Thanks so much for your suggestions!
posted by dogmom at 2:27 PM on November 24, 2008

I love SoyJoy Bars--they are quiet and good for you.
posted by govtdrone at 2:29 PM on November 24, 2008

Bite sized mini-quiches.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:49 PM on November 24, 2008

I'm another huge fan of Larabar. Try the Peanut Butter Cookie flavor... it's made entirely of dates and crushed peanuts, but it tastes like honest-to-god peanut butter cookie dough.
posted by arianell at 3:44 PM on November 24, 2008

One word of warning about dried apricots: among most people I know, if you eat a bunch, they make you fart, which might make them less office-friendly.
posted by fings at 4:15 PM on November 24, 2008

One word of warning about dried apricots: among most people I know, if you eat a bunch, they make you fart, which might make them less office-friendly.

Oh yeah, they'll clean out your digestive system right quick. You might be surprised what a drastic and quick effect they'll have. Don't start with a whole box, limit yourself to a small portion or you'll have a "stink bomb in the bathroom" problem.

I'm a big fan of bananas for snacks - they're incredibly filling.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:21 PM on November 24, 2008

I like The Laughing Cow mini Babybel cheeses. They're silent and the only mess that they make is the wax casing that you'll have to throw away.
posted by cheerwine at 6:48 PM on November 24, 2008

Make some of these.

Instead of using pineapple, I use dried fruit (strawberries and/or cherries and/or raspberries). 2 cups worth of dried fruit (any mixture) and 1 3/4 cups almonds. Forget the coconut. 2 cups of dates.
posted by Manhasset at 7:25 PM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

nuts, dried fruit, trail mix or granola deviously kept in a paper coffee cup with a lid. you just tip the food into your mouth and no-one will know that you're snacking!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:29 PM on November 24, 2008

Have you considered gum? It usually satisfies my grazing needs.

If not, how about dried fruit? I'm partial to mango.
posted by valadil at 7:57 AM on November 26, 2008

Have you considered gum?

Gum is not a snack. Gum is a revolting pacifier for large infants.

One word of warning about dried apricots: among most people I know, if you eat a bunch, they make you fart, which might make them less office-friendly.

Bless you for looking for quiet snacks. Meanwhile, I'm off to stock up on tons of dried apricots, for revenge against my pathologically chip-crunching, pretzel-gnashing, cracker-mashing, gum-smacking colleagues.

Silent but deadly, awwww yeah.
posted by Tubes at 12:18 PM on November 26, 2008

Interesting. I love dried apricots, but have not noticed an abundance of stinky stealth bombs after eating them. Tubes, please report back on how it goes :)

As for snack ideas, Red vines and pretzels were popular at one company I worked at. The pretzels weren't all that loud or crunchy from what I remember. The honey mustard flavored ones had an especially nice flavor too.
posted by jaden at 1:30 PM on November 26, 2008

I cut salted cashews with raw almonds for just the right amount of salty goodness. Seconding 5_13_23_42_69_666's stealth paper - or in my case, styrofoam - cup idea. For some reason, you can carry anything that looks like a coffee cup almost anywhere.
posted by klarck at 6:33 AM on November 27, 2008

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