The Nibbler Strikes!
July 19, 2004 1:16 PM   Subscribe

The nibbler strikes! Why can't I just sit here and work (or read MetaFilter) without constantly munching on sunflower seeds, popcorn, gummi bears, and the like? Anyone here ever overcome a too-much-snacking-in-front-of-the-computer habit? Any advice will help. Thanks.
posted by whatnot to Food & Drink (28 answers total)
Nothing wrong with nibbling necessarily, but you should take care what you eat. I like raw almonds & cheerios, both perfectly healthy (unless you're on some low-carb kick). Gummi hears and salted, roasted sunflower seeds just aren't that good for you. Try raw, shelled sunflower seeds. Shelled pumpkin seeds make great munching, too. Cranberry-raisins and unsulphured dry apricots are better for you than gummi-bears.

The concept of saving your appetite for big meals is kinda arbitrary. There's nothing wrong with eating steadily throughout the day. But it sounds like you're mostly eating shit throughout the day. Go gourmet! Hit the bulk section at your local hippie grocery and find some nibbles that won't kill you.
posted by scarabic at 1:24 PM on July 19, 2004

Squeeze a stress ball. Flex your ab muscles. Grab a banana from the fruit stand on the corner and walk around the block. Chew on a pen cap. Play the bass drum and hi-hat in rhythm to the music you are listening to. SIP WATER INSTEAD. Switch to carrots.

After I quit smoking I didn't know how to get through an 8 hour work day. All of the above helped.
posted by remlapm at 1:24 PM on July 19, 2004

Yes, I used to have a supply of wasabi green peas and rice crackers by my keyboard at all times, but by the end of the day I felt so bloated and ill (especially with all that MSG) that I realized I should cut down.

Bottle of water (not cheap juice or soda!) helps as a substitute for the munchies, giving your mouth an occasional something to do while hydrating you at the same time. Downside is that you go to the restroom almost every hour.

On preview: yup.
posted by brownpau at 1:26 PM on July 19, 2004

Had you been reading the front page of Metafilter today you would know that there is no way to stop. You are a victim of the media, forced into a life of eating junk food. It's not your fault. The good news is, this is healthy for the most part, and if it gets out of hand DSS will simply take you away from your parents. As they should. Oh, and some people hate you for it. You fat fuck.

(that was sarcasm)

In all seriousness, just get rid of all the junk food. Keep it the hell away from you. If you must put something in your mouth (*cough*), nibble on a pen or an eraser.
posted by bondcliff at 1:29 PM on July 19, 2004

Icewater! I drink icewater and chew on ice all day long. The crunching probably drives everyone else in the office nuts but it keeps me sane.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:30 PM on July 19, 2004

Reading that horrible fat thread has made me not want to eat again, ever.
posted by GaelFC at 1:38 PM on July 19, 2004

We are actually evolved to nibble pretty constantly. But we're supposed to be nibbling on roots and berries, plus the occasional insect, centipede or baby bird. Word to the wise...
posted by jfuller at 1:41 PM on July 19, 2004

Best answer: water, water, water.

And stop smoking so much dope. ;)
posted by mkultra at 1:41 PM on July 19, 2004

I'm reliably informed that celery has negative calories.

*runs off to vending machine for some salty, oily, starchy chips.
posted by Capn at 1:41 PM on July 19, 2004

Sugar-free gum is working for me today. I'm reading this thread with great interest, since I have the same problem.
posted by nprigoda at 1:45 PM on July 19, 2004

Response by poster: And stop smoking so much dope. ;)

damn, stone cold busted.
posted by whatnot at 1:58 PM on July 19, 2004

Best answer: I think that the urge to nibble really has a great deal to do with what you ate before you got the urge to nibble. For me, certain things always trigger hunger later in the day, maybe it's the same for you too. Those things (for me) are anything made with flour or sugar, like bread, or pasta, or cake. If I eat something like that for lunch, you can bet your butt that I'll be stuffing my face all afternoon. I could eat salad or fruit or yoghurt or have a chicken breast with a side of sauteed veggies...anything like that, and be perfectly happy until dinnertime. But add flour or sugar to the mix and watch out for the munchie monster.

Why don't you try an experiment and eat, say, a starch-heavy lunch one day (a sub or pasta or something), and then something like salad and chicken the next, and maybe natural yoghurt and fruit the next, just to see what happens?
posted by iconomy at 2:00 PM on July 19, 2004

Don't buy it in the first place. That's the best eating aid I've found.

(Note: only works if you live alone.)
posted by smackfu at 2:17 PM on July 19, 2004

I like raw almonds & cheerios

NB: there's been a huge recall of raw almonds due to salmonella contanimation.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:24 PM on July 19, 2004

Also, I find the best way to not nibble is to not submit to the urge in the first place. It's like potato chips (for me): it's so very difficult to eat just one, that it's easier to just eat none.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:26 PM on July 19, 2004

Snacking itself is fine; I find that a mid-afternoon snack helps me avoid being so ravenous come dinner time that I eat any junk that's handy, like say fast food. I definitely second carrots, particularly the baby-cut ones. There's no preparation to stand in the way, they fill that need for something crispy, and they're far more filling than chips. And don't try to go cold turkey at first -- even if you cut your chip consumption by half, that's still pretty good.
posted by boomchicka at 3:38 PM on July 19, 2004

Best answer: iconomy's point is really the foundation of all those "low-carb" approaches like South Beach.

Not to come down on one side or the other on how well they work, but the basic premise is that carbohydrates (including the fructose in sweet fruits, and especially in the high-fructose corn syrup that's in everything) cause a spike in your blood sugar.

The resulting crash in your sugar levels apparently causes you to crave more sugars/carbs, even if you're not really "hungry" for lack of food, so snacking on anything with a high "glycemic index" keeps you in a vicious cycle of little spikes and crashes all day long. If you find this is true for you, try starting your day without a lot of toast, potatoes, maple syrup, etc., and then popping some nuts or seeds when you do feel a craving.
posted by LairBob at 3:44 PM on July 19, 2004

Best answer: Eat frozen grapes. They're especially good in the summer and they give you that little kick of sweetness without eating a candy bar or something.
posted by amandaudoff at 3:55 PM on July 19, 2004

Raisins are good, too.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:02 PM on July 19, 2004

Ask your boss to implement a no eating policy around the computers. Are you trying to curb a habit or just cut down on your snacking?

Sounds like your bored while you are reading the net. Eating finger foods gives your fingers something to do. Try squeezing a hand ball or yo-yo while you read. If you were reading a book in your hands you wouldn’t be able to use them - why I point this out.

I’ve heard almonds and cashews as a mid afternoon snack will curb an over eating appetite during dinner{something you may find comfort in if you are concerned you’re over eating while snacking at the computer. This may not fix your problem yet it may bring a benefit in a meal later.

To break a habit - just try stop doing it. While at the same time forgetting the facts of how long you’ve NOT done it. It will just happen and looking back when you fail will add to the memory’s habits which you are trying to weed out of your mind. One “stinking” day - who cares if you fail - there is always tomorrow which is THE clean slate keeping the count by.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:04 PM on July 19, 2004

Take up smoking!!
posted by jazzkat11 at 5:45 PM on July 19, 2004

In addition to ice water, consider some tea -- green tea especially -- which is flavorful and healthy. Brew it fresh, mind you, don't rely on that crappy bottled stuff that has a ton of sugar or fakey fake chemical flavorings and preservatives that tend to negate all the healthful properties of the tea itself. Brew some up, pour it over some ice. Swirl in a little local honey if you need it sweet. Yummy!
posted by Dreama at 6:11 PM on July 19, 2004

I've kinda taken to chewing on straws. I really like gummy candies (like twizzlers, gummy bears, gummy sour straws, etc.). But I'd eat a whole bag of 'em in an afternoon. A coffee stirrer or straw will give you something to munch on that's got no calories.

Be sure to dispose of your straws promptly, preferably not in front of an entire meeting. *Damn they ugly!*
posted by zpousman at 7:07 PM on July 19, 2004

Chew on ice. Mmmm, ice.
posted by The God Complex at 7:53 PM on July 19, 2004

I have to go with the "break out of the three meal a day cycle" statements. It is ok to eat every three hours and studies show you actually weigh less if you do than if you eat only three (or two or less!) times a day. When you keep your blood sugar level you eat less at meals.

So nibble. Just sub chips and junk for the things mentioned above. Personally, I choose nuts, dried fruits, regular fruits, hippy trail mix, and sushi. In fact, I am at work right now eating a mix of fresh cherries (BING!) and green grapes. This will also help you get your 5 servings of veg and fruit a day.
posted by jopreacher at 9:29 PM on July 19, 2004

Response by poster: awesome! thanks everybody!
posted by whatnot at 9:47 PM on July 19, 2004

Drink tons of water at your desk. This gives you the side benefit of bathroom breaks every ten minutes.
posted by Succa at 4:16 AM on July 20, 2004

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