What snacks to eat or work?
December 3, 2008 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Snack/food that i can munch on continuously to appease my oral fixation that is tasty but wont pack on the pounds.

I am looking for a snack food that, as above, i can sit at my desk at work and just munch on continuously. i'd rather it not be in the trail mix department, i'm not so much a fan of that. i'm not overweight at all, but i do need to lose a few, say, 10-15 pounds (i weigh 135) to get back to my ideal weight for my modeling hobby...but i don't want to deny myself my oral fixation, because it passes the time and is a good stress reliever. ideas? i'd really just like suggestions for snacks, not alternative things to do.
posted by assasinatdbeauty to Food & Drink (37 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Sugarfree gum.
Pumpkin seeds
posted by unixrat at 8:30 AM on December 3, 2008

My husband switched out his beloved potato chips for carrots and celery sticks about a year ago. He's definitely the type to eat to pass time and now he's having an easier time keeping off the weight. His complexion is better, too.
posted by Alison at 8:30 AM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

Depending on how often you change your gum, the sugar-free stuff can mess with your digestion because of the sugar alcohols in it. It's worth a shot, though. Unfortunately there aren't any foods you can really eat ALL DAY without adding calories to your diet, but veggies like celery and bell peppers have pretty minimal calories. Have you tried chewing pen caps?
posted by vytae at 8:34 AM on December 3, 2008

Strange but true: I find that dried wakame seaweed satisfies the potato chip urge. The little flakes are crunchy and salty and delightfully umami. They're also virtually calorie-free and full of vitamins. You can't eat them all day long -- too salty -- but they make a good substitute for a packet of chips. If you've got a health-food or Whole Foods-type store nearby, you should be able to find them in bulk.
posted by ourobouros at 8:50 AM on December 3, 2008

sorry, should have included that i need something that can just sit out in the open on my desk all day (8hrs or so). veggies, while healthy, arent such a good option because they either wilt, turn funky, or get warm, which i can't stand. I'm a pain, i know, i'm sorry!
posted by assasinatdbeauty at 8:53 AM on December 3, 2008

Fruit, like grapes, are pretty tasty and don't have that many calories.
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:58 AM on December 3, 2008

Wasa crackers
Those little wasabi coated peas (mmmmmm)
dried fruit
posted by elendil71 at 9:00 AM on December 3, 2008

dum dum lollipops are 20 calories.
posted by jrishel at 9:01 AM on December 3, 2008

Sunflower seeds.
posted by mandal at 9:02 AM on December 3, 2008

Celery can certainly sit there without wilting or turning brown or nasty. And it has 0 calories, pretty much a non-nutritive food. If you like its flavor (which I don't) it's just what you want.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:17 AM on December 3, 2008

Bananas or dried banana chips.
posted by pdb at 9:21 AM on December 3, 2008

Definitely vegetables. Carrots, celery, broccoli, stuff like that. Doesn't make a mess and won't back on the pounds.
posted by PFL at 9:29 AM on December 3, 2008

posted by PFL at 9:29 AM on December 3, 2008

Pickles! Next to no calories and keep all day in their jar. :-)
posted by mmkhd at 9:31 AM on December 3, 2008

Almonds! I've already blathered about almonds on MeFi before...but because they are great, I will extol their virtues again.

Just set out a dish with 24 almonds (one serving) and take about 3 at a time throughout the day. I can't remember the name of the compound right now, but there is something inherent in almonds that actually minimizes appetite...so they are great for those minutes before a meal when you are hungry, but know food is coming soon. Also, they are fantastic for you. I know this isn't something that you can mindlessly eat, but the whole cutting-down on appetite aspect is really helpful (at least it is for me!)
posted by fantine at 9:39 AM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Seconding fantine, but adding that for Thanksgiving, my family roasted a cookie tray full of almonds, and mixed them with Craisins. Yummy!
posted by specialagentwebb at 9:45 AM on December 3, 2008

Popcorn. There are lots of law-fat versions out there. You can eat a good amount while not consuming many calories, and it has a satisfying crunch to it. If you don't have a microwave at work, pop it at home and bring it with you in pre-measured bags.
posted by geeky at 10:06 AM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

My mom does this exact thing because she'll fall asleep at her desk if she's not munching on something. She eats puffed Kashi cereal (not the sugar-coated kind). It's fairly tasteless, but will not pack on the pounds (especially if you're munching on it all day), and it's satisfyingly crunchy.
posted by chowflap at 10:15 AM on December 3, 2008

puffed rice or wheat? I really like Puffed Kashi.
posted by leahwrenn at 10:29 AM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Beware the pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, if you swallow the shells. They don't come out as easily as they went in.
posted by Lou Stuells at 10:33 AM on December 3, 2008

Trader Joe's has this lightly sweetened (barely even at all) dried ginger that's perfect for this. It's crunchy like a chip, but the spice builds so after a few minutes you only want to eat little bits of it. Surprisingly satisfying and good for your tummy (or so people say).
posted by eralclare at 10:53 AM on December 3, 2008

I know you'd rather avoid veggies, but I have to say, for me, the ultimate crunchy snack for me is sliced radishes sprinkled or dipped into good sea salt. Crunchy, savory, poppable, packed with various nutrients, and containing something like 20 calories a cup.
posted by mostlymartha at 11:21 AM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Nthing sunflower seeds - I like to get ones that are lightly salted and still have their shells - that way, it takes time to eat each one because you need to get it out of its shell first!
posted by firei at 11:36 AM on December 3, 2008

Ack. Lou Stells brings up a good point. I am a devotee of sunflower seeds (I go through about one 400g bag a week) and can't stress enough that you should not eat the shells. Yes, it makes the habit a little bit disgusting—it's not something I would do at work—but the shells are really not good for you at all.
posted by sonic meat machine at 11:36 AM on December 3, 2008

What about pistachios that are in the shell? Having to shell each one individually will help keep consumption down, likewise if you keep them in a sealed ziploc bag or container, then you will have to open it each time.
I like pumpkin seeds, but I can eat them by the handful and are maybe not the best choice.

Nuts of any kind are good if you can keep your consumption down, but that sounds like that's not your cup of tea.

Get a normal sized bag of M&Ms, the kind that costs $.50 or so. Make them last by not using your teeth. Let them melt in your mouth. This also works with jellybeans. I like Jelly Bellies, 4 calories each, I can make 40 of them last all day by not chewing them, and the texture changes are fantastic.
posted by Night_owl at 11:59 AM on December 3, 2008

Seconding seaweed. I usually get packs of nori (the square sheets of seaweed used for wrapping sushi) from Japanese grocery stores, and just tear off little pieces to munch on. You don't need to get the expensive stuff--at most places you can find reasonably priced options. It's tasty and very low in calories (I think it's high in beneficial minerals, too, although I wouldn't swear to it.)
posted by fermion at 12:17 PM on December 3, 2008

I've swalled a cubic yard of pumpkin seeds, shell and all, and never had a problem with it.

I've never swallowed sunflower seed shells though, so I don't know what I should be expecting.
posted by unixrat at 1:29 PM on December 3, 2008

If its just oral fixation, and not hunger or anything else?
Gum. Even the sugar stuff. Lots of chewing out of one piece.
Hard candy. Like lollipops or mints or anything you can suck on for a good long while. Keeps your mouth busy (and moist).
Toothpicks or something similar to chew on, or pencils to suck on (I wouldn't chew those).
posted by sandraregina at 1:36 PM on December 3, 2008

This is actually the reason I got my tongue pierced...when I get bored, I start flipping it around. No teeth clacking though, as that's annoying and bad for your dental work. Not for everyone, of course.
posted by kattyann at 1:54 PM on December 3, 2008

Seconding popcorn. It's lo-cal, hi-fiber, and needs no refrigeration. Just remember to drink water (which is a healthy thing to do anyway). As used by Jane Brody of the New York Times.
posted by exphysicist345 at 2:01 PM on December 3, 2008

I may be the only one, but salted black licorice? I eat one piece, and the taste is so strong that it stays with me for at least half an hour. It's a very acquired taste, but if you want to give it a go, you can find it in the Swedish food store at your local IKEA.
posted by spinifex23 at 2:29 PM on December 3, 2008

I chew on tea tree toothpicks. Not appropriate for every workplace... But it's fun and calorie free (that's definitely not why I do it, but it's true). They also keep your breath fresh.
posted by zpousman at 6:40 PM on December 3, 2008

Nthing the pumpkin seeds. If you buy them in their shells and salted (amusingly, they're called 'passatempo' here) that will definitely slow you down as you have to crack them. Not sure that's appropriate for work though. I was going to suggest edamame but probably not good for work either...Does it have to be food? What about having a mug of something to sip on? I love white tea with jasmine - I buy it rolled up in little balls and the flavour is so delicious and delicate, and it's low caffeine. It can be expensive, but you can refil your cup multiple times before the flavour runs out.
posted by Emilyisnow at 12:29 AM on December 4, 2008

- Kashi GoLean cereal is my go-to snack. It is quite tasty, made from all natural, unrefined ingredients and a cup is 140 calories, 30g carbs, 10g fiber and 13g protein. I snack on it dry and it feels like a treat while still being quite healthy.

- Non-fat, plain greek yogurt is very low carb, very high protein. For breakfast I have a Chobani or a Fage 6 oz. and throw half a cup of Kashi GoLean in there.

- Go to an all natural food store and check out their selection of rice/soy/flax cakes. They come in delicious flavors and are healthy. Same for Soy Crisps--a little snackier (more sodium, a bit higher carb, but generally a safe snack).

- I also love snowpeas. They are the teensiest bit sweet and nice and crunchy--fun!

- Whole pieces of fruit. I limit myself to 2 pieces per day but go nuts.

Beware, almonds are full of fat, yes, it's "good" fat and they have protein as well, but I wouldn't start throwing those back as an allday long snack.
posted by Rudy Gerner at 9:44 AM on December 4, 2008

Rudy Gerner: that's why you pre-measure the almonds out, instead of taking them mindlessly from a container.
posted by fantine at 11:40 AM on December 4, 2008

Absolutely. It's just a quarter cup of unsalted, dry roasted almonds is 180 calories, 16 grams of fat. That's a pretty high fat snack/calorie considering that 1/4 cup of almonds is barely a small handful. But I agree that in moderation they're a healthy snack.
posted by Rudy Gerner at 12:14 PM on December 4, 2008

After reading the suggestions in this thread, I went to my local Asian supermarket chain (T&T in Vancouver BC) and got a few flavours of Tao Kae Noi Crispy Seaweed Chips.

Oh My Goodness these things are good. I can't believe how few calories they pack too.

Caution: they contain palm oil, and harbour loads of salt. But mmmmm, what a tasty and low-calorie alternative to nuts and chips!
posted by seawallrunner at 9:47 PM on December 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

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