The struggle of “hangriness” is real. If you find you get grumpy and make poor decisions when you feel hungry then you are not alone. Rising levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin in the body have been shown to affect impulse control and impair decision-making. Drops in your blood glucose can also trigger the release of adrenaline – the fight or flight hormone which can make you difficult to be around.
How to stop getting hangry
Good food choices (and a bit of time management) will help stop your hangriness in its tracks. A healthy selection of protein and fat at breakfast will help manage your blood sugar all day. Think about eggs, protein smoothies or avocado. You can make these the night (or week) before and leave them in the freezer until you need them.
Cereals, pastries or yoghurt are useful as part of a balanced meal but cause blood sugar crashes if eaten alone. Think hard about the choices you are making. Mix things up if you are regularly feeling hungry soon after you have eaten.
How often should I eat to stop getting hangry?
You can also think about planning ahead to keep your temper in check. A snack at least every four hours will keep your blood sugar stable and improve your mood. Slow-release fats and snacks will suit you best – nuts or protein bars can be a simple and easy way to eat on the go. Make sure you always have a snack at hand when you feel your temper fray and do not skip meals – you will just over-eat and crash later in the day.
Easy snacks to pack for your day include:
- A small pot of hummus with carrot or red pepper sticks.
- Plant-based crisps, made with vegetables such as coconut or beans. Try with some homemade salsa on the side.
- Dried fruits, such as a small portion of apricots or banana chips.
- Seed-based mixes are available in a range of flavours and will keep you feeling full.
- Individual portions of cheese are available in the supermarket and will keep well in your bag.
Beverages can also help you to manage your hunger pangs and you should keep yourself well-hydrated by having a bottle of water on hand. Sugary fizzy drinks are not advisable as they can add to your glucose management problems. You might also need to be careful about the amount of coffee you drink as caffeine can cause blood sugar spikes in some people. If you really need a cup to get you through the day switch to decaffeinated (if you can), or top up with full-fat cream to help sate your appetite.
Is refined sugar bad for you?
Refined sugar, found in desserts and sweet treats, is the biggest villain in the battle to beat your hangriness. Filling up on these types of food will quickly flood your system with glucose and then cause a big blood sugar crash as little as an hour later. If you have a sweet tooth consider snacking on a dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa fat. It tastes just as good but keeps you balanced for longer. Your friends, family and colleagues will appreciate the change!