Manage Those Pre-Dinner Munchies


By: , – Stephanie Karpinske, R.D, Family Circle
  :  31 comments   :  19,168 Views

When you get home from a busy day, it’s tempting to grab that bag of chips in the pantry to munch on while making dinner. But doing so can quickly pack on the pounds! That’s why I always keep veggies and dip in the fridge. For the veggies, I usually have a bag of baby carrots or some sliced green peppers. For the dip, I mix a container of low-fat sour cream with a packet of Ranch dip mix.

I shared this tip with Tiffany and she tried making the dip with plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. 

This was a great switch because the yogurt has more protein than the sour cream, making the veggie/dip combo a more filling snack. Tiffany makes the dip all the time now and loves it.

So whether you need something to munch on while making dinner or just want a quick snack for the kids, keep your fridge stocked with veggies and dip. In addition to baby carrots and peppers, other good dippers include jicama slices, celery sticks, radishes, fresh cauliflower or broccoli florets, summer squash slices and grape tomatoes.
What do you snack on while making dinner?
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    I have a big problem with this. Thanks for the advice. - 7/30/2012   7:28:34 PM
  • 30
    Thanks for this blog. I always feel terribly guilty munching while I make dinner. But this is a very difficult time of day for me! I am very hungry when I come home from work and tired and often don't want to cook at all. The idea that it is OK to have something to munch on while I make dinner is so relieving. Thanks!!! - 7/29/2012   9:38:49 AM
    I usually have an individual package of mixed nuts. It's cheaper buying a jar or can, but I tend to not measure them out and eat too many. Sometimes, I'll eat a piece of muenster or cheddar cheese. - 7/27/2012   4:26:24 PM
  • 28
    I'll grab a piece of fruit on the way home from work. Helps keep the beast at bay :-) - 7/27/2012   2:01:26 AM
  • 27
    I try to have a bottle of water during my last hour at work and a can of V-8 on the way home - 7/25/2012   8:41:55 PM
  • 26
    I chew gum while making dinner. It keeps those "tastes" that dont get tracked from going into my mouth. - 7/25/2012   4:36:27 PM
  • 25
    Before Greek yogurt, I used plain low fat yogurt with assorted spices including onion and garlic. Never the same twice. Taste to be sure balance is good.

    When we had potluck parties at our house, I'd fix the vegetables right away and set them out. Everyone grabbed them passing by. The littlest children were always surprised when I smiled as they took a treat. The mixed platter is better because everyone gets a sample. Individual bowls with different vegetables disappeared in a child's hand - broccoli, sweet peppers, mushrooms, carrots... They didn't realize the bowls were to share. Can't complain because they ate healthy. - 7/25/2012   1:59:45 PM
  • 24
    I wish I liked raw veggies :( I keep trying, but I still can't stand them. Hopefully someday. - 7/25/2012   12:15:58 PM
  • 23
    I definitely need to invest in some ranch mix packets. - 7/25/2012   11:35:22 AM
  • 22
    Sounds good, but all I do to try to get rid of those munchies is drinking water and/or have a simple salad. It helps a lot! :) - 7/25/2012   11:32:00 AM
    Awesome dip idea! I'd never thought of that. I'm making it tonight! Thanks! - 7/25/2012   11:15:26 AM
  • 20
    Almonds are my friend. - 7/25/2012   10:52:16 AM
  • 19
    I don't keep chips in my house. I eat the vegetables, but don't use dip - maybe hummus. - 7/25/2012   10:10:58 AM
    I usually eat some of the vegies raw while i'm chopping them for dinner. A good low cost protein snack is peanut butter, one without salt and sugar additives, with crackers or dippers. Peanut butter may also be thinned with water or juice and used as a base for a dip.
    With a dairy allergy I don't have weight problems. No dairy, no pastries and only healthy homemade cake-bread. - 7/25/2012   9:59:06 AM
  • SMAGEE0917
    You guys are great! Thanks for all of the ideas for my biggest problem! I'm a Spark novice--and really appreciate your words of wisdom! - 7/25/2012   9:40:45 AM
    Thank you for the good information - 7/25/2012   9:02:50 AM
  • 15
    Better yet - skip the ranch mix and add: minced onion, pressed garlic, fresh or dried herbs, and some chopped spinach! - 7/25/2012   7:49:29 AM
  • 14
    You've "sparked" an idea a little off the main subject. I've been quite sad to give up my Ranch salad dressing--the regular is horrendously full of bad calories and sodium, and the lowfat is just plain nasty. Hadn't thought about mixing a dry packet of Ranch mix with my new best food friend, yogurt. What a fantastic idea! Can't wait to pick some up a the store... and take a look at the ingredient list on the mix packet. Sure hope it's lower in sodium; and KNOW it'll be lower in calories. - 7/25/2012   7:38:49 AM
  • 13
    Protein is what stops my hunger. But I never let my hunger get to the point where I almost lose control. I always have a snack of unsalted almonds in my car. If I am at home I like 10 almonds and 10 grapes...that combination appeals to something in me! Weird, huh. Since I have retired I find myself wanting to nibble, I will grill extra chicken, salmon,etc. and put in 3 oz pkgs in the fridge. Those are my 'I'm getting hungry and need it now'......these have been my lifesavers. I am known to eat a piece of cold salmon with a cup of coffee for breakfast... I also take .5 cup of fat free Greek yogurt and mix .5 cup blueberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I keep this in the fridge and will have a couple of spoonfuls throughout the day. Cold, filling and healthy. Have a happy day, everyone ! - 7/25/2012   6:42:11 AM
    I used to have carrots or celery and hummus as I am always ravenous before dinner. And I mean ravenous! So much so that I wind up eating most of the hummus jar. Which is a lot of calories before dinner. I will try the dip but I don't know if the yogurt will be too many calories before dinner. I tried a slice of deli turkey and deli Swiss cheese last night (just one of each) and that helped. I will also try the boiled egg thing. I'm going to boil them right now before work! Good luck! - 7/25/2012   6:13:53 AM
  • 11
    Thank you for this article....I needed it really bad!
    Even thou I eat the afternoon snack about 4:00 PM to prebent the hunger attack when I get home to prepare dinner, I still go throught the "I want to eat everything in sight" I have tried fruits, a cup of milk, but what I really want is Carbs. I recently try proteins and that seems to be the best choise, when I ate a hard boiled egg did much better than a piece of cheese.
    Debber4750 you are not alone! - 7/24/2012   11:31:30 AM
  • 10
    Because my fiance has IBS and can't physically tolerate ricotta, cream cheese or sour cream, all our dips are made with Greek yogurt. He gets to share in the delight of having a dip without having the pain in his gut, and I know he's having something good for him. - 7/24/2012   11:18:44 AM
    I use low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat sour cream (just a taste) and the dry ranch dressing. I mix it with a hand mixer until it's smooth and creamy. It's also a great topping for baked potatoes. - 7/24/2012   10:29:55 AM
  • 8
    This is such common sense, yet I seem to lose all of that once I walk in the door. Glad I found this little article today! - 7/24/2012   9:49:29 AM
  • 7
    My munchies strike between 3 and 4. A pickle spear, Laughing Cow cheese wedge, and a slice of deli turkey do the trick. Protein is indeed what works! While I'm making dinner, I munch steamed broccoli. - 7/24/2012   9:21:01 AM
  • 6
    A great idea. I struggle with snacking while fixing dinner. Sometimes I snack so much I'm full before I get dinner on the table. I will also grab some fruit, a peach or some grapes or Bing cherries to munch on while I prepare dinner. It is definitely my worst time of the day, as far as too much snacking goes! Thanks for the veggie tip. I have done this too, but will definitely buy some veggies and make some low-fat ranch, and have it readily available, because it is one of my favorite snacks! - 7/24/2012   9:17:30 AM
  • 5
    PROTEIN stops hunger. Just one piece of string cheese or a hard boiled egg will do it. Sugar and starch just make hunger worse. IMHO, lol. - 7/24/2012   9:07:41 AM
  • SUNNY1965
    I munch on cut-up fresh veggies. Yummy! They have quickly become my "go-to" snack, side dish, etc..... - 7/24/2012   8:38:35 AM
  • 3
    I snack on fruit or vegetables, but when I get too too hungry at dinner time, I crave things like cookies and crackers - fruit and veggies don't do it for me - how do others handle that - I know I can't be the only one! - 7/24/2012   8:34:04 AM
  • 2
    I usually snack on a banana or grapes while making dinner. I just love fruit. - 7/24/2012   6:32:17 AM
  • 1
    We regularly make ranch dip with nonfat Greek yogurt. It tastes so much better than with lowest sour cream and it's healthier. Check the salt content on your mix. Some are lower than others. - 7/24/2012   6:14:04 AM

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