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What do you eat when you don't know what you want?

Know that feeling? You're hungry but nothing looks or sounds interesting. What do you go to in that situation?

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  1. Cheese and crackers or eggs prepared just about any way.

        1. Hot or grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

          1. Water

            Dehydration can create the false sense of hunger.

            That's what I generally attribute to the sensation you describe - i.e., hunger without an actual craving for anything in particular.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ipsedixit

              I do this too - but if 15-20 minutes I'm still hungry (and it's in between meals) either some peanut butter on a spoon or a small amount of tamari almonds.

            2. Kraft Blue Box. Works every time. . . even when gestating

              1. dried, smoked kielbasa, landjaeger, dried salami- salty/sour tastes

                  1. It usually depends on what's available, which means it can get dangerous. Sometimes pb&j, too often a toasted English muffin with charbroiled truffled avocado, or maybe just nuke some popcorn... If I'm lucky, I will NOT have potato chips in the house!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Caroline1

                      Oh, oh, oh! WHAT was I thinking? FROZEN GRAPES...!!!

                      I buy all sorts of seedless grapes, bring them home, wash them well, pluck them off their stems and pack generous portions into ziplock sandwich bags and stick them in the freezer.

                      Instant DEEEEEEELICIOUS very low cal snack! I bet they'd be soothing for teething babies if only they wouldn't choke to death on them. DO NOT FEED TO BABIES!

                    2. This reminds me of Sir Henry's famous line in Rawlinson End...

                      "I don't KNOW what I want, but I want it NOW!"

                              1. Nothing. I'd rather wait until I actually have a hankering for something.

                                1. If I'm home:
                                  Chips/crackers/croutons/anything dippable with salsa or hummus
                                  Cheese and crackers

                                  If I'm out:
                                  An Italian sub

                                  1. Pasta, or a banana, or a yoghurt. If all else fails, a Snickers!

                                    1. If it's mealtime, eggs or canned soup or leftovers. If it's just an urge to nosh, I like to peel off strands of mozzarella; if I feel a bit fancy I'll dip them in peanut butter.

                                      1. A "quesadilla" containing one slice of American cheese in a flour tortilla cooked on a pan on the stove until nearly burnt.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: UTgal

                                          That's the one...but it can be a corn tortilla, too, if I've got my favorite cheese. The charring is very imprtant, though. ;)

                                          1. re: UTgal

                                            I also love the american cheese quesadilla. I mostly go for corn tortillas, and a plus I can get very good ones locally. Also, not sure which groceries stock this other than my KC local price chopper, but crystal farms has some processed cheese that seems more cheese than cheez, if you know what I mean, but still the melty deliciousness. Their processed swiss singles make a great late-night snack with some sliced pickled serranos, fried between a couple of corn tortillas.

                                          2. PB&J on white with a cold Mtn. Dew

                                            1. If I don't know what I want, then I must not be that hungry. I'm probably just bored. So I don't eat anything.

                                              1. Popcorn and chocolate.

                                                1. Nothing. But if I'm shaky or feel too light headed I'll drink a small glass of kefir.

                                                  1. Grapes. I somehow always seem to want them, and they don't fill me up too much for later. When I do decide what I want.

                                                      1. I see what I have in the fridge as leftovers, cold cuts, or what cheeses/salumi are in there and then I pick one and think about it for ten minutes. I often get a craving for just that thing and I'm good to go.
                                                        If not, I'll make a coupla hot dogs.

                                                        1. When I feel that way, I try to go the easy route. That means going to a store with a food bar and choosing from their selection, or making an omelet, or if I have bread and butter, then It's bread, butter and jam.

                                                            1. scrambled eggs and dark toast.
                                                              (lots of pepper)

                                                              1. For me that means i am upset/anxious/ bored/ procrastinating etc... But not physically hungry. I'll make a huge glass of ice water or seltzer and wait an hour or so.
                                                                If it turns out i am hungry yet don't know what for a cup of plain greek yogurt with berries is my default make tummy grumbles go away snack.

                                                                1. Cereal
                                                                  Greek yogurt w flax seed
                                                                  Fresh fruit
                                                                  Carrots and hummus
                                                                  I hate that feeling though, when I am truly very hungry, and I don't know what I want...I get real cranky and my husband hates that.....in that case I juts want someone else to decide, cook or get it, and put it in front of me....

                                                                  1. Cheese and crackers. Always in my house, and it takes the edge off. Glass of wine helps too, based on the time of day. Makes me think of my late mom. We would always have a late afternoon bit of cheese and crackers, wine, and watch the kids in the pool before starting dinner prep. Good times.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: breadchick

                                                                      Totally the ritual in our house. Started when I had to return to the workforce and the kids would be hungry while I was still cooking dinner. We made a point to have a fruit and cheese mini-platter ready to pair with some whole grain crackers, mustard and sparkling water (for them) and coffee or wine (for me) the minute I got home. If I was going to be late, they could start without me. Rule was we had to discuss our days or future plans during our little respite. If I had to boil water for dinner prep, I would start that beforehand. Just a few bites each. Nothing to spoil the evening meal but enough to keep the kids focused on homework until it was served. We would sometimes vary the fare and call it high tea, but Happy Hour is what my kids typically refer to it as. Not a horrible habit. Good memories, too.

                                                                      1. re: breadchick

                                                                        Yep, cheese & crackers or peanut butter & crackers. If I'm out of crackers, it's peanut butter on whole wheat bread. Sometimes, I'll make oatmeal with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

                                                                      2. Mary's Gone Crackers
                                                                        Kraft dinner
                                                                        canned refried beans
                                                                        frozen green beans

                                                                        I love all of the above, and one or the other is where I go when hungry, not wanting to cook, feeling eh.

                                                                        1. I know this feeling quite well. The stomach is growling but the mind does not know what it wants to eat (often it does and that makes it so much easier).

                                                                          If it is in the middle of a busy day I just ignore it, or wash it down with a glass of ice cold milk or soy milk, which quenches thirst and soothes the stomach. Or maybe some nuts or banana meanwhile.

                                                                          If I have the time, I mentally go through, one by one, the kinds of food available (either items on the menu, or brainstorm what I have on hand that I can whip up quickly). I visualize eating the food and see if it suits my appetite then. If I find a match, I go along with it.

                                                                            1. Bowl of cereal with milk. Usually Rice Krispies or a "Chex."

                                                                              1. That feeling is symptomatic of catastrophically low blood sugar.

                                                                                So if there's one thing to AVOID, it's very sweet, sugary things that will cause a spike and collapse (relapse?) You (I!) must firmly resist cakes, biscuits, puddings, etc. even when they're the obvious thing on offer. Fatty things are also not the best choice, because they won't bring about much blood sugar recovery, not quickly.

                                                                                Best is going to be a slow carb with some protein to bring recovery to blood sugar levels. What I usually make as a "default" in that situation is a Turkish bulgur - something with the bulgur, probably some lentils, carrots, celery, spices, and if I feel like it a bit of meat. Possibly substitute peppers and tomatoes for celery/carrots. There are endless variations. It's nice because it's fast to make, has a good moderate blood sugar release, and relies on ingredients that you can (and I do) keep around the house, as basic staples.

                                                                                Here's a second question on a related theme (fork a new topic?):

                                                                                What do you do when you know exactly what you want but for whatever reason it's absolutely unavailable?

                                                                                (Much more difficult for me and usually leads to endless vacillation. I wonder if there are productive ways out of that trap?)

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                  "That feeling is symptomatic of catastrophically low blood sugar."

                                                                                  There are many more things in life that affect appetite.

                                                                                2. peanut butter and jelly or jam or honey or Lyle's GS.

                                                                                  1. "Chicken is for people who don't know what they want." Anthony Bourdain.

                                                                                    1. Peanut butter toast
                                                                                      A wedge or two of Laughing Cow and crackers
                                                                                      Grilled cheese

                                                                                        1. Peanut Butter and jam sandwiches or cereal :)

                                                                                          1. The a safe no-risk meal - usually ground turkey or chicken with broccoli and some random cheese I grab out of the fridge AKA what I've been eating for weeks :)

                                                                                            1. A fried egg on toast.