When You're Starving & Too Busy For A Real Meal, These 8 Snacks Will Fill You Up

by Julia Guerra

Life would be so much easier if you had enough time to meal-prep twice a week, right? Just imagine the giant sigh of relief you’d take on one of those late mornings when everything feels frenzied, and you'd open the fridge to fresh, wholesome dishes you could easily heat up and eat up on demand. Now, snap back to reality, where you can't, realistically, always prepare for the worst-case scenario, and you have to make due with whatever’s lying around in your kitchen cabinets. The good news is there are plenty of snacks that fill you up with nutritional value, not just junk to nurse a hunger pain, and they take little to no effort to compile and eat on-the-go. You just need to know what’s good for you, and what's convenient for your schedule.

As someone who learned the art of winging it real fast during my first year of marriage, I can honestly say good-for-you food doesn't have to take hours to assemble. Sometimes, you don't even need to cook at all. The thing is, when you're balancing work life, social life, and maybe even a few college courses, time is of the essence, and you shouldn't have to feel ashamed or guilty for not having even an hour to spare to whip up something filling in between breakfast and dinner.

But, I get it. Despite the fact that you can't cook or sit down for a five-course meal, that doesn't negate the fact that you're still hungry AF, and you need some sustenance. The trick is not to give into the hangry feels, so try giving the following snacks a taste to curb your hunger until further notice.

Mugs Full Of Something Hot

One of the easiest things to whip up when you’re in a hurry is a delicious hot drink you can sip on-the-go. Granted, I totally sympathize with peeps who need more crunch and less slurps in their snacks in order to really feel full, but if you’re the type of person who just needs a little something in their stomach in between meals, drink up, girl.

Recently, I’ve come to realize that, as much as I love them, smoothies are easy to gulp down quickly, and the faster you eat something, the less you savor it. Hot drinks, however, will take longer to finish, giving your stomach the time it needs to digest and send messages to the brain that you’re actually full, so you don't end up mindlessly snacking and overstuffing.

If you're really pressed for time, Tea Forte’s flavors like Hanami cherry blossom green tea and caramel nougat are some of my faves. But if you have a little more prep time, whip up a to-go mug full of Four Sigmatic hot cacao mixed with Vital Proteins' collagen peptides, and a dash of Good Karma vanilla flax milk for a real treat that’s good for you, and not too sweet.

Baked Goodies Packed With Protein

OK, so here’s the scoop on protein bars and snacks: You really have to be careful about added sugars and fats, because goodies that are marketed as "good for you" can, oftentimes, be no better than the candy bars neighboring them on grocery shelves.

For me, any kind of protein bar needs to be filling, delicious, and the kicker, not have a potent taste of sidewalk chalk. Personally, Lenny and Larry’s cookies always satisfy my sweet tooth, and the serving size (which, BTW, is half a cookie) is more than enough to keep me full for a few hours. KIND’s new protein bars, which are full of healthy fats and fiber, are also great to throw in your bag and snack on at the office with a cup of tea.

Open-Face Waffle Sandwiches

I know myself, and I'm often especially crammed for time either in the mornings, or in between any errands I'm running in the afternoon. If you’re anything like me, and are all for living that breakfast- or lunch-on-a-napkin life, open-face waffle sandwiches are a delectable gem I highly recommend.

Birch Benders just launched all kinds of frozen waffles to pop into the toaster and nibble on-the-go. The brand has protein rounds, paleo, homestyle, and buttermilk options, too. The easiest way to fill up on these babies is to toast ‘em up, lather on a layer of nut butter (Barney's chocolate almond is fabulous) or jelly, and maybe even sprinkle on some Nutiva hemp seeds for bonus omega 3s to keep you full.

Chickpeas Over Chips
Hippeas/Thrive Market

Organic Vegan White Cheddar Chickpea Puffs, $2.99, Thrive Market

Potato chips used to be my number-one weakness. Sour cream and onion, salt and vinegar, cool ranch seasoning — you name it, I’d be eating it by the handfuls on my way out the door. Believe me, I still eat these crunchy treats from time to time, but I’ve also found some nutritious alternatives that leave me feeling just as satisfied.

Enter Hippeas, the cheese doodle-shaped snacks made entirely from chickpeas. But don’t let the ingredients list fool you, because these organic puffs hardly taste like they belong in the legume category with flavors like white cheddar and BBQ. They’re also vegan-friendly, so you can share the wealth with just about anyone.

Pre-Assembled Oatmeal
Purely Elizabeth/Thrive Market

Purely Elizabeth Vibrant Oats Cup, Raspberry Pitaya, $2.49, Thrive Market

I don’t know about you, but I could literally eat breakfast food all day every day, and oats are no exception. While overnight oats are a brilliant on-the-go option, too, the reality is, you don’t always know when you’re going to be hungry and short on time. That’s life, and nobody’s perfect — even stickler, meal-prep types.

Lucky for us, Purely Elizabeth has taken care of that pesky assembling step with the brand’s new superfood oat cups. Available in apple cinnamon, coconut turmeric, raspberry pitaya, and original, not only have these containers been pre-packed with a ton of flavor, they also come with organic granola to sprinkle on top for added sweetness.

Tasty, Fizzy Drinks That Are Good For Your Gut

Four months into 2018, and I’m still aboard the kombucha train. Probiotic drinks do wonders for your gut health, but they also keep you relatively full, thanks to the carbonation. If you’re looking for something refreshing and super on-trend, KeVita is launching its very own Watermelon Rose Sparkling Probiotic Drink in May 2018 that not only tastes like a millennial dream, but is also fancy AF.

I’m also a huge fan of flavored water lately, because it helps me fill up on fluids without those sneaky, artificial sugars. However, I definitely understand the struggle that is finding a flavored water that doesn’t taste like old, saturated fruit, so to get you started on the right foot, give Spindrift, Gold Emblem, IC and La Croix flavors a try. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

To-Go Packets Of Nut And Seed Butters

There was a time when fasted cardio and I were not friends, so when my stomach craved some kind of satiation before pounding the pavement, I’d grab a spoon and scoop out a helping of peanut butter straight from the jar.

This method definitely got the job done, but if you want to be a little classier than me, Justin’s and Wild Friends sell packets of nut and seed butters to snack on at your leisure in between meals for a tasty form of sustenance and a serving of healthy fats.

Dried, Crunchy Fruit And Veggie Chips

I wasn't always a huge fan of dried fruit, especially when I learned that most of these packaged goodies sound good, but are often full of added sugars. No, thanks.

Recently, though, I've turned a new leaf. Brands like Bare and Dang chips that serve up snack bags of dried apples, banana, coconut, carrots, beets, and onions are super flavorful, and just a handful of the stuff will keep you full between bigger meals. I highly recommend storing a few varieties in your desk drawer to curb cravings when they arise. That way, you'll feel full, but not overly stuffed come dinnertime.