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Which snacks to beat pre-dinner munchies/diet sabotage?

So, blah, yeah, I’m trying to drop a few pounds, in a healthy, non-depriving way. I exercise before work; eat a small, healthy balanced breakfast, have a healthy mid-morning snack; eat a small balanced lunch; and have a healthy afternoon snack. All is good. Maybe I could stand to drink more water during the day, rather than Diet Coke. (Note to self.)

But, here’s the problem: the second I walk in the door when I get home from work (and it doesn’t matter what time it is, 5pm, 7pm, 8pm, it’s always the same behavior, unless I’ve been out for dinner), I am immediately famished, as if I haven’t eaten all day. Suddenly, I find myself foraging in the cupboards and fridge for something to snack on—usually salty and crunchy, and seldom healthy. Alas, there are many salty, crunchy snacks in my home, usually brought in by someone other than me (for good reason, because I have ZERO willpower.) And, if I pour myself a nice glass of wine while cooking dinner or whatever, I’m such a lightweight that the willpower problem is magnified tenfold. I think this is mostly habit, and perhaps a very ineffective way of dealing with work stress, although, it is quite possible that I genuinely do need a small pre-dinner snack since I’m eating only small meals throughout the day.

Do you have any recommendations for which easy, tasty, healthy, snacks I might have on hand to snack on when I get home from work so that I won’t continue to sabotage my dinner and my efforts to drop a few pounds? (And, am I alone in this problem?)


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  1. You are NOT alone, friend--believe me. One of my problems with eating at work is that I have to eat a meal slooowly to feel sated...it must be the way I digest. If I wolf something down (which how most in my office eat lunch), then my body doesn't "register" fullness. I have somewhat solved this by eating mini-meals throughout the work day, but that's another issue. :)

    Now take my two cents from a NOT skinny girl....but one who, like you, fights the good fight. The first thing I do getting home is to drink a HUGE glass of ice water. I hate water, but ice cold water is more palatable to me, especially with liberal lemon added. Another thing that works for me is to have the crunch I crave with something spicy. If your tolerance of spicy foods allows try this because, for some reason, spicy foods fill me more than bland ones. A typical snack for me would be celery sticks with hot salsa dip. In the winter I like a cup of chicken broth with a shot of Cholula or sriracha. I bet other posters will have more exciting ideas!

    1 Reply
    1. re: thegolferbitch

      edamame is a good snack and also kashi TLC crackers are good and filling.

      i am terrible at remembering to drink water but i have recently been using the crystal light on the go packets and they are great - without even thinking i end up drink 6-8 bottles of water a day.

    2. Oh, I definitely have this problem, and sometimes resolve it by deciding to eat whatever leftovers I have on hand, regardless of time, and calling it dinner.

      Of course, this doesn't solve your dilemma. When I get home and *need snacks, but know I have to eat a real dinner later, I'll either have a handful of raw almonds (which did take awhile to get used to, but now I love them), a small piece of really good cheese ("really good", so that the intense flavor satisfies me), or a hard-boiled egg. Or I'll make some instant miso soup. It's all about the salty stuff for me. I also purposefully don't keep snacks around, because that derails me so quickly it's pathetic (although it doesn't sound like you have that option).

      3 Replies
      1. re: jacinthe

        I'm with you on the raw almonds thing. At first, they seemed weird and now I prefer them to roasted/salted ones. Although the Blue Diamond Wasabi Soy Sauce ones will always be my preferred crack source.

        I like to pair a small handful of raw almonds with a low fat string cheese.

        Trader Joes sells great soy sauce/flax crackers that are fairly low cal / high flavor.

        If i want sweet, i try to keep frosted shredded wheat on hand. It's filling and not too bad calorie wise.

        Yeah, that after work snack attack is brutal.

        1. re: jacinthe

          I love the miso soup idea. Something warm is always more filling.

          Weight Watchers also has a great vegetable soup recipe that it's useful to keep on hand. I have added a bit of Parm cheese to it to make it more interesting. I also sometimes add other vegetables: mushrooms, spinach or whatever i have around. http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs...

          1. re: chicgail

            I've been looking for this recipe, thanks!

        2. I try to keep a bowl of baby carrots in the fridge, or celery sticks, ak-mak crackers and hummus, in case I need something to munch on while making dinner. I'm also addicted to these cinnamon-spiced dried apples which are not bad at all for mindless snacking. The ice water thing is a good idea too!

          3 Replies
          1. re: Raedia

            i soak the carrots in a mix of 1/2 balsamic vinegar 1/2 real maple syrup. the cold plus the sweet plus the pucker means you can eat a few like you would chips or pretzels-- no guilt (although i gave up guilt years ago). flavored sparkling mineral water over lots of ice, & tea as others are saying. homemade pickles. an apple a day-- and the pourable yogurt you can get here in MSP in the co-ops & whole foods-- the raspberry or mixed berry or mango kind-- the one in the glass bottle. . .

            good homemade miso soup w veggies

            make lowfat white or black bean dip w garlic, spread a dollop on a pita triangle, roll up around a crunchy raw veggie for snack attack

            you can have grapefruit w dusting of brown sugar for dessert w/o too much guilt, less calories than sorbet, run under the broiler for retro value

            don't know if you're trying to be low carb, but to me everything is better on toast-- you can make bruschetta/crostini topped with teeny amounts of well-flavored leftovers or lowfat cheese-- toasted it is very satisfying and you'll wind up eat less than you would just snacking-- sprinkle on xtra sea salt and you've got your salty snack before dinner-- something to soak up your glass of wine :)

            1. re: soupkitten

              I'm not trying to be low-carb, though I do try to avoid refined starches in favor of whole grains where I can. I must try that grapefruit under the broiler thing. Are you serious? I've never heard of that!


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                oh it used to be a big brunch thing! it's really good for dessert or snacking though!

          2. Almond (or other nut) butter on apple slices (raw or dried) makes a difference for me. Also nut butter on Ryvita fruit and oat crackers (or whatever they're called)....doesn't take much to be satisfying...oh and add a cup of hot tea....I make the snack while the tea is brewing...

            1 Reply
            1. re: fauchon

              Yeah, tea...I've got your number. I just wrote more or less the same thing.

            2. I have this problem too. Some snacks I enjoy: celery and peanut butter, smoked salmon with a lite cream cheese, hard boiled eggs, carrots and hummus, I really like cottage cheese but know a lot of ppl don't. I think the key for me is to eat a good amount of protein in order to feel satiated. Good luck!

              1. i definitely understand. i agree with past replies on drinking a big glass of water or diet carbonated drink or something that fills you up instantly. and then go about your business, opening mail, answering phone messages, etc. whatever you do normally when you return from home that doesn't involve food.

                the other thing you can do is have a bowl of fruit salad ready and waitng for you in the fridge when you come home. it's easy to parcel out the fruit and it takes a while to eat while you're doing other stuff. the water in the fruit will fill you up and it's healthy!

                good luck! :)

                5 Replies
                1. re: taylor_blair

                  Oh, you are SOOOO not alone....
                  The BF was recently diagnosed with diabetes, controllable by diet, and the diet totally fits with me losing 20 pounds...And I always have that munchy thing...

                  I process large amounts of veggies, and have them ready in the fridge...Blanched brocolli, sliced radishes, steamed green beans, all in as many different flavors of vinaigrette or marinade as i can think of. The current fave is a Korean marinade that's 1 teaspoon sesame oil, one Tablespoon soy sauce, a clove of garlic, some pepper flakes, and a sprinke of sesame seeds, again, a teaspoon. You wouldn't believe how far those teasoons go to add flavor, an when you toss this with warm veggies, it speads over a pound or so, and you can eat it chilled whenever you want. Sliced zucchini, works too. i think having them lightly steamed and flavorful makes a big difference. I also do a bean sprout salad that has similar ingredients, with some chopped scallions.

                  As someone mentioned, salsa is your friend. Especially with sliced jicama, or again, any chilled, blanched veggie. I love green beans dipped in honey mustard.

                  i sometimes do a little hummous, but I think that and nuts are a little dicey with my lack of will-power. I did a dip this weekend of fromage blanc(no fat, no cholesterol, better mouthfeel than yogurt and less tangy) with a little pesto stirred in. Really good.

                  1. re: galleygirl

                    wow that sounds like a great flavor component for veggies!
                    What a great thread!

                    We're all in this thing together.

                    1. re: galleygirl

                      That Korean marinade sounds great. I'm going to try it. My best to the Commodore.

                      1. re: yumyum

                        Thanks! If you're not diabetic, you can add a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to it, as well...I actually just checked the ben sprout recipe, and it only calls for 1 tspn salt,,1 garlic clove,1/2 tspn. seasame oil, 1 tspn sesame seeds. no soy sauce....

                      2. re: galleygirl

                        In the summer I usually keep some kind of quick pickle in the fridge. Sliced cucumbers and onions work for me. Cider vinegar, a little sugar, salt and pepper, some dry mustard and prepared horseradish to get the heat level you want.

                    2. You aren't alone, not by a long shot.

                      I hate dieting and have to go the "don't eat the entire package" route. If I tell myself I can't have any, about 3 days later I WILL eat the entire package. Stress is a problem, and it's not going away anytime soon. So sometimes when I get home from the office, I'll walk the dog, do some weeding or spend a half an hour working on a painting I've started. Anything to keep me out of the kitchen until I settle down from the day and the drive. Then I'll have a glass of wine and start dinner on a more even keel.

                      But sometimes, I am hungry and so I keep a few things around for those days. I always have almonds in the pantry. They're good for you, have the good fats in them and (bless their little almondy hearts) they are crunchy and salty. Pistachios too.

                      I also like soy crisps, they come in a white cheddar or a 'sticky bun' flavor here. They make me feel virtuous since soy is supposed to be good for you. But they are crunchy and salty and the sticky bun flavor is good on a mad sweets day - those happen occasionally...

                      I'm sure someone will have even better ideas for you!
                      Good luck!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Cookiefiend

                        Soy crisps rock! The entire bags is under 350 calories so even if you binge, it's not like the 1000+ calories you would end up with in a bag of cheetos. Ideally, you would only want a serving size (1/3 of the bag), of course!

                        As others have pointed out, you want low calorie, high volume. I occassionally will buy mushrooms and lightly salt them and eat them like chips. Air popped pop corn is great too! For sweet (which is my weakness), a BIG bowl of the fat-free cool whip with a drizzle of chocolate syrup works wonders! Also some fruit with splenda on top to sweeten it up even more is good.....

                        1. re: L_W

                          I have actually heard that eating raw mushrooms isn't good for you; something about low levels of some sort of toxin. . . http://www.food-info.net/uk/qa/qa-saf...

                      2. I feel so much better (and not so alone in my struggle), already! And these are all terrific ideas! I knew I could count on my fellow 'hounds!

                        As a twist on the ice-water idea, I might try to drink a glass of non-fat milk right away, in addition to trying some of all of the other great ideas you guys have. I'm always looking for more excuses to drink milk and it usually makes me feel full.


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          I do a small cup of non-fat yogurt - like you, I'm always trying to get more calcium. It's sweet and takes a little while to eat. I find it very satisfying. Oh, and the almonds.

                        2. I'm on board with the good cheese idea (the protein is great for satiating that growl)... and if you put it on a few RF Triscuits, you get the salt/crunch satisfaction, along with some whole-grain fibery goodness! :-)

                          1. I feel your pain! ;>) I do the cold water thing first, after feeding the kitty, and then while I'm cooking, I sip on a large glass of 2 oz pure cranberry juice diluted in 14 oz seltzer. It's refreshing, and keeps me from noshing. Carrot and celery sticks are also my "friends" that I keep on hand.

                            1. Oh yes! I find that if I start with even one processed salty srunchy thing, I am doomed. That whole "can't eat just one" thing. My current go-to is a small really good crisp apple (Fuji from farmers market) and a small small chunk of very flavorful cheese. I alternate slices of apple (gives me the crunch) with tiny bites of the salty flavorful cheese. Drinking water with the apple seems to "expand" it and fill that hole. If things are really bad I find a mix of half V-8 and half broth with a splash of hot sauce, nuked and sipped in a cup is also really helpful.

                              1. Nori.
                                I recently bought a container of "Hot'n Spicy Teriyaki Nori." A piece (about one inch by three) has ONE calorie. They're too spicy for me to eat more than a couple at a time and they're actually good for me.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Glencora

                                  My secret weapon! Plus it's high in vitamin A, which I have trouble getting elsewhere.

                                  1. re: Glencora

                                    this sounds promising! where do you find this?

                                  2. You know, your small lunch or afternoon snack could be doing you in. I find that when I'm careful all day it's much easier to go nuts in the evening. Maybe if lunch or the pm snack were more substantial you'd feel satisfied longer. For me, it helps if my afternoon snack has fat/protein. I don't mean Ruffles and dip, but maybe hummus or peanut butter and apples or a bit of cheese or ... so many great snack ideas on this thread!
                                    It really takes the edge off for me so I don't binge at home.

                                    Good luck! I'm trying to drop a few myself. Ugh.

                                    1. Keep a plastic container in the fridge with carrot and celery sticks, radishes, pickles, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper slices. Also a smaller container with a dip you mixed up from low fat plain yogurt and the powder from an envelope of Lipton's onion soup.
                                      But, personally, I prefer hot tea. The last thing I usually do before leaving home is to fill a tea mug with water and pour it into the kettle. That way all I have to do is turn on the stove and 2 minutes later I've got a cup of hot tea which relaxes me a lot better than stuffing food in my mouth. Not that I don't love to eat, because I do love to eat. But, when I walk in the door my tired, stressed soul wants tea more than anything else - it just slows you down from 78 to 33 1/3 quicker than anything else. THEN I can think about what I REALLY want to eat.

                                      I live in SF, where it's never really hot, hot, hot. But if it did get hot, I'd keep a container of iced tea in the fridge at all times. Which would be just fine with artificial sweetening & lemon.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: niki rothman

                                        OTOH, if you had an elec kettle you'd have to wait only 1+ min...lol...

                                        We keep a container of idea tea (I use the peppermint from Uptontea) in the fridge all year, winter & summer, hot and cold weather...won't be without it....

                                          1. re: niki rothman

                                            OTOH=on the other hand.

                                            All great suggestions, really. Also, I'm making a note of the idea that maybe I need a different kind of afternoon snack or a more robust lunch (I think my lunch is really okay, though.)

                                            The planning ahead thing, of course, is a great idea but, of course, the times when I'm so stressed out that I haven't had time to plan ahead are when the cravings are the worst.

                                            And, yes, maybe I'd better hold off on the wine altogether, or at least until dinner!


                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              About planning ahead...
                                              That sounds so off-putting. Who wants to plan ahead? Not me either.
                                              But what I do, what you can do, is when you come home from the store & unload the veg. & fruit - PREP THEM IMMEDIATELY. Don't even put UNCLEAN fruit & veg. in the fridge. These days we have to wash everything we can anyway - that IS what the health news is saying everywhere the topic comes up.

                                              SOooo...I just dump the unwashed ton of string beans, squash, asparagus, etc. etc. I go through in a week into a big pot with a small amount of water (heats faster) cover and blanch. This effectively cleans and keeps them fresher longer than storing raw (I have taste-tested this) and gets them ready to put into anything from a salad to a stir fry at the last minute. I can just grab and serve, rather than having to clean and cook a bunch of smaller amounts all week long.

                                              I set up to do this for all my cookable veg. with a colander to rinse cold, and plastic bags, and a container of twist ties all set to go when I come home from food shopping, or, ideally, my husband brings home the groceries.

                                              Just think about how much time and grief this actually SAVES. For fruit you just toss them in the sink and add some mild soap and hot water, smoosh them around with your hands, rinse well and place on the counter to dry on a pile of newspapers - then go do something else, come back and bag them or put them in your bowl and no washing has to be done throughout the week.
                                              I can just go into the fridge and fill a bowl with cherries and strawberries to eat without worrying about washing them. If you prep first it is more likely you will eat the healthy stuff. Once you get in the habit you won't see any sense in NOT doing it. Can you see what a time saver it is to just do it all in one swoop?
                                              Wash strawberries, air dry, and store in a glass jar in the fridge. This is magic. They will NOT get moldy. Magic.

                                      2. Not trying to lose weight, but do love me a tasty little snack when I get home from work. Currently doing the pretzel thing - newman's are pretty good and they come in the little bite sized pieces like snyder's do but without some of the gross (mustard and onion) flavorings. Also a big fan of a really good, possibly stinky piece of cheese and a pink lady. Sometimes I go the hummus and carrot stick route. I tend to eat my fruit salad in the afternoon. During the summer I brew huge amounts of iced honey bush tea and have a big glass of that over ice when I get home. Fluids definitely fill you up.

                                        1. This totally happens to me, and it's worse since I got pregnant. I HAVE to eat at 5 pm -- no matter how big my lunch was, or my 3 pm snack, I am FAMISHED by 5. And dinner is usually closer to 8. To stop myself from stopping at Taco Bell on the way home (it has happened) I build in a good snack that I pack and take to work with me. Stuffed grape leaves have been good (I like Trader Joe's), half a PB sandwich, some cheese and crackers, a deviled egg. Has to have protein, and preferably a little fat and a little carbs. The plus side is that if I eat a good snack, I eat a smaller dinner, so I like to think it balances out

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Amuse Bouches

                                            Congrats on the baby-cooking Amuse.

                                            I highly recommend a substantial snack on the way home from work.. Usually, my snack is a large baggie of raw veggies (crudite if you feel fancy) or a protein bar (currently Clif bars because I got tired of the other brands).

                                            1. re: ElissaInPlaya

                                              Today my 5 pm snack is salt cod brandade on crackers. Have you tried Lara bars? Those are my keep in my purse for emergencies snack.

                                          2. Perhaps part of the problem is not planning ahead. I find that when I am foraging for snack I tends to eat whatever is right in front of me. Try preparing snacks before hand. Like chunks of cheese or rice snacks, cut up veggies, or yoghurt cuos.

                                            1. Wow so many of us share the same situation. I am with all of the above.
                                              I try to either make my own salsa, or buy fesh from a good source. I scoop it with celery and cucumbers. I use a fat free yogurt based ranch dip (go easy on this one) and then I also love radishes.
                                              If I want something sweet I do love the carmel rice cakes, with a little peanut butter. Or if its my lunch I make a light weight p&J on the carmel rice cake. I am addicted to sugar free popsicles. I get a lot of satisfaction from the icy crunch - 15 calories.
                                              Slices of granny smith apples sprinkled with a little salt ( I know) fills me quicker than anything else.
                                              If I have planned well, I make appetizers, I love the fresh imperial rolls filled with crunchy carrots, lettuce, cilantro, mint, basil, whatever, sometimes shrimp. These really help with cutting that starved feeling and then I don't eat as much at dinner.
                                              Lettuce Wraps are anothe good appetizer. If you make the Thai meat mixture the night before, and have the lettuce all ready to go - just microwave the meat, add fresh cilantro, set out the sauces (low cal & lowfat ones) and you will be amazed at how well this works. And you don't feel guilty.
                                              Pickled veggies! Jalapenoes, Mexican Pickled Veggies, Kimchee, or plain dill pickles help too.

                                              I had to just cut the wine out completely, I found it made me sleepy and I was constantly giving into wanting to "treat" myself. A cocktail is after all meant to increase the appetite. So no more wine for me. Instead a diet drink or a Pellegrino with a straw in a pretty glass, it works for me anyway. I save the wine for maybe one night on the weekend, use a smaller wine glass, and limit myself to two.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                can you post your ranch dip? I'd like to make one with yogurt.

                                                1. re: gini

                                                  And can you post what you use for the Thai meat wraps, and the sauces? Thanks....

                                                  1. re: galleygirl

                                                    Pardon the interruption folks, but we've moved the recipes for the Thai meat wraps and the ranch dressing to the home cooking board: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/407057 and http://www.chowhound.com/topics/407060 Thank you.

                                              2. A couple of ounces of your favorite chocolate, eaten slowly and savor.

                                                1. Dairy Queen, I'm thinking you are not eating enough during the day, especially around 4 - 5 pm -- what you might call a pre-dinner snack.

                                                  Most folks experience a bit of hunger or sleepiness at that time -- it seems to be part of a normal cycle. If you're famished when you get home, ready to rip open bags of snacks, it tells me that late in the afternoon you need to eat a carton of yogurt (I prefer low-fat, and those without fruit jams or preserves), a handful of nuts, some carrots, a really great crisp apple, to tie you over till dinner. My favorite is an ounce chunk of sharp aged cheddar and an apple.

                                                  Personally, I avoid chips, rice cakes and salty snacks (calories and the quick insulin jump are no good for losing weight) as well as nut butters (too caloric and easy to eat too much).

                                                  Good luck to you...you definitely are not alone in this.

                                                  1. If you aren't sensitive to sodium and can find a turkey jerky without a lot of additives (I love the Snackmasters brand), jerky makes a great snack and definitely satisfies the salty craving.

                                                    1. Hi, DQ, two suggestions:

                                                      Trader Joe's makes nice little individual bags of nuts and trail mix -- one is called Just a Handful of Almonds and the other is Just a Handful of Fruits and Nuts. I prefer the latter: you get raw cashews, almonds and dried cranberries. It is enough to provide good fat, energy and get you through to dinner.

                                                      Second, do NOT drink Diet Coke when you are trying to stave off hunger, and try to avoid it altogether. It is has sodium and chemicals and unless you get the caffeine-free version, it is jolting you awake and making you thirsty because caffeine dehydrates you.

                                                      I almost never drink it any more except as a special treat. Instead, I drink plain water or Pellegrino, sometimes with a couple ounces of lemonade mixed in, or just a lime or lemon wedge. It has the bubbles, but with no chemicals and far less sodium (there is still a but.) You can find it at Target now in these dandy plastic bottles, and it's also available by the case at Costco and Sam's, as well as other places.

                                                      Try substituting a Pellegrino or Perrier or just plain old fizzy water every other time for Diet Coke. Especially now that summer is here, anything water-y is a much better choice.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: brendastarlet

                                                        no diet coke? how sad:( It only has 40 mg of sodium in 12 oz.

                                                        1. re: ElissaInPlaya

                                                          Diet Coke -- indeed, all diet soda -- pulls the phosphorus out of your bones and will cause you to get osteoporosis at a very young age! It may taste good to you, but it is very dangerous for your health. I am not making this up. You can check the facts on line anywhere.

                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                            Plus, I recently read somewhere that it can make you hungrier (because of the sweetener or the sweet taste). One reason I don't drink it is that it's basically just a chemical drink! Nothing in it is good or natural for your body. And I'm afraid that the sweetener will raise your insulin and then make you crave more food (even though it's not real sugar).

                                                      2. Hey, this is not a direct answer to your question, but I know that if I don't eat some good bread for breakfast the rest of the day my appetite could do anything. I think breakfast is THE most important thing, I don't know what you're eating now, but it could be influencing things. I buy my bread at whole foods, organic ciabatta sliced, and have it with some almond butter or regular butter with lemon. Don't forget to drink water throughout the day too.

                                                        1. So long as it isn't too heavy on olive oil, gazpacho is a great pre-dinner snack. Lots of veggies and plenty of liquid to make you feel full. Especially nice in the summertime. Even just a glass of tomato juice with a few dashes of hot sauce can help take the edge off for me.

                                                          You are not alone..... :)

                                                          1. For me salt and spice can almost kill my appetite (I love a good Bloody Mary but not before dinner)! For you, a spicy bottle of V-8 may be an idea, also a good dill pickle (read refrigerated crisp, not limp room temp) goes a along way, or maybe a few pepperochinnis (sp?).

                                                            1. This happens to me several times a week! The most effective snack I've come up with, which works like a charm, is spicy pickled carrots. In fact I'm about to open up the jar right now. I make the carrots myself or buy them from a guy at our farmers market who sells them. Basically it's vinegar, water, sugar, bay leaves, garlic, jalapenos, peppercorns, other spices as you like, heat to boiling, dump in carrots, turn off heat, and let them sit in the liquid until cool, then refrigerate. They keep for a long, long time, and the combination of the sour and the sweet really distract my appetite and keep me from mowing down everything in sight. Here is an example of a recipe which you can customize as you like. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                                                              And here is the vendor I buy my carrots from. http://happygirlkitchen.com/line/pickles

                                                              Here are some other ideas of what I've found effective.

                                                              --nonfat yogurt with a spoonful of fruit preserves
                                                              --hummus with a few whole wheat crackers or raw carrots
                                                              --string cheese

                                                              1. So many elaborate suggestions! How about an apple or a banana?
                                                                Spicy is good too if it makes you eat slowly.

                                                                1. I agree with all the baby carrot/crudités suggestions. Since you like salty/savoury, you could also try:

                                                                  Salted edamame
                                                                  Japanese rice crackers
                                                                  Light popcorn (one of those 100-calorie bags)
                                                                  Roasted chickpeas
                                                                  Just Veggies! snacks http://www.justtomatoes.com/html/1veg...

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: piccola

                                                                    I was going to recommend edamame as well.

                                                                    Also nice is the Laughing Cow light cheese on some triscuits.

                                                                  2. This is gonna sound silly, but there are these new Hoodia lollipops that really help to curb appetite. You eat one half an hour before a meal with a glass of water, and it works wonders.

                                                                    That said, an apple w/ cheese is a great snack because it fills a crunch factor, and the cheese mitigates the blood sugar spike with some protein... Laughing cow is perfect.

                                                                    I like to have a bowl of chopped, approved veggies in the fridge... Green shredded cabbage, cucumber, celery, a few carrots, peppers if you like em, hearts of palm, cauliflower, broccoli (blanced for me please), asparagus, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, sprinkled with garlic salt or just salt and some seasoned vinegar or balsamic... great munchies because they tire out your jaw. Vinegar also really really helps with satiety, so sprinkling it on munchies is a great idea.

                                                                    Protein is also good to have pre-meal, i.e. a slice or two of turkey or chicken because it helps to satiate you, and because it takes 20 minutes or so for fullness to register from stomach to brain, it's great to get the message of protein satiety going before the meal even begins, so your fullness registers even quicker.

                                                                    There's one other thing that I've heard of but can't get myself to try... It's a glass of water with pepper, honey, and vinegar... Yup.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Emme

                                                                      it must be hard to be a chowhound and diet as you do at the same time!

                                                                      1. re: fara

                                                                        Yes, and no depending on who you ask. This is an interesting discussion on another board at the moment:

                                                                        1. re: fara

                                                                          There's such a difference between dieting and healthy conscious eating. I run 50 miles a week, so there's less of a calorie press for me, but that said, I still like to put quality ingredients into my *machine.* I also have a penchant for vegetables--I'd rather have a big plate full of steamed cauliflower than a bowl of pasta, just personal preference of taste buds. I don't deprive myself of anything, but because I eat less junk, my body craves it less, and actually craves whole ingredients. That said, the key for me is my activity (a bit excessive yes), but even moderate activity keeps the machine running better, and those that exercise regularly are less affected by the occasional treat/binge--the body just processes and deals with the excess more efficiently. The OP asked for suggestions;and though I don't regularly adhere to all of them, I hope they help someone :-)

                                                                      2. I've tried the vegetable/fruit thing after work, and I'm generally a big fan. I'm always hungry when I get home, but don't have dinner until my roommate gets home from work several hours later.
                                                                        Some days though I get home and need something more... comfort-food-ish. After a few days like that in a row that ended up in me eating a lot of ice cream and left over pasta, I decided enough was enough. So I made a black bean salad that ended up lasting me about a week's worth of after-work snacks (maybe a lunch too) that was perfect - protein, a little sour, a little spice... just what I wanted!
                                                                        I used one can of black beans, cooked kernels from two ears of corn, a red bell pepper finely chopped, mixed with a dressing made of olive oil, juice of one lime, a finely chopped shallot, some dijon mustard, a touch of sugar, salt, pepper, and red chili flakes. Took me about 10 minutes to make one afternoon, and I was set for a week!

                                                                        1. Popsicles! Low-calorie, sugar-free ones work. They're easy - no chopping or mixing, just pull it out of the fridge. I prefer the Trader Joe's popsicles which have chunks of real fruit in them - the caribbean fruit ones are especially tasty. Plus, eating popsicles always takes a while, so you can kill time and hydrate simultaneously. :) good luck!

                                                                          1. I'm SOOOO there with you! My hubby doesn't get home until at least 2 hours after me and I'm always munchie after work. We're doing WW - so I'm trying to find low points snacks. Lately it's been a cup of soup - particularly the butternut squash soup from trader joe's - 2 points with a spoonful of soy sour cream. BBQ soy crisps, a handful of pretzels, pita and hummus are also favorites. my hubby liks baby carrots dipped in salsa.
                                                                            best of luck to you!

                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                            1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                              Soy Sour Cream? WHat's that like? I like some soy milks and I like tofu, but often I find I don't like soy as a replacement in dairy. I think it's a texture thing. Also why I don't like no fat sour cream LOL (as I lick the spoon after tossing a dollop into pasta salad)

                                                                              1. re: starlady

                                                                                Fromage blanc.....skimmed milk cheese, traditionally from france. 120 calories for 8 ounces, no cholesterol, no fat...A godsend for the cholesterol crowd...tastes like it shouldn't be good for you! A little tangy, but not like yogurt.....

                                                                                Ferran Adria suggested making instant ice cream with it in a Food and Wine article....I came up with this recipe.....For you WW people, it has NO points!

                                                                                Instant Healthy Strawberry Ice Cream
                                                                                1/2 16 oz, pkg. frozen strawberries
                                                                                1 8 oz. container fromage Blanc
                                                                                1/4 c. sugar (or your favorite artificial sweetener)

                                                                                Whir your berries in a food processor, with the sugar, til they resemble slush. Add the fromage blanc. Keep processing, til it looks like the consistency you like, scraping down the bowl as needed. Voila!
                                                                                C’est magnifique, n’est pas?

                                                                                1. re: galleygirl

                                                                                  I've been making frozen yogurt that way for years. Works with other frozen fruit, too - I like frozen mango most.

                                                                                2. re: starlady

                                                                                  Haha I'm eating a tuna sandwich made from Nayonaise (soy mayonnaise). I don't like mayonnaise anyway, I only use it because it's supposed to be in tuna salad. It tastes completely fine, and it's better for you. I've been known to eat soy cheese sandwiches as well, I think they taste fine. Not totally like cheese, but fine nonetheless.

                                                                                  1. re: janethepain

                                                                                    Hmmm, I thought Nayonaise was so vile in taste and consistancy that I actually returned it, and I'll pretty much eat anything made with soy...I thought it was pretty nasty...I'm gonnah have to go back to chancing the chemicals in n-fat mayo....

                                                                                    1. re: galleygirl

                                                                                      i think veganaise is the best tasting non-mayo thingy.

                                                                                  2. re: starlady

                                                                                    Well, it's been a really long time since I had regular sour cream, I'm allergic to dairy. I think it is very tasty, and when I made dip with it recently no one knew the difference. I do not care for "plain" soymilk, but do like the chocolate, and I do like some soy yogurts, depending on the maker.

                                                                                3. I forgot about my fave diet food in the UNIVERSE! Bran Crispbread. It's 16 calories a piece and very high in fiber. With some PB2 powdered peanut butter (or Wonder Butter), you can have 6 pieces for way under 200 calories (and get your carbs and protein at once). AND it fills you up!

                                                                                  1. What about a low-cal sandwich? I'm eating a tuna sandwich right now that is around 300 calories total. I used the Pepperidge Farm Light Style Wheat bread (45 cals a slice), half a can of tuna (80 calories?), Nayonnaise (35 cals a tablespoon, I use less), seasoned with salt, pepper, and hot curry powder. Or you can stick some turkey slices and mustard with this low calorie bread. It'd be proteiny and filling enough without being a) easy to eat too much of, or b) too heavy to eat dinner afterwards.

                                                                                    1. I'm totally enjoying this thread. I have this exact same problem! Currently I snack on roasted sunflower seeds. A whole bag has about 400 Calories, but it lasts me at least a week. It gives me something to do instead of wolfing down a bunch of bad things, and holds me off until dinner is ready.

                                                                                      1. I've had gastric bypass surgery and we post-ops have to get in our protein. To stave off the before dinner munchies, I can recommend a protein drink. I like Nectar--in Lemon tea flavor. You put a scoop in a glass of water, mix it up and drink it up. 90 calories, fat free, carb free and 23 grams of protein. If I drink it on the way home from work, I'm not STARVING when I walk in the door. THat time on the way home is a great way to prevent yourself from ruining your hard work throughout the day with an after work chip attack. For that crunchy salty craving thing..WASA rye crisps with a bit of cheese are terrific and I've been known to snack on gardinera (that spicy califlower salad stuff that comes in a jar.) Apples spread with some natural peanut butter are great, as are graham crackers spread with some peanut butter.

                                                                                        Planning ahead is your best defense against pigging out!

                                                                                        Down 180 lbs. since 05/06 and working hard to lose more.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: SweetPhyl

                                                                                          Congrats SweetPhyl! I know what a struggle it is! i'm down almost 30, with another 70 to go!

                                                                                          Besides the soup I mentioned above, we've been snacking on Kellogg's All Bran crackers. For Weight Watchers 1 serving, as listed on the box, is 1-2 points depending on the flavor. They are GOOD.

                                                                                          1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                            I love the All Bran snack line. The garlic herb crackers are heavy on the garlic (which is a good thing, imo) and the cinnamon brown sugar bites remind me of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I just love 'em.

                                                                                            1. re: stolenchange

                                                                                              oh! I have not had the cinnamon brown sugar - I'm going to have to look for them! Does your store keep them with the garlic ones?

                                                                                        2. Hey, Dairy Queen. Just wanted to offer a few of my thoughts.

                                                                                          I had to pick up a new diet when I started training with a coach for a marathon, and I realized that having a lot of variety is really important for me in keeping a diet. I used to just get one snack at a time, like almond better to spread on celery or apples, but then I'd find that I'd quickly get tired of it. Instead, I tried to constantly buy new foods for me to try. Some days, I'd buy dried apple slices, other days, I'd buy flavored roasted soy beans. Continually finding something new was exciting for me. My diet needed a lot of good fats, so I ate smoked salmon and avocado as snacks. I don't know about the availability of avocados in St. Paul, but I love cutting one in half and eating it with a bit of wasabi and soy sauce.

                                                                                          Also, Brenda is right about Diet Coke. It's high in sodium and chemicals and not anything you want to have much of if your aim is to lose weight. Of course, if it's become a big part of your life, I'd suggest just trying to slowly moderate it as opposed to cutting it out altogether. My biggest problem has been prohibiting myself too heavily from things I love and just going on huge binges when I get tired of it. To reinforce what you said, drinking water is so helpful in losing weight. You'll notice that you feel considerably better when you're drinking lots of water.

                                                                                          Moderation in your diet, drinking lots of water, getting a fair amount of sleep, and continuing to exercise will naturally lead to weight loss and more energy every day. I hope it goes well!

                                                                                          1. If i'm not really hungry but just feeling 'snacky" I have a few wasabi peas. I only need a few because the flavor is so strong. If I'm actually hungry I'll have a hard boiled egg, plain fat free yogurt with fresh berries, or a small smoothie made of frozen berries and 1/2 cup of soy milk. It's hard isn't it?

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: GAT

                                                                                              A hard boiled egg is a fine idea. So easy to boil ahead of time, store in the fridge, and it's only 70 calories - of pure, filling protein.
                                                                                              And personally, I love hard boiled eggs - with s & p, please.

                                                                                              1. re: GAT

                                                                                                Or a little ricotta mixed with some Splenda on some fresh fruit. I'm also a sucker for some popcorn with seasoned salt (McCormicks).

                                                                                              2. Such a tough question. The same thing happens to me.

                                                                                                Some suggestions:

                                                                                                -veggies with hummus
                                                                                                -Laughing Cow cheese on Wasa
                                                                                                -popcorn (no butter)
                                                                                                -a few pretzels
                                                                                                -nonfat/lowfat yogurt -- I was just reading the other day that nonfat Greek yogurt has a lot more protein than other nonfat yogurts (but less calcium), so that might be something to consider.

                                                                                                Above all, watch portion sizes. Look at the portion size specified on the box/bag, take out just that much, put it on a plate/in a bowl, then close the bag/box and put it away. If I eat directly out of the bag/box, I always eat way more than the serving size.

                                                                                                I also avoid nuts and nut butters as snacks, because while they're a great source of protein, they're really calorically dense. I always feel like I haven't eaten much because the correct serving size was gone in a bite or two.

                                                                                                As for pickles -- they're great and low-cal, but they'll make you retain water like crazy. Something that can seem like a frustrating set-back if you're trying to lose weight.

                                                                                                And I always feel more filled up if I have some water (sparkling or flat) with my snack.

                                                                                                Good luck!

                                                                                                1. I just wanted to second (or third, or whatever) the nuts suggestion. A handful of nuts (an ounce?) half an hour before a meal has actually been proven to help curb your appetite.


                                                                                                  I've lost 27 pounds this spring keeping a food diary online and counting calories -- I eat whatever I want, but I have to fit it into a daily calorie budget (I also give myself a day off once a week, so I can have the occasional splurge). One trick I learned was to stretch my peanut butter with nonfat yogurt (two parts yogurt to one part peanutbutter) -- sounds weird, but it actually tastes pretty good. I put it on the organic Wheetabix I buy at TJ's (60 calories each) for a crunchy/salty 100 calorie snack.

                                                                                                  Good luck!

                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                    Okay, Ruth, when I read this, I thought, "It sounds so weird, it MUST be good!" And it really is!
                                                                                                    I added fromage blanc to the peanut butter (2 ounces, thirty calories, no fat; gottah love it!) so it was probably a little less art, and it was SOOOOO good....Too bad I ate too much of it scooping it off the styick blender....;)

                                                                                                    1. re: galleygirl

                                                                                                      Oh I'm so glad someone else tried it and liked it! I was beginning to think that I was crazy. Fromage blanc is basically what I use: plain nonfat yogurt that I've drained.

                                                                                                      I actually discovered this when I was trying to come up with something that would be dog-friendly that I could put in a pastry bag for piping -- I wasn't really expecting it to taste good to me (although I figured the pooch would like it), so I was pleasantly surprised by how it turned out.

                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                        Woof, woof!

                                                                                                        Now I'm trying to come up with some kind of sugar free chocolate biscuit to us it to make a treat for the diabetic boy...

                                                                                                    2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                      My hands are so small that a handful is half an ounce (about 10 hazelnuts) which is only about 90 calories. The avocado does the same thing. I think eating the fat about an hour before the main meal does something to your hormones and makes you less hungry. And eating fiber either at lunch or in the afternoon slows your digestion down so that your digestive tract is still full in the evening. An easy snack for me to make when I get home is a 1/3-1/2 cup portion of garbanzos, a tomato, and a little bit of olive oil and tabasco sauce.

                                                                                                    3. I have the same problem. It's the hours between 4 and 6:30 that my little pregnant body turns into a food deprived nutcase.

                                                                                                      What makes it worse, is that i'm usually in the middle of making dinner for hubby around that time and i'm smelling all sorts of foods that I can't eat yet. Like the smell of a chicken roasting in the oven.

                                                                                                      I've been so good about not giving into every craving I have and so far it's helped keep the weight gain within a reasonable range.

                                                                                                      Here are my secret weapons:

                                                                                                      2 cucumbers, peeled, seeds removed, cut into sticks with salt and pepper on them

                                                                                                      Baby carrots....as many as I feel like... with salt and pepper on them

                                                                                                      Organic pepper jack cheese...about 2 ounces or the size of two lipsticks cut into smaller cubes and drizzled in hot sauce. (The hot sauce seems to calm my appetite)

                                                                                                      1 cup of dry PLAIN organic shredded wheat

                                                                                                      1. First, graze throughout the day so you're not famished! That is essential. Second, crystal light is good for sweet tooths, as is sugar-free gum if you need something in your mouth. I like Jicema (hickema?) for those occasions where I want crunch and something to swallow.

                                                                                                        1. I have a sweet tooth but so I eat a Zone Bar (peanut butter chocolate) and it will tide me over, sometimes I feel really full!! One bar has 250 calories, 14 grams of protein and yummy to boot!

                                                                                                          1. You can buy freeze-dried fruit or veggie "chips" in single-serving bags or Pringles-like tubes:

                                                                                                            Haven't tried the onions, but the Fuji apples are great.

                                                                                                            1. I have the same problem. We don't eat dinner til 7 or 8 and I usually crave something salty to eat after work. Sometimes, I cut up one or two fresh tomatoes into slices and place flat on a plate. I sprinkle (liberally) crumbled low-fat feta cheese over each slice as well as chopped chives and some salt and pepper, then drizzle good olive oil over top. No major crunch but the feta cheese is nice and salty. The whole combination is very tasty. I realize the oil might be problematic as far as a diet goes, but at least it's a healthy oil.

                                                                                                              This little salad may not seem as easy as some of the other suggestions but it's easy for me because I make sure I always have fresh tomatoes on hand, feta cheese in the fridge, good quality olive oil on the counter and we have garlic chives growing wild all over the place (not intentionally).

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: JamieK

                                                                                                                edamame is a good snack and also kashi TLC crackers are good and filling.

                                                                                                                i am terrible at remembering to drink water but i have recently been using the crystal light on the go packets and they are great - without even thinking i end up drink 6-8 bottles of water a day.

                                                                                                                1. re: kalyse

                                                                                                                  we love those crystal light packets - you are right - so helpful to getting the water in, esp in the evening for me. not crazy about the orange flavor, but we're going thru the lemonade like crazy.

                                                                                                              2. Eat something with fiber at lunch or as a mid afternoon snack (like some beans or an apple). Eat a small amount of the good oils (handful of nuts, avocado, something with olive oil) and a glass of water, about half an hour before dinner.

                                                                                                                1. I usually cut up about 2 cups of fruit as a good afternoon snack. If I'm driving around, I bring something that won't go bad in the car, like baby carrots.

                                                                                                                  Today I was out of carrots, so I stopped at my favorite produce store on the way home and (in addition to some veggies I needed for the weekend) I bought a little container of raspberries. I propped the open container in a protected spot, so they wouldn't spill, and nibbled them in the car on the way home.

                                                                                                                  1. I eat 6-10 almonds (not roasted or salted), couple wedges of an apple and two thin pieces of cheese... this always takes that edge away..lol. Even the almonds alone work.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: missmojito

                                                                                                                      I eat early between 4:30-5:30 PM and I always have a meal pre-cooked or I get take-out so I don't run into the probem of cooking while hungry. When I have dinner plans after 6:30 PM, I eat a small meal (~200-300 calories) before dinner at the usual time that I eat. This way I don't snack like crazy since junk food is high in calories and it also does not fill you up and a small meal is more satisfying than snacks. Also this leaves you room to eat a small dainty meal when you're with family and friends.

                                                                                                                    2. I've been into LightFull Satiety Smoothies -- they're only 90 calories and have 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams protein too, so they help to keep you feeling full and tide you over between meals. My favorite is Cafe Latte, it's a much better caloric value than a Frappuchino!

                                                                                                                      1. a bowl of cereal hot or cold,I like raisin bran with an apple or orange or something lots of fiber low in calories(if you don't put sugar on it).

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                                                                                                                        1. re: widehomehi

                                                                                                                          My snack of choice on these hot summer days is english cucumber in thin slices with rice wine vinegar poured over. Keep it cold and it is totally refreshing!

                                                                                                                          1. re: katesprings

                                                                                                                            My mom would always make that in the summer, and usually included thin slices of red onion and salt & pepper. It's one of life's perfect combinations of sweet, crunchy, and refreshing. (Great on sandwiches too)

                                                                                                                            1. re: katesprings

                                                                                                                              I made a big batch of salsa last week, and I've been eating it with jicama sliced into tortilla strip size. Delicious -- maybe even better than with chips (although I love tortilla chips!).

                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                Love to make a bowl of chopped tomatoes, diced red onions, marinated with balsamic vinegarettte (TJ's fat free version)... Gets better with a few hours of marinating.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                  What does jicama taste like? Can you describe it for me? Ive never bought one before but it seems to be very versatile.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: egbluesuede

                                                                                                                                    Jicama is very crisp, and slightly moist, kind of like a sliced radish, but it doesn't have the burn that a radish does. I've only had it raw, in a salad or by itself, but I really like it.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                                      Yes, jicama has a very mild taste; it's mostly used for it's cool, crisp texture. Sort of like if you can imagine a giant-sized raw water chestnut. When you buy them make sure they're fresh and not too dried out (they should be heavy for their size).

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                        Sounds good to me. I think I'll pick one up and try it. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                          Yes, and if they're really fresh, they have a nice sweetness to them, as well.

                                                                                                                              2. LIke a lot of other people, almonds are the first thing I go for . I'll eat some fruit and veggies during the day, and honestly, they're the last thing I want to eat when I get home - sometimes the exceptions would be a tomato with salt, banana or watermelon (I'm a sucker for watermelon).
                                                                                                                                I want something savory - sometimes a low sodium cuppa soup does it for me. A bit filling, uncomplicated, quick and salty!
                                                                                                                                Something else that I find really helps is our dog! She needs a walk right away - so I don't get a chance to eat much....

                                                                                                                                1. How about cold tofu with soy sauce, green onions, sriracha sauce, sesame seeds and sesame oil? Very tasty and filling too! :)

                                                                                                                                  1. If I'm really hungry and need to feel satisfied, I go to something hot like a cup of soup or V8 juice heated up, or served cold...
                                                                                                                                    If I just want a snack that I don't feel any guilt over, I have a spray bottle I've filled with balsamic vinegar and spray it on low fat or air popped popcorn..I love it!