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Sep 30, 2011 05:17 PM

Almost calorie-free savory snacks? Quitting smoking.

I'm quitting smoking for the second time in 38 years. The last time was in May, when I quit for two months while dieting and exercising, and gained 20 pounds. I'm ("we're", this time) using Chantix, which helps a bunch with the withdrawal.

I'm not into sweets. I'm not smoking, not drinking, and...not eating, almost, at the same time. (Husband, who is quitting with me this time, says don't worry about the food/drink, but the weight gain was part of what made me start again last time.)

Here's what we're trying (neither of us is hugely into sweets, though he is more than me):

Fat free pretzels
In-shell sunflower seeds
Celery, Carrots and Cauliflower
Dip (salsa or Hidden Valley fat free ranch)
Tomatoes with balsamic v. and kosher salt
Green grapes

Yeah, a lot of salt there, but better than lotsa calories and better than smoking. lol.

Every recipe I'm thinking of for dinner includes LOTS of butter and cream. (Though tonight it's shrimp, artichoke hearts, tomatoes/onions/peppers/garlic/herbs all from the garden, lemon juice, EVOO, whole wheat pasta and a little parmesan. :P)

I am positively DYING for fat, which at this point, I'm mostly getting one seed at a time in sunflower seeds. I think if what I was eating was *interesting* enough, I wouldn't want the fat so bad. And if it's something that requires a lot of hand-work, so much the better. (I'm off work for the next five days. lol.) Actually, if something took long enough to make, it could even be higher in calories, provided it was keeping my hands busy making it. I'm outta ideas.


I'll try anything at this point.


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  1. I chewed a LOT of cinnamon gum. Worked great for me!

    1 Reply
    1. re: weezieduzzit

      Cinnamon gum is actually the kind of gum we're chewing. I also have cinnamon candy (doesn't work too well) and lemon drops (which kinda work). I'm sort of looking for something non-sweet.


    2. Cucumber slices....really high in water and VERY low calorie...leave a little peel on it for added fiber...really...cucumber slices are awesome!

      10 Replies
      1. re: Val

        Great idea, Val - we love cucumber. (Zuch would be a good snacky thing, as well...)

        I wonder if I could use non-fat cottage cheese or yogurt or sour cream to fake some tzatziki?

        1. re: Cady

          Any of those toppings or dips sound great...non fat Greek yogurt might be best...and then there's hummus...I only use veggies for hummus dippers anymore.

          1. re: Val

            I've had hummus several times, and haven't liked it several times, but we were just talking about it around the ol' homestead and thought maybe it was worth another try.

            I used to make tzatziki, but I forget what went into it - cucumber, yogurt, dill, garlic...???

            (I did a quick search, but the recipes are pretty varied. I don't think I used sour cream, but most of the recipes I just looked at, do.)

            1. re: Cady

              I quit 19 years ago and gained about 45 lbs... my doctor told me it would be healthier to weigh 300 lbs. than to smoke. I never got that high but, now with weight watchers I'm finally losing that and the 'baby weight'. Not easy either.
              My suggestions are... take up knitting or crocheting, drink tons of water and make 'veggie bags'. I cut up cukes, red peppers, kohlrabi, radishes, carrots, cauliflower... whatever is on hand and prepare a quart bag for each day. If I put a paper towel in with them to absorb moisture, they're good for about 4 days. So handy and I'm not tempted as much by other things.

              1. re: debbypo

                @debbypo, yes RADISHES...another savory munchy-crunchy with very little calories! Also if you get a good batch, have some heat to them...

                1. re: Val

                  jicama is great too - with lime and your choice of heat

                  1. re: Val

                    I agree with radishes...but they're better with

              2. re: Val

                but hummus contains tahini -- ground up sesame seeds.
                isn't there a whole bunch of fat in the seeds?

                1. re: escargot3

                  true, most hummus does contain's the info' on the kind of fats in sesame seeds (healthy fats!):

                  "The fat in sesame seeds is 38% monounsaturated, and 44% polyunsaturated which equals 82% unsaturated fatty acids."

                  but if you're talking calories, yes, the tahini will add calories...but if you just dip the veggie in the hummus, you are only getting a little fat...if you are SCOOPING the veggies in the hummus, different story. Just trying to put it in perspective.

            2. re: Val

              Agree on the cukes. And if you have smoked salt, try sprinkling a bit of that on. Delicious and helps keep them interesting. If you're looking for something to pick at for a while, you can slice them extra thin.

              It sounds like (below) you like pickles but with cheese-maybe other picked vegetables? Beets, green beans, okra. Gardiniera might be worth a try.

              I really like most roasted veg at room temperature, and I'll happily snack on halved brussels sprouts (love these with orange zest, aleppo, and minced garlic stirred in for the last 5 minutes or so), cubed beets, cauli florets, etc that have been roasted. You'll have to add some oil but you can get by with less than you might think.

              Baby carrots-not as flavorful as whole carrots, but hard to beat the convenience. The crunch is really satisfying.

            3. The original comment has been removed
              1. Do you like spicy? Maybe something like Kimchee, miles of flavor!

                3 Replies
                1. re: Quine

                  Hmm. You know, I've only had kimchee as a flavoring (and I don't buy "flavored" stuff very often) and I'm not sure we actually HAVE it here. (I live in a county in Idaho with 9000 people...a lot of things missing here unless you drive 65 miles north or south.)

                  I've really liked that flavor in stuff though, so I'll look into it. (And yeah I love hot, my husband, only a little.)


                  1. re: Cady

                    You might look into the 6th taste umami. It is my must have.
                    KimChee is a product. I live at the NJ shore, which sounds cool, but CHoundish shopping it isn't.
                    I drive a just a bit more to make my Asian and Whole foods run, about every 6 weeks or so.

                    Give your taste buds a new explore area, I am sure a google search will give you tons of umami info. Also try a CH search.

                    1. re: Cady

                      Oh, and it's easy to make. You could buy the Korean chile flakes online and probably find the rest local (can you get fish sauce?) Salt, some kind of veggie and/or fruit, tons of garlic, some form of fermented fish, chile flakes, let it sit. Not something I grew up with, but it's really growing on me as something to have around. Fun to make, fun to figure out ways to use it up.

                  2. If salt isn't a big issue, I'd think the sharp flavors of pickles might help. Good luck to you, it's a very hard thing to do, but oh so worth the effort!

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Jeri L

                      Thanks, Jeri. If salt were also an issue (I'm killing nicotine, alcohol and fat) I'd give up. lol.

                      I love pickles, but my favorite pickle snack is with pickles/cheddar cheese. (Not into fake cheese.)

                      I may play with a dab of cream cheese, and pickle on a Triscuit or something (double bonus - keeps my hands busy) and that might do the trick, with only a *little* bit of fat).

                      I do think that you guys are right - sharper, stronger flavors will probably distract me better than a carrot stick. lol. And distraction is the name of the game.

                      1. re: Cady

                        since you like spice, i'd make dips for your veggies with low-fat yogurt and hot sauces or salsa, and/or soy sauce. also chop up green onions very fine, mix in granulated garlic or onion powder, maybe some paprika, or again, for heat, chili powder - upping the flavors is the best idea.

                        1. re: Cady

                          If you do the cream cheese thing, be sure to use neufchatel instead of regular cream cheese, lower fat and hard to tell the difference. Also, I like raw vegs, esp cucumber or carrots, dipped in hot sauce (Cholula is especially good for this). If you are seriously craving fat, have some good fat like avocado or nuts. Almonds are great for healthy snacking. Someone mentioned the fat free greek yogurt - fage is SO good, so thick and creamy you really feel like you are eating something sinful. Good luck!!

                          1. re: Cady

                            There's also a WW product - I think it's called something like Weight Watchers Reduced Fat Cream Cheese Spread. Despite the name, it's actually pretty good, tastes like cream cheese, and is much lower in fat.

                            1. re: arb

                              Agree that the WW cheese stuff is good, as is Laughing Cow, especially the chipotle one. Great with veggies or crackers.