On snacking

When I lived in Boston, most of my paycheck went to rent my drafty, crooked-floored apartment, and the rest went to food. And alcohol, if I’m being truthful. I didn’t have a car, so I only bought as many groceries as I could carry. That meant there was no room (or money) for me to buy things I didn’t really need — like snack food. Even if Cheetos were buy-one-get-one-free, they took up too much space in my grocery bag, space better saved for chicken and rice and apples. Once, I ran into my friend at the grocery store. She peered into my cart and said, “Geez. Do you buy anything that isn’t healthy?”

This isn’t meant to tout my own healthy eating habits, but rather show that the things I buy are an effort to hide my complete lack of self control. If I buy that bag of Cheetos, I will eat them all. In one sitting. I’ll rationalize that if I’m going to eat something bad, I might as well eat it all at once. That way, I get it out of the way. As if that’s how it works.

I grew up in a house without much snack food — my mother always stressed the importance of eating together, so we did not have chips or cookies to snack on between meals. This is not to say we lived in some sort of totalitarian NO SNACKS OR FUN ALLOWED environment, we just focused on the main meals instead of the in-between times.

As a result, when I went to college, that all went to hell. I ate chips and salsa on my dorm room floor at odd hours of the day, trailing crumbs on the carpet. I had energy drinks and chocolate shakes and bagels and cream cheese whenever I wanted. And then, predictably, I got fat. It took me nearly two years to get back to looking how I wanted. When I moved into my own apartment, I made a decision to never buy those snack foods. It made not eating them so much easier.

But every now and then, I’m not able to shut down that voice that’s asking for something sweet and crunchy. Then, I curse past Jill who was trying to be all healthy and shit because the house has nothing to snack on. And I resort to desperate things. I scavenge in the freezer and eat frost-burned blueberries until my fingers and tongue are purple. I eat packages of broken Ritz crackers. But most of all, I eat cereal.

Instead of eating it in a bowl with milk like a civilized adult, I eat it out of the box, preferably on the couch while watching TV so I don’t have to think too hard about what I’m doing. It’s never an easy-to-eat cereal, either — I end up with Rice Krispies stuck to my fingertips and down my shirt. I drop Honey Bunches of Oats flakes between the couch cushions. I always stop before I hit the bottom of the box, leaving just enough to prove that I didn’t actually eat all of it, but not enough for anyone to have a full bowl of cereal. It’s not pretty.

People on diets will convince themselves that eating the thing you crave is not actually that good. But fuck that. Sometimes it’s exactly that good.

What strange things do you snack on, dear readers?

Jill Kolongowski is a freelance writer and editor living in San Francisco. When she’s not cooking, running, or reading, she blogs at jillkolongowski.com. Follow her on Twitter at @jillkolongowski.

3 Responses to “On snacking”
  1. Saundra says:

    I am THE WORST about this, as we’ve discussed. I’m weaning myself off. Slowly. VERY slowly. It will happen. But you are correct, sometimes it is simply essential to indulge in the very thing you crave, as long as it’s not every flippin’ day *cough* SHITIDOTHAT *cough*.

  2. Anna says:

    Orville Redenbacher popcorn. Fig Newtons. 70-calorie light hamburger buns from Meijer. Clementines. (I just bought clementines, bananas, and grapes. At least half of it will go bad before I get to it because I’m busy eating…) Frosted Flakes. Hershey Bars with peanut butter. Peanut butter sandwiches. Yogurt.

  3. Cd says:

    My latest snack is a section (not the whole thing) of a dark chocolate bar with whipped cream from the spray can. And true confession- I have just gone ahead and sprayed the can into my mouth repeatedly :) until it is empty. That was dinner!! Or one spoonful of peanut butter and another and another until the jar was empty! Oops! That was dinner!
    Really Jill I don’t know where you get this obsessive relationship with food! tee hee!
    Honestly be kind and gentle with yourself. :) You are loved!

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