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December 1, 2012 3:43 AM   Subscribe

Filling, low carb snacks that are relatively price-sensible?

Basically I'm having quite a bit of trouble compiling and getting used to a low-carb diet while not feeling like I'm starving myself/extremely hungry at most of the times. I feel like I'm eating quite a bit and still get a growly stomach often.

Around here people only eat 1 'full meal' a day. I have no issues with that and have accustomed to it. I've also no problems cooking my dinner to be low carb (basically a protein source + loads and loads of non-starchy veggies) but am hitting a roadblock when it comes to finding stuff to eat the rest of the time, especially since bread is out of question.

The problem is that, during the day, especially late-ish at night -- say, 10-11pm -- (since I usually end up going to bed at about 1am) I feel extremely hungry. And sometimes can't fall asleep because despite having eaten already, my stomach will be growling endlessly. I feel like I'm doing something very wrong. I did some extensive reading about low-carb diets, but none of the suggestions appeal to me particularly. I have no issues with eating protein and veggies. I love salads and veggies in general, but at the end of the day, I feel like I'm starving. Of course, I could just go with another plate of whatever I had for dinner, but (snowflake details) meat is particularly expensive here, fish is a delicacy, given how pricy it is and I'm trying to keep the bulk of the protein in that one meal, for $ reasons. That's not to say it won't happen sometimes, but not every day/only a couple times a day.

I'm not particularly picky when it comes to food, but I don't like frying stuff much and I don't like sauces, either. So I'm not very likely to go cook bacon (which I openly dislike) with eggs or something. I prefer things to do with vegetables, but as mentioned above, to me it feels like regardless of the amount I eat, I'm still hungry (i.e a whole plate of salad -- lettuce and arugula/rucula, raw with no sauces or anything added -- didn't make a dent in my satiation levels).

Looking for suggestions, thanks a lot in advance!
posted by Trexsock to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
You know that vegetables by themselves have basically zero calories, right? And also that they are almost entirely carbohydrates (and fibre)?

It sounds like you are trying to do low-carb and low-fat at the same time, which is like a recipe (ha!) for being hungry.

If you only want to snack on vegetables, you'll need to add fatty dressings - even just pour a spoonful of olive oil over them. Hummus is tasty (or just tahini thinned out enough to drizzle).

If you want cheap protein, that will depend on your location. If fish and meat are expensive, is tofu cheaper? (It's still pretty high-carb compared to meat, though). What about peanut butter? (Again, you can dip the veges in it). You say you don't want bacon and eggs, but how about eggs by themselves? You can hardboil a bunch at once and have them as snacks. Or drop one in a bowl of miso soup or something to poach it.
posted by lollusc at 4:01 AM on December 1, 2012 [5 favorites]

A handful of nuts is pretty low carb and goes quite a long way.
posted by OmieWise at 4:05 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by kestrel251 at 4:15 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sounds like you need more fat in your diet. Cheese, perhaps?
posted by Sublimity at 4:47 AM on December 1, 2012

Adding fat or protein to your salad will make it more filling. Since you don't like dressing, try some:
  • whole flax seeds
  • cheese, diced or shredded
  • nuts (walnuts, almonds, peanuts, etc.)
  • hard boiled egg(s), diced or mashed

posted by zinon at 5:20 AM on December 1, 2012

I like hummus with celery, carrots, or other raw veggies, nuts, plain greek yogurt and fruit like bananas and blueberries, cheddar cheese and apple slices. Hard boiled egg is good too.
posted by mermayd at 5:22 AM on December 1, 2012

Direct answer: Hardboiled eggs. Canned fish, if it's cheaper. Nuts. Nut butters, in moderation. Avocado. Veggies dipped in hummus or olive oil with salt and pepper. Cheese. Olives. Yogurt. Small portions of meat that you tuck away in the fridge. (Combining these can be a fruitful though occasionally disappointing experience. Peanut butter and cheese, for example.)

Indirect answer: I second the emphasis on fats, if just to get the sheer caloric amount of food back to what you are probably used to. Animal fats are a good thing. You may want to consider having a second meal later in the day, perhaps consisting of what you had for lunch sans meat (but avec fat!).

Depending how low-carb you're shooting for--whether you want to be in ketosis or not, whether you're trying to break a carb dependency--it may not be the end of the world to have a piece of fruit, e.g. an apple or banana.
posted by daveliepmann at 5:31 AM on December 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

I keep cans of black olives in the pantry for snacking - they keep fine and are filling. (Just don't pour off all the water - as long as the olives are submerged, they won't go bad.) Nuts are good, really anything fatty is going to help with satiation a lot.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:12 AM on December 1, 2012

Short answer: If I were gonna guess, I'd say that you're eating too many carbs in your veggies, and it's making your body angry.

Long answer: All of the specific food suggestions are good, so I'll skip that for the larger question, because this is the first thing I would want to know about if we were face-to-face friends and we were talking about this.

It really sounds like you're not eating very much fat. Is that accurate? If it is not then you probably have a different problem which I cannot speak to. But assuming that it *is* accurate: You should be aiming to eat around twice as many calories from fat as protein if you're eating a low-carb diet. For real.

Different people suggest different ratios, but I've had success (and satiety!) with the following: ~60% fat. ~30 protein ~5% carbs.

I know, it's weird. It sounds like it should be bad for you! But it ain't. It's good for you, and more specifically, that's the magic in low-carb diets. Without the fat, man I don't even know what's going on with that.

That said, there are one or two people out there trumpeting low-carb diets that are protein heavy and not fat heavy. I do not know anything about that process. Is that what you guys are doing? Are you aiming for that, or are your dietary choices coming from a "fat's bad for you, right?" kind of place? If it's the latter, I'd like to recommend that you do some reading on how and why low-carb diets work and decide which way you want to take it.

You may be accidentally eating too many carbs in your vegetables, enough to wake up the part of your brain that loves carbohydrates, but not enough to satisfy it. That sounds totally miserable! Do you know how many grams of carbohydrates you're eating a day? If it's too high (30-50 or more?) then your body is still going to be in carbohydrate mode (the mode that almost everyone is in by "default" on a typical modern diet), which is to say, it's primarily looking to burn carbs for fuel (rather than fat and protein) and the way that you're eating is just going to make it pissed.

Most low-carb diets work because they trick your body into burning fat for fuel. When your body makes that jump, it changes a lot of things about what and when your body expects when it comes to food. Without making that jump, you're just on a calorie-restriction diet, which you now know is the express train to Sad Town.
posted by Poppa Bear at 7:17 AM on December 1, 2012 [7 favorites]

Oh, and even non-starchy vegetables have carbs in them. They're sneaky!
posted by Poppa Bear at 7:20 AM on December 1, 2012

I actually find bananas quite filling.
posted by radioamy at 7:55 AM on December 1, 2012

Fat bars: melt butter/coconut oil with other fat (cocoa) and high-fat nut butter (macadamia, hazelnut) Better than nut butter. use nut oil. Splash in some flax oil to increase the omega-3s. Freeze and eat in small pieces in early evening.

It's not going to be cheap though. Trying to put a price on your health is a losing proposition. You'll get away with it when you're young, but it will catch up with you.

You want quality protein and fat prepared properly. That's going to cost money and time. No way around it. Homo economicus or homo sapiens, you decide.
posted by larry_darrell at 9:02 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hard boiled eggs. Boil a bunch at a time so they're waiting for you when you're snacky. You might want to peel them all while they're warm so they peel easily, and keep them in a tupperware or ziploc in the fridge.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:27 AM on December 1, 2012

When Mr. Adams was on the Atkins diet, one of his go-to snacks was cheese sticks and sausage sticks (Slim Jims? Hunter's Sausage?) We purchased both in bulk at CostCo and they always satisfied his munchies.
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:19 PM on December 1, 2012

be careful about doing low carb and low fat at the same time, as others have already mentioned--google rabbit starvation or rabbit sickness. at least take a fish oil supplement if you're doing this, and i don't recommend it--a few years back when i went low carb i still had a fat phobia and ate like it sounds like you are (leanlean protein + veggies only) and got this horrible abdominal organ-y pain tht scared me straight. fat is not bad for you.

agreed about cheese, eggs, nuts in moderation, and dairy in general (cottage cheese, milk, etc.).
posted by ifjuly at 10:00 AM on December 2, 2012

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