Foods that take a long time to eat
January 27, 2014 1:56 PM   Subscribe

I love to snack. I don't love the calories that I ingest when I snack. What are some foods I can eat that are (relatively) low calorie but will take a long time? I'm looking for a high time-to-eat/calories eaten ratio. Examples: grapefruit, which I can slice in half and carefully cut out each section. Artichokes: eat leaf by leaf.
posted by bq to Food & Drink (41 answers total) 86 users marked this as a favorite
Nuts with the shell on.
posted by carsonb at 1:58 PM on January 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Really tough beef jerky.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:58 PM on January 27, 2014 [9 favorites]

Very very cold unsweetened applesauce, eaten with a long teaspoon.
Wafer-thin slices of fruit, like pears.
Sunflower seeds in shells.
posted by mochapickle at 1:58 PM on January 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

posted by axismundi at 1:58 PM on January 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

Celery doesn't take particularly long to eat, but you do have to chew it a bunch, and it is basically zero calories (plus whatever you are dipping it in to actually manage to choke it down, if you are like me). Nuts and seeds, if you are cracking and shelling them.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:58 PM on January 27, 2014

A really big salad full of crunchy veggies.
posted by joan_holloway at 1:59 PM on January 27, 2014

Salted-in-shell sunflower seeds are particularly good for this; each one requires a fussy action and they're not very big. I keep a lot of water around when I eat them, so between the nuts and the large amounts of water they are fairly filling and time-consuming given the calories they contain.
posted by craven_morhead at 2:00 PM on January 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Seconding pomegranates. Slice the top centimetre or so off, then pick apart with your fingers and eat the seeds one by one. Takes a long time, tastes lovely, not too many calories, stains your fingers yellow like a smoker.
posted by altolinguistic at 2:00 PM on January 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

Pomegranates. I consider them a diet food, because it takes me the better part of an hour to eat one, while snacking in front of the TV and in that time, I don't consume a whole lot of potato chips.

I do like to wear a towel over my clothing while I do it, though.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:01 PM on January 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

If you want the ultimate time spend/calories food, then: peel a cucumber. Then cut it lengthwise. Remove the soft, seedy middle. Then dice the cucumber into the smallest size pieces you can. Eat with a cocktail stick.

Jacquilynne above has mentioned pomegranates. You can set germ with a cocktail stick too.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:06 PM on January 27, 2014

Pistachio are delicious and time consuming, but I don't think they're necessarily very healthy (kinda fatty I think).

Maybe...string cheese, taking care to string the strings reeeally stringy?
posted by stinkfoot at 2:09 PM on January 27, 2014

There are a lot of ideas here.

The poster specifically includes that she would also like foods that aren't necessarily low calorie given the volume, but that also take a long time to eat.

My favorite is nuts that still need to be shelled.
posted by cacao at 2:10 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's a lot of overlap between what you're looking for and the Volumetrics diet plan. "It all comes down to calories per bite. 'By choosing foods that have fewer calories per bite, your portion size grows, but your overall calorie count decreases,' explains Barbara Rolls, PhD, the creator of Volumetrics and author of the new book "The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet". "So you end up with a satisfying amount of food."

In general, if something has few calories per bite, you'll be able to eat for a long time and get full with few calories.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 2:10 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

A rice cake with a layer of cream cheese is great when I need to feel I eat something.

olives with pits- nibbling around them is fun.
posted by misspony at 2:11 PM on January 27, 2014

mandarin oranges, they're small and you gotta peal them one by one, and then you can eat the individual sections. my favorite.
posted by crawltopslow at 2:14 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Cheerios have about 100 calories per cup serving dry and if you eat them one at a time you will never manage to eat enough calories to get fat.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:15 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you want to eat something that satisfies in a small quantity--cheese, peanut butter or anything that's high in fat fills you up faster. But if you're looking for something to do with your hands, I'd say get a stress ball and squeeze it rather than move hand to mouth.
posted by Ideefixe at 2:17 PM on January 27, 2014

Shuck your own oysters.
posted by oceanjesse at 2:22 PM on January 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I like unshelled pumpkin seeds for this - they can take a long time to get through if you eat them one at a time and "unzip" the shell with your teeth first.

Radishes are good, too - I like to sit down with a plate of maybe 4-5 of them and some hot sauce, hummus thinned with lemon juice, or whatever else sounds tasty, and then slice off wafer-thin slices to dip and eat one by one ... gives you unfortunate burps afterwards but it definitely takes a while to eat.
posted by DingoMutt at 2:39 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Eat everything with chopsticks. Even if you are very efficient with chopsticks they are just slower than shoveling food in with a spoon or fork, especially if you don't let yourself pick up your plate.
posted by town of cats at 2:40 PM on January 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

My secret for this is herbal tea, for the "something to do with you hands" factor.
posted by Sara C. at 2:51 PM on January 27, 2014

I'm addicted to Sea Laver, salted roasted seaweed, packaged as a dozen or so small sheets. It's a common Korean snack, but can be had on Amazon, though I get it at a local supermarket.

They're high-ish in salt but only 20 kCal/packet. They replace potato chips for me.
posted by bonehead at 3:00 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

sliced "hamburger" pickle chips, one at a time. they'll make your mouth water and it takes like a trillion pickle slices to get to 100 calories. win-win.
posted by kerning at 3:03 PM on January 27, 2014

I just subscribed to a Graze box (which I thought was kind of stupid in concept but I used a friend code so got the first box free so figured why not) and OH MAN it was really pretty great. The snacks are portion controlled so you know exactly how many calories grams of whatever you're eating. And they were way tastier than I thought they'd be, plus they came in little cups of tiny fiddly bits that I ate one at a time, so it took me a good 30-40 minutes to work through each snack.

If you're interested, you can memail me and I'll give you my friendcode link. (It'll get you your first box free!)
posted by phunniemee at 3:06 PM on January 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

Yes, dried seaweed snacks!

I buy mine at Trader Joe's, where they cost 99 cents per pack and have approximately zero calories per. I worry a little about the sodium, but I remember checking recently and finding that it wasn't as bad as I thought. I would have an entire pantry full of them if I had the space in my apartment.
posted by Sara C. at 3:09 PM on January 27, 2014

Seedless grapes work for me, because you can eat a bunch and they're so full of water that they fill you up, as well.
posted by xingcat at 3:10 PM on January 27, 2014

This might be a little weird, but sometimes I gnaw on a clove of garlic or two. It's pretty harsh, though it tastes good if you like garlic, and kind of hurts your mouth, but sort of in a good way? So yeah, it's slow going. And raw garlic is supposed to be particularly healthy.
posted by threeants at 3:10 PM on January 27, 2014

Also I'll sometimes slowly work at a raw jalapeƱo or other tasty hot pepper. ...I'm just now realizing that the only snacks I can eat in moderation are ones that are physically too painful to binge on. :{
posted by threeants at 3:13 PM on January 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

Really tough beef jerky can take awhile to break apart/chew, if you want to savor it. The added benefit is that the protein can be a little more satisfying.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:13 PM on January 27, 2014

Unshelled edamame might work. I just steam them and toss them with a little salt or soy sauce. A cupful of them (which is about 100 calories) will last me the better part of an hour.

Seconding popcorn, especially popcorn that you've seasoned. You can squirt on some pam or other cooking spray, and then sprinkle on whatever spice blend you like--I'm fond of jerk seasoned popcorn, or cinnamon sugar.
posted by MeghanC at 3:15 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pomelo. Takes a while to peel, and I never eat the whole thing in one sitting.

Corn on the cob.

Nthing Pomegranate.

Be careful with all the nut/seed recs - those have a lot of calories.
posted by travelwithcats at 3:20 PM on January 27, 2014

Spicy foods help me keep the snacking at a reasonable pace. Seaweed with kimchi and spicy peas are salty, crunchy, and delicious.

Home-made crispy kale is a good substitute for potato chips.

I also love raw broccoli cut into small florets, dipped in salad dressing--just put a sensible portion in a bowl and then put the jar away. Similarly, try a thinly sliced apple or pear and a spoonful of nut butter.
posted by esoterrica at 3:26 PM on January 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Frozen grapes. They take longer to consume than regular unfrozen grapes, plus they tend to induce brain freeze, encouraging one to pace themselves.
posted by raztaj at 3:29 PM on January 27, 2014 [7 favorites]

Sucking( not chewing) ice cubes.
posted by brujita at 8:45 PM on January 27, 2014

I do popcorn with chopsticks.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:15 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dried peas, I prefer the plain salted or garlic flavour, but Wasabi is easiest to find. They're tiny, flavorful, and low calorie.

Kumquats aren't slow per se, but I can only maybe eat five in an hour. They're good, nature's own sour patch kids, but I can't eat them quickly or in great quantity, and I can't imagine they're particularly calorie dense.
posted by jrobin276 at 11:30 PM on January 27, 2014

I really like popcorn with nutritional yeast on it, has kind of a cheesy flavor.
posted by jrobin276 at 11:31 PM on January 27, 2014

I use frozen peach slices for this.
posted by maryr at 6:17 AM on January 28, 2014

I was in the same boat and will answer it differently. I agree with a lot of things like sunflower seeds, nuts in general , popcorn with chopsticks and tea. But more than anything, you need something that keeps you full otherwise you will just keep eating.
In my case its having full meals like lunch, dinner because I snack more when i don't eat either one of those meals
posted by radsqd at 7:11 AM on January 28, 2014

Anything you eat as a primary activity.

If you eat chips on the couch while watching tv, you'll eat a whole bag.

If you eat chips at a table, like you'd eat real food, you'll stop much sooner.
posted by talldean at 10:28 AM on January 28, 2014

I used to snack on boiled corn on the cob by twisting off individual kernels, one by one. There is a knack to popping them out completely clean (it's easier if you break the ear in half so you have a ring of easy-access kernels to start from). It takes FOREVER.
posted by peachfuzz at 10:35 AM on January 29, 2014

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