Have you ever been going about your business, slipping further and further into a bad mood, until you’re ready to bite someone’s head off for daring to speak to you? This is what I think of when someone tells me they get “hangry” — that horrible feeling of being so hungry that you’re angry, too. It happens more regularly for some people than for others. For me, the hangry beast only comes out when I’m also very tired — when it’s been a long day and all I want to do is sit down to a hot meal. Because it happens so rarely and under such specific circumstances, my hangry beast is more difficult to keep at bay when it wants to rear its ugly head, but even so, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve.
For those of you whose hangry beast is more predictable, the best way to keep it from showing itself is to figure out what type of food is most satisfying. I don’t mean which food you think tastes best, but which food actually helps you feel even and under control thought the day. This is going to take some experimentation, but once you figure out what works for you, you’ll be able to banish the hangry breast.
For some people, protein is the only thing that will really stave off that hangry feeling. A handful of nuts, some low-fat yogurt, cheese, or a smoothie with some protein powder in it works great.
Some people need a little extra fat to keep them going. Nuts and cheese are good options here as well. If you’re one who needs fat to make a satisfying snack, try some full-fat yogurt. Not only does it have a very satisfying creaminess, but it will also help satisfy your hunger better than the fat-free stuff. Veggies with some sort of creamy dip or a salad with a full-fat dressing (I love oil, vinegar, and Italian herbs) also make satisfying and healthy snacks.
Using carbohydrates for snacks is a bit trickier. While there are some people who find them effective, I find that for most, carbs encourage the spikes and dips in blood sugar that invite the hangry beast to the party, rather than banishing it. If you need carbs in order to feel satisfied, try adding some protein or fat to your snack to keep your blood sugar on an even keel. Fruit makes a wonderful snack, but since it’s mostly made of carbohydrates, it won’t satisfy most people for very long. Try adding some protein and fat to your fruity snack to make it more effective. An apple dipped in some peanut butter, a handful of dried fruit and mixed nuts, or some grapes and a cheese stick are great options for those of us who need some carbs in order to feel satisfied.
Have you ever met the hangry beast? What’s your preferred method of beating it?