Frugal snacks to avoid mid-day cravings

by Karen on January 8, 2009

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As I try to eat healthier, one of the biggest challenges for me is the office break room. Whether it’s a birthday cake, baked goods from a generous colleague, or treats from grateful clients, there is always something to munch on, and it’s seldom healthy.

Frugality and weight management go hand in hand. Unhealthy snacks are generally a drain on the grocery budget anyway, so I never have them around the house. Unfortunately, I can’t control what comes into the office break room.

In the office, I’m particularly vulnerable to succumbing to temptation. As the afternoon drags on, not only do I feel the urge to get up from my desk and do something to give my eyes a break from the computer screen (like snack), but I also feel increasingly hungry now that I’m eating smaller portions.

Two years ago when I lost 40 pounds, I ate six times a day — three small meals and three healthy snacks. Eating small portions frequently not only increases metabolism, but also helps me to avoid the temptation of unhealthy snacks — if I’ve never hungry, I’m not as tempted to eat unhealthy foods.

Unfortunately, adding snacks to my grocery list — even healthy snacks — will mean higher food costs, especially since we’ve cut virtually all extra snack foods from the budget to maintain lower food costs.

I wanted to avoid the extra cost, but now that I’m working out right after work and eating smaller portions, it’s a struggle to make it from breakfast to lunch and lunch to dinner without eating something in between. If I don’t plan ahead and bring healthy snacks, I’m more likely to eat the cakes and chocolates around the office.

Two years ago I filled my cart with pricey convenience foods, like those delicious (and expensive) 100 calorie packs and granola bars. Now that I’m living frugally, I can’t see paying that kind of money for convenience. Even non-convenience foods like fresh fruits and nuts are too expensive.

I spent some time brainstorming for snack ideas that won’t cost a fortune. Here are some of the options I’m considering:

  • Apple slices with peanut butter
  • A slice of bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter
  • Homemade granola with yogurt
  • Homemade apple sauce
  • Raisins
  • Fresh vegetables (purchased on sale)

Can anyone give me any good ideas for frugal healthy snack foods?

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