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less junk, more healthy snack at work?

Cheeseface22Cheeseface22 Posts: 133
edited May 2019 in Commuting general
Commuters, I want to ask question on what you snack during the day to keep up with your energy!

I commute approx 29miles return trip a day to work. That's 80-100+ miles a week of commuting. I'm hungry all the time.

At work I usually have have:
- Mid-morning coffee, sometimes another in mid-afternoon when I'm dosing off.
- mid-morning junk food, and sometimes another in mid-afternoon
(54p pack of oreo... or those 89p knock off mars bars / twix kind of stuff from Lidl)
- Lunch: a massive tuna salad with all sorts of veggies and nuts, or smaller portion pasta left over, or cold meat + salad pitta sandwich (2x pittas).

As "lent" (*warning: religious trigger) swiftly approaches, and I do it every year, I want to "give up" on junk food (i.e. simple sugar, chocolate, any "high in" processed simple sugar junk, like the current snacks). I do stay away from junk food until Easter, but I don't replace it with healthier option so I usually end up cutting down on commute miles as my energy level goes down massively.

This time, I want to keep up the miles and think about alternative snacks that are less "junky." I made a batch of BBC good food: Feelgood flapjacks and two units a day seemed to work last week.

So, what are your "healthier" office snacks to keep up your energy at work and for bike commuting??
I think GCN used to do some mid-ride snack or energy bar or something like that?
Any home made snack tips?


  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 4,021
    Try soreen banana loaf with butter. I like it.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    I feel hungry all the time, every day. If I ate everything I felt like eating, I would simply be fat(ter than I already am).
    At work I rigorously avoid the canteen, and only bring healthy food: quite often I've finished lunch and all my snacks by 11. Then it's just tough, there's nothing left.

    Of course some foods are healthier and others less so. But I'm pretty convinced that, at least for some of us -YMMV - staying healthy simply means eating less than you feel like eating.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 28,045
    Hummus with something to dip in... either chunks of veg (carrots, celery, cucumber, sliced peppers) or rye bread.
    You can make your hummus in batches (tinned chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, salt and pepper, lemon, cumin and garlic if you like it), it only takes 5 minutes and costs nothing, or you can buy it potted in convenience stores and supermarkets... the latter has additives, poor quality ingredients and preservatives, but overall it's not terrible, compared to the censored you normally eat
    left the forum March 2023
  • Great replies, thanks very much.

    Soreen and hummus (not together though) are good ideas. I like toasted crunchy rye bread (I sometimes have that with a slab of cheese and olive oil when I get home) so hummus combination is good. Soreen can be my emergency shop supply.

    I also hear you on how much I feel I should eat and I should actually eat. I fluctuate around 68-71kg (BMI 23.5-24.5kg/m-2) , and Friday evening I'm much more closer to 68kg. Come Monday, I'm starting closer to 71kg. It's an arbitrary and over simplified method of measurement as weight change is much more than just input - output.

    Keep them coming!
  • shirley_bassoshirley_basso Posts: 6,195
    mixed nuts and raisins are pretty good and quite cheap if you buy in bulk
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 4,021
    Unsalted mixed nuts when not exercising. High in protein and fats but if you're low on exercise at work that's possibly the slow burn foods you need I guess. I used to eat them just before sleeping when backpacking in the colder weather. Slow burn great for heat generation while sleeping.
  • N0bodyOfTheGoatN0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 5,784
    edited March 2019
    There's probably cheaper alternatives out there now due to the latest round of Sainsburys price hikes, but we buy their Basics peanuts (60p?) and Basic Mixed Fruit (£1.10) and I tend to have a small bowl to pick on most afternoons, sometimes by themselves but other times some chilly or paprika.

    Bananas that aren't ridiculously over-ripe are a good one to fill you up and slowly release energy over a few hours. On their own, or chuck one in a sandwich, perhaps with jam and/or peanut butter.

    Another good one to fill you up without being too Calorie rich are non-sugary cereals like bran flakes or porridge oats, with low-fat milk or even water, perhaps with raisins or mixed fruit to add some flavour.

    Peanuts and peanut butter are a huge weakness of mine (along with 6-packs of cold hot x buns while at work :oops: ) and are probably the biggest reason I went from ~73Kg in August 2017 to ~81Kg by January 2019, because although I did more cycling miles and elevation during 2018, I massively reduced the amount of PB chasing efforts of ~300W I was doing up the South Downs cat3/4s during last year's heatwave. While still trying to improve my 20min best power efforts, I've recently been focusing on frequent 1-5min power intervals in the ~475-350W ballpark respectively during sub 45min sessions and it thankfully has resulted in me getting under 79.5Kg for the first time since around November.
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • Interesting, thanks everyone.

    I used to have on my desk a cookie jar full of mixed nuts + dried fruits. I loved them, addictive. I used to munch away in the afternoon. home time my stomach would be bloated from holding / brewing farts (this is the point where a good forum thread like this starts to go down the gutter...) and my ride home would be so uncomfortable. Or wandering if anyone can hear my cycle-by-farting... So nuts and fruits; been there done it. I can't stop munching them so not good for me, unless I can find a way to ration it.

    Nitrous, funny you mention about bran flakes. That's my breakfast. Bran flakes with a sprinkle of those tropical fruit granola cereal for some flavour and semi-skimmed. I used to have that at work, too but too much hassle, milk gets quickly used by "oh it's only for my tea" (x10 times a day) snitches who never pay up or bring their own milk. So I gave up.

    Banana, I need to eat. I need to eat fruits more in general. What are other fruits that have slow release sugar?
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,811
    Any natural fruit, an apple will give you about 95kCal while a banana is around 110kCal, so not much in it, a Orange will be about 70kCal. Good luck to you, as a grazer I know how hard a switch that can be.

    This website is pretty useful, just type your item in the search box at the top.
    Currently riding a Whyte T130C, X0 drivetrain, Magura Trail brakes converted to mixed wheel size (homebuilt wheels) with 140mm Fox 34 Rhythm and RP23 suspension. 12.2Kg.
  • Klaus BKlaus B Posts: 63
    I bought the other day a big pack of organic muesli base (mostly oats and than wheat and barley flakes) that is just cereals no other stuff in it. First thing when I wake up is soak some of this muesli with boiled water, than after half an hour when I'm ready to go to work I add to it some seeds (chia, sunflower and pumpkin) put the compost in a Tupperware and go. I then separate that usually in 2 portions. I add some fresh seasonal fruit to my like. It works for me and I do like it a lot without feeling that I comprise in taste at all. All the best
  • Klaus BKlaus B Posts: 63
    Forgot to tell you that I add some almond or rice milk at the end with the fresh fruit.
  • These two have been the recipe for the week:

    1. Banana and Date Cake (GCN + Sorted Collaboration)

    2. BBC Good Food: Easy Hummus

    I'm going to try one of the recipes by Hannah Grant on GCN next week:

    GCN YouTube: search "Hannah Grant"
  • mrkev83mrkev83 Posts: 184
    Often people find that when they feel "hungry" it is actually because they are thirsty. The body basically gets confused. A good tip I got when losing weight was at the initial hunger feeling have a glass of water. Give it 20-30 mins and if you're still what I found was I must of been thirsty.

    Other than that, I try to eat 3 main meals and one decent snack in between (handful of nuts with fruit or peanut butter on apple slices or yoghurt with frozen fruit overnight oats and found a no bake protein bar that fills me up)

    Built for comfort... Not for speed
  • ravit50ravit50 Posts: 19
    Stop snacking altogether if you want to become healthier.
    Eat 2 meals a day lunch and dinner try to eat unprocessed food and skip breakfast to allow your body to dip in to its fat stores for energy. Once you do that you will have more energy than you know what to do with and you will stop feeling hungry as your blood sugar levels will be stable. Try it for a month and you will see the difference for yourself.
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 4,021
    I often drink instead of eating when feeling hungry. The exception is when I'm actually hungry. Well short of energy is what I mean. When you're practically shaking and drained. I've the sort of metabolism that catches me out. One minute I'm OK the next I'm completely empty. I need a quick hit. That's when I drink milk if at home or juice. I eat a sugary snack preferably banana malt loaf from soreen.

    You need I learn what you're body is telling you. Food is a fuel. Don't eat too much or you'll have to use it with exercise. Drinking is important and can be a way to fill your stomach when you think you're hungry. When you really are hungry you'll know the real difference. Try fasting to find out.

    IMHO a lot of snacking is habit, boredom, mistaken hunger cues and no doubt a load of other things too. If you have a problem giving snacking up try smaller but more frequent meals
  • Thanks all for your comments.

    Some are evidenced, some are unfounded (but whatever works for you, works for you so that's great!). I tend to use my weight as a repeatable unit of measurement to see if my intake is balanced with the output. Beginning of this month, my weight was fluctuating between 68 and 71kg. Now it's more like 67-70kg. I've been under 70kg for the last week or so. I'm not aiming to loose weight so that's indicating my intake is less than output.

    The "drinking water" trick worked perfectly for me last year when I was building up the commuting mileage and I was trying to regulate the sensation of hunger, actual intake and actual output. So I know that works for me, too.

    But this month is about abstaining from junk food, which means less gross intake (irrespective of the "quality" of the calories) and trying to replace with "healthier" calories. I know for certain I've bonked out a few times on my commute this month. That's indicating I'm not eating enough compared to my energy expenditure.

    The banana-date cake (arguably it's a cake, but it's home made and I know exactly what's in it...!), hummus + veggie stick, and an apple are working really well for me as daily snacks. Sometimes I had to scoff a bowl of bran flake with a sprinkle of tropical fruit granola and semi-skimmed milk to pick myself up from bonking when I get home. Few more weeks until Easter, but I want to carry on with other healthier alternative than going back to the 50p Oreo pack.

    Let's see how long I can keep up!
  • wolfsbane2kwolfsbane2k Posts: 3,056
    Interesting thread. I've started making up my own nuts & seeds based flapjacks (no honey/syrup) for mid-afternoon snacks, rather than buying the protien bars/balls that appear all the rage right now :( .
    I'm always bloody hungry, but even after drinking 8-10 pints of water in the day, i just can't calm that craving.
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
  • shirley_bassoshirley_basso Posts: 6,195
    Try and drink a bit less.

    You need your stomach to shrink.
  • Less thank a week to go now!

    Unfortunately, I had to reduce my mileage since last week as I was getting quite tired all the time. I've kept an average of approx 120miles a week for the last 6 weeks (up until last week), then gone down to 60miles a week since.

    The flapjacks and date+banana cakes kept me going, and I started eating more fruits (apples and bananas mainly). But it was just not quite enough to replace my energy expenditure.

    I've been hovering 67-68kg just before I had to give up my weekly mileage. I'm slowly coming back up to 68-69kg now. I normally hover 70-71kg. I don't need to lose weight but around 68kg is a good healthy BMI for me (72.2kg is my threshold for "overweight" category on BMI).

    I'll need to find long-term strategy to keep my energy up and minimise junky food.

    It's been a quite interesting "lent" this year.
  • mrkev83mrkev83 Posts: 184
    Skyr yoghurt from aldi and ldl. Also the darebee no bake protien bars are a easy grab. I get cranky when i'm under fuelled. Last time i lost a decent amount of weght I had to eat more (I know youre not aimng to lose weight)

    I am gong to try your banana cake

    Built for comfort... Not for speed
  • andyh01andyh01 Posts: 599
    What about protein shake with added berries/fruit

    I used to snack on cuscus and again add fruit/nuts or veg to it
  • wolfsbane2kwolfsbane2k Posts: 3,056
    Broken down this week and snacking on nature valley crunch bars...
    Not good!
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
  • mrkev83mrkev83 Posts: 184
    Broken down this week and snacking on nature valley crunch bars...
    Not good!
    Might aswell just have chocolate bars....probably less sugar in them :lol:

    Built for comfort... Not for speed
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