Snack packs for grownups--the hangry (hungry + angry) kind
September 27, 2014 6:15 AM   Subscribe

I'm a grown woman, but when I haven't eaten and my sugar drops, the "hangriness" starts. The anger, irritation, total irrationality. I've tried carrying luna bars, etc, (though that doesn't help a ton) but I think I'd like to throw together some snack packs (like,a ziplock bag with assorted goodies) for myself to toss in my bag when I'm out the door. I'll also be traveling a lot in the next couple months, and definitely need to be on top of this. I'd love some suggestions on what kinds of food to throw in my snack packs.
posted by namemeansgazelle to Food & Drink (26 answers total) 74 users marked this as a favorite
Like you, I found that Luna bars don't quite work for me. What does work for me are Lara bars. I'd suggest trying a variety of bars until you find one that helps with the immediate need for food as well as not sugar crashing you 20 minutes later.

Packs: almonds, dried fruit, dark chocolate chips (ie trail mix). a sucking candy for immediate sugar. granola bars. fruit leather.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:27 AM on September 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Raw almonds!

What you're looking for is low GI food so that you don't get the peaks and troughs but keep a slow steady release of energy. Raw nuts of any kind are great. But almonds in particular are fabulous.

Dried fruit will give you a sugar peak then it will drop so stay away from all dried fruit unless you dehydrated some apple (or bought it) or something like that. Boiled eggs are great and cheese is also good.

I love jerky for times like this as well. And nuggets cut from a parmesan wheel. Tofu... if you found some shelf stable varieties...would be good. And small tins of baked beans.
posted by taff at 6:27 AM on September 27, 2014 [6 favorites]

I like Mini Babybel cheeses for this.
posted by neushoorn at 6:37 AM on September 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

You want protein, not carbs for this, and you want to snack before you start feeling hungry.

I eat only protein at breakfast, not even fruit, that helps a TON! For travel, whole milk is a godsend, it's available pretty much everywhere, and it has both protein and carbs and you can chug it if you're feeling faint.

Raw almonds, Babybel cheeses, jerky (I'm not a fan, but it is a good snack if you like it) and protein bars are all things you can stash in your purse and keep there.

Stuff that's available in convenience stores/airports: hard boiled eggs, full fat Greek yogurt, roller hot dogs (no bun.) All work for me if I'm out and hungry.

I find the carbier my meals are, the more I have the uneven blood sugars (my regular blood sugar hovers in the seventies.) Protein keeps it all together and even. Also, no hungry.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:53 AM on September 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nuts and seeds.

A mixture of raw nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts - any nuts you like), and seeds (sunflower, pumpkin). Add a few sultanas/crausins/dates, and dried coconut shards.

I keep premixed baggies (made up from bulk jars) in the cupboard, so I can grab one as I walk out the door.
posted by Salamander at 6:58 AM on September 27, 2014

If you're packing the baggies yourself, I'd do a combo of nuts (walnuts, almonds, peanuts) and a few raisins.

If you want pre-packaged, I've purchased 100-calorie packs of nuts from both Aldi & Costco recently. Those keep me going a lot longer than any kind of granola bar.
posted by belladonna at 6:59 AM on September 27, 2014

To change things up from nuts, peruse your closest asian and gourmet markets for interesting variations on roasted edamame and other legumes. You can often find them wrapped in single-serving pouches inside a larger bag. These places are also great for finding lots of other snacks. Try roasted seaweed snacks, which also often come individually wrapped. Pumpkin seeds are being roasted with all kinds of good flavors, too.

If you can do a fridge overnight and just need things to be safe for a few hours, I've seen nifty single-serving cups of hummus packaged with pretzels. A hard boiled egg is good for a while, as well as things like salami pre-cut and wrapped in plastic, carrot sticks and broccoli, peanut and other nut butters in a small container with seed-heavy crackers.

If you need everything to be safe for a whole day, look into things like lentil chips, pumpkin and sunflower seed crackers, cheese crisps. Those little cheeses with wax on the outside are an old standby. Check out juiceboxes that don't need to be refrigerated - some of them are just pure sugar and some might taste bad at room temperature, but others might be great depending on what you like for some hydration and sweetness. I've seen coconut water ones that seemed pretty good when not fridge-cold.

Nuts are really what you want but they can be expensive and sometimes monotonous. So if you're buying a lot, get a variety and do a different kind each day. Also store them in the fridge or freezer so they don't spoil.

Lastly, nobody who has experienced the hangries will scoff at peanut m&ms.
posted by Mizu at 7:16 AM on September 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dates, nuts, trail mix, harboiled eggs, apples, bananas, pears, baby carrots. If you're out for the day, make and bring some peanut butter energy balls. They are very easy to throw together. I refrigerate mine and they stay pretty firm.
posted by Fairchild at 7:22 AM on September 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Grapes go quick into a ziploc bag, apples handle being tossed in a backpack better than bananas. Crackers. Baby carrots. grape tomatoes. mini tins of flavoured tuna or tuna salad. Miso soup packets if you're able to get hot water and a cup. Also there are three-in-one instant coffee or tea solo packets that are a good quick fix.
posted by lizbunny at 7:23 AM on September 27, 2014

There are a variety of protein bars which carry well. I like Quest bars for traveling, Bio Nutrition Power Crunch bars at home.
posted by elmay at 7:26 AM on September 27, 2014

I agree that you want protein for this. Jerky is pretty much perfect. I always keep a stick or container with pieces in my bag for just this reason. Sticks are good if you don't want to exhaust your jaws with the pieces. You can get various types of meat (beef, turkey, pork, etc) or you can even get veggie jerky (though I haven't tried it, I've heard good things about Primal Strips).

If you can do refrigerated snacks or something to grab and eat not too much later, yogurt or hard boiled eggs are easy on-the-go snacks.
posted by carrioncomfort at 7:27 AM on September 27, 2014

I have the same problem. I would recommend unsalted nuts such as almond, cashews or even pumpkin seeds. I try to avoid flour and refined sugars.
posted by Nevin at 7:57 AM on September 27, 2014

It depends how quickly you need to get your energy levels back up. A piece of hard candy might be enough to help you focus on going to buy a healthy meal. Fruit Juice is what they recommend for diabetics that need to get blood sugar levels up quickly. Fruit or dried fruit would also work quickly. If you are needing the snack to sustain you for longer after that then something with protein like others have suggested would be your best bet. Trail mix is a good combo, if you get one with dried fruit or dark chocolate in, you get the quick help you focus energy boost, then enough slower energy release goodies to keep you from sugar crashing.
posted by wwax at 8:06 AM on September 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I had the same problem and nothing worked. Or I'd barely chug through the day and at 6pm I'd want to eat ALLTHETTHINGS.

What works for me is this:

5 am breakfast: massive soy powder and psyllium husk and water shake. It comes out more like oatmeal than a shake. At least 32 oz of water with this. If I don't want the shake, I'll scramble at least 4 egg whites and 1/2 lb of spinach or kale or cabbage.

11:30ish: lunch is at least 2-3 cups of protein (grilled tofu, chickpeas and cheese, tuna) mixed with an avocado, a handful of walnuts or macadamia nuts and at least 6 cups of greens. At least another 32 oz of water.

6ish: dinner is 1-2 cups of protein and all the vegetables. Maybe a baked sweet potato. At least another 32 oz of water.

Later snack is apple or carrots with maybe 1/2 cup of almond butter.

I have found through years of practice and error that I need to eat filling and substantial protein/veg combinations in order to not get hangry during the day. If I eat smaller meals and snack with healthy things, I get serious sugar crashes. Cutting out all bread and pasta and sugar and potatoes and rice and all that also have me non-susceptible to mid-day hangry.

I tried all the nuts, bars, cheeses, protein shakes, little sandwiches, popcorn, a lot of things. The only thing that has worked for me is to eat 3 meals that are high in protein and have only vegetable carbs, a late night snack, and that's it.

Once I started eating like a weightlifter, I became a lot less hungry. I'm not a weightlifter, but for me, the protein and fats combined are super filling, I don't want to snack, and I don't get sugar crashes.
posted by kinetic at 8:11 AM on September 27, 2014 [14 favorites]

I always carry one or two of those pouches sold for children that are a mix of yogurt and fruit (Earth's Best Organic Fruit Yogurt Smoothie), a small sealed cup of cut-up fruit (meant to be put in lunches, again for kids), a small UHT container of organic plain or chocolate milk (Horizon makes them, again intended for kids), raisins, hard candy, and packets of pure honey, any one of which will stop the more immediate sugar crash. I follow that up with beef jerky to smooth out the sugar high with some protein. (I don't eat nuts and I don't much like juice.)

Those are things I always have on me, none of which require refrigeration so I can keep them in my handbag at all times.

If I'm throwing snacks in my bag that can go for awhile without refrigeration, I'll add some slices of cheese and whole wheat crackers and a piece of fruit.

When I was really hardcore dieting and/or staying away from any and all sugar, I used to make a sort of hardtack modified from a dog biscuit (yes) recipe that I found online. I called it Biker Chow (I was a biker at the time) and best as I can recall, it was made from protein powder, a bit of whole wheat flour, oat bran and some kind of binder, all baked together. It tasted like ass, so I only went for it when I absolutely had to.
posted by GoLikeHellMachine at 8:16 AM on September 27, 2014

You can't leave them unrefrigerated for more than a couple hours so these aren't the snack to just permanently have in your purse, but single-serving drinkable yogurts are great for me if I know I'll be out and unfed for a few hours. I also permanently carry a mixed nuts bag and a Luna bar.
posted by vegartanipla at 8:19 AM on September 27, 2014

I have a ziploc snack bag! Here's what's in it:

Wellshire Farms Turkey Sticks
Whole Foods Turkey Jerky
Roasted Chickpeas: I make a big bunch of these myself and mix them with with a package of spiced chickpeas (chili or wasabi) I get at Whole Foods for a little extra flavor
Eda-Zen Freeze-dried Edamame (lightly seasoned or salt and pepper)
Freeland Go Live Raw Pumpkin Seed Bars
Raw almonds

I specifically wanted stuff that didn't need to be refrigerated so that I could always be carrying something with me + keep stocked on hand. So I've been buying some of the above in bulk from Amazon or wherever when I can, so I can always keep my snack bag refilled. Super easy.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 8:20 AM on September 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Look into naturebox. My wife gets 'em and they really help cut down on the hangry.
posted by notsnot at 9:00 AM on September 27, 2014

Trader Joe's Simply Cashew, Almond & Cranberry Trek Mix (which they sell in a version prepacked in smaller bags, so you can just grab one and go), string cheese, and citrus fruit (clementines are a good size).
posted by jaguar at 9:04 AM on September 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Macadamia nuts. I buy the big jug at Costco. The protein and fat combo slays hunger. I also like the Justin's almond butter packets. I either eat them alone or smear them on a Quest bar (most bars are way too sweet for me, so adding almond butter helps with that). Also, jerky.
posted by quince at 9:51 AM on September 27, 2014

2nding TJs Simply Cashew, Almond & Cranberry snack packs. There's always one or two of these in my purse, my desk drawer, and my car's cup holder and they've tided me through missing a meal many times.
posted by jamaro at 11:31 AM on September 27, 2014

Seconding macadamia nuts. The fattiness grosses me out if I eat too many, but a small handful is perfect for ending my hanger meltdowns. They're pricey, but I find them to be self regulating. YMMV. I get the salted kind from Trader Joe's and a small bag lasts me about a month.
posted by justjess at 11:52 AM on September 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I discovered this combo while eating up my hurricane supplies: a 50/50 mix of chipotle flavored peanuts and cranberries. Most energy bars leave me unsatisfied because they are not savory, but flavored nuts by themselves are way too salty.
posted by spamandkimchi at 2:39 PM on September 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Peanuts and raisins, with more peanuts than raisins:
- Cheaply and easily sourced in basically any part of the Americas, Europe, and China
- non-perishable through almost all of the temperature and humidity range compatible with human life
- a good glycemic profile (fast-acting because of the simple sugars in the raisins, and a substantial tail from the fat and protein in the peanuts)

Another option: 100% cacao baking chocolate. More expensive, slightly harder to source, and a much slower glycemic profile because there's no sugar. But at least for philistines like me it has the benefit that I can carry it around and not be tempted to snack on it when I don't need to.
posted by d. z. wang at 12:01 AM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Costco sells big jars of unsalted mixed nuts. There are lots of almonds.
posted by Cranberry at 12:01 AM on September 28, 2014

I work from home and have the tendency to "snack" on what a sane person would consider full meals several times a day. It's terrible. I found a snack subscription service at that will send you single-serving snack boxes once a week. I love it so far.

Of course the subscription doesn't fit your needs, but looking at what they have to choose from would be great inspiration. Lots of dried fruit, flavored raisins, nuts, chocolate, and lots of creative mixtures I never would have thought of.
posted by kostia at 5:05 PM on September 28, 2014

« Older Making Breakfast in Bed   |   How can I collect real estate payments due from my... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.