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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?)

~TDQ

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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!

              ~TDQ

              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!