What 8 Nutritionists Eat When They’re Starving and Out Of Options

We’ve all been there. You’re not just hungry, you’re hangry. And for good reason: along with an overbooked social calendar, you’re also plagued with back-to-back meetings and never-ending assignments. If that’s not already enough to balance, you’re also constantly trying to figure out what to eat to give your body what it really needs (and not just what it wants when you’re starving). 

While your company and co-workers might think the breakfast coffee and donuts and mid-afternoon cookies will suffice to squash your appetite, it doesn’t help your plans to eat healthy and stay energized for your post-work bootcamp. (Which let’s be real: you definitely need after a stressful day to blow off steam.)

What you really need are hearty, fulfilling, protein- and nutrient-packed snacks that you can scarf down in a matter of minutes. Sounds impossible, right? Well, thankfully it’s not, and these nutritionists’ go-to snacks prove it.

Turkey jerky

“It’s a great source of protein, so it has more sustainable energy than a bagel, muffin or other simple carb. I try to find brands without nitrates, antibiotics and sweetened with fruit juice concentrate instead of cane sugar.”
—Haley Whitley, in-house nutritionist at Pilates ProWorks and creator of NutritionPro

Trail mix

“I look for an even mix of nuts, seeds and dried fruit (a few chocolate chips won’t hurt either!). If trail mix isn’t available, fruit and yogurt parfaits and salads are viable options too, provided the salad is loaded with vegetables and lean protein, like eggs or tofu, and you don’t dump the whole container of dressing on it. As for that brownie? If you’ve made good choices all week, live a little and eat the brownie (but try to have a homemade one on hand!).
—Liza Baker, integrative nutrition health coach + kitchen coach

Healthy fats like avocado or sunflower seeds

“When hunger pangs strike, the best thing you can reach for is something with healthy fat, like half an avocado, a handful of cashews, sunflower seed butter with celery or grass-fed plain yogurt (full-fat) with frozen berries. If you’re out and about, carry some macadamia nuts or almonds, a coconut or nut butter packet, a protein-based smoothie in your bag or stop to get a small container of guacamole at Chipotle to eat with some plantain chips. Just be prepared.”
—Lauryn Lax, Austin-based nutritionist

A turkey breast sandwich on whole wheat bread

“I’d top it off with extra lettuce and tomato and spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on top. If I’m going to get a side, I’ll pick carrot sticks to go with it. This will be a lower-fat choice with the benefits of having whole grain. The extra lettuce and tomato and the carrot sticks will give me more vegetable for that meal. As for a quick snack, I’ll go with a nice piece of dark chocolate. It’ll satisfy my craving and I get to enjoy the chocolate in moderation.”
—Karen Lau, MS, RD, LDN, CDE

A granola bar and a whole fruit

“These two items pack both protein and fiber to take away that edge of hunger and have the convenience factor of being easy and small enough to throw into any bag no matter where my day or week takes me. I look for (or make homemade!) granola bars with at least 3 grams of both fiber and protein and less than 10 grams of sugar.”
—Alexa McDonald, MS, RDN, CSSD, RYT, owner, expert nutrition  and wellness

A liquid snack like a smoothie

“Sometimes we confuse thirst for hunger, so it’s important to fill up on water constantly and grab a protein-packed smoothie when we’re running around or on the go. If I’m running around and super stressed, I’ll grab a cold-pressed green juice or smoothie or simply a good-quality, small-batch coffee with almond milk. If all else fails, organic dark chocolate with nuts always does the trick!”
—Tiffany Newenhouse, registered dietitian, certified dietitian-nutritionist

Nutrient-dense real foods

“I keep the house stocked with a variety of dried fruits, nuts and seeds, fresh fruits and veggies that can go without refrigeration, nut butter squeeze packs, energy bars made from whole ingredients and no added sugars so that I always have something to grab before heading out the door.”
—Rachel Begun, MS, RDN

Wholesome fruit and nuts

I always keep a jar of mixed walnuts, almonds and cashews in my office and I bring fresh fruit every few days. If I’m running to get something at a deli or grocery store, I try to keep it plant-based. I’ll do hummus with veggies, a salad with avocado and bean soup or a smoothie if that’s an option. If there’s plain yogurt or berries available I might throw some mixed nuts on that to balance out the nutrients and make it a meal. Hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese or canned salmon or sardines would be good options if you’re craving animal proteins.”
—Angela Onsgard R.D. at Miraval Resort & Spa

Jenn Sinrich is an editor in New York City, a self-proclaimed foodie always looking for the healthier version of all recipes, a passionate lover of all things cheese, a friendly New Yorker, Bostonian at heart and proud Red Sox fan. Love cats? Cheese? Mac n' Cheese? Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.