You know the term, and you’ve probably whispered if not yelled the term in the course of your life. That point of no return, where nothing is pleasant, nothing is enjoyable, until you EAT SOMETHING!! That’s what is affectionately known as: ‘hangry.’
So what exactly is happening? Believe it or not, ‘hangry’ is an actual term. When you get hungry, you also find yourself getting extremely irritable and short tempered. Your brain needs sugar to function. Plain and simple. Our bodies, after routines have been in place, come to expect meal time. If your body knows that it will soon be time to eat, it experiences a dip in glucose, and with that can come fluctuations in mood. The flip side is that you may also experience emotional changes if you have eaten a big meal and your glucose is too high.
What about that afternoon slump after lunch? The reason you crave a nap after lunch may be due to eating a high amount of carbohydrates. 60 – 90 minutes after eating a high carb meal – out comes insulin to help aid in digestion – insulin helps put you into a restful state, hence the afternoon desire to nap. Often times the reason we don’t experience this same slump in the morning, is because our old friend caffeine is there to wake us up.
How can you help yourself feel more balanced and not so ‘hangry’ during the day? Simple. For breakfast try to focus on protein and fiber – this will bring more stability to your body (and blood sugar!) during the day. Try to eat at the same times every day (no more than 4-5 hours between meals), maintain a solid sleep schedule, hydrate, and eat more fermented foods like saurkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and miso. And stop snacking in between meals! Snacking can mess with your hunger cues. If you have constant need to snack, think about the balance of your meals. Eating balanced meals that are filling can prevent the blood-sugar roller coaster and lead to less hangry-ness in your day.
With a solid schedule and a plan, you can turn hangry into happy!