How To Stay Healthy And Avoid Hangry.
Picture the scene.
You’ve been working hard. Focussed on some super-important task. Shizzle that must be done. Maybe it’s really interesting and you got lost in doing it.
Hours tick by.
Your bum is numb in your chair. Back killing.
Eyes are crossed from staring at a screen.
You haven’t had a brew in eons.
And you notice your energy really f-l-a-g-g-i-n-g.
One computer error or the broadband goes down and suddenly you turn from a Mild Mannered Miss to totes Bitch Troll From Hell, hurling your stress ball and unrepeatable abuse at your computer screen.
You’re more than thirsty, peckish and tetchy. You’re full on HANGRY.
When Hangry Strikes
So what do you do in your hangry state?
Crash into the kitchen like an ogre and look for the quickest, easiest, most fuelling – AVAILABLE – foods. It usually involves bread and cheese (or that classic variation toast and cheese). Or a shrivelled, microwaved, chewy potato. Or the contents of the cookie jar.
If you’re out at work or college, you go to the canteen or shop and carb up big styley. Maybe even with bread and cheese again.
Am I right?
Washed down with a mug of coffee as big as your own head.
Any thoughts of nutrition, protecting your health, balancing your hormones, stabilising energy or moods, boosting your fertility – woooooshhhhhh. They flew straight out of the window.
Sticking with healthy habits isn’t always easy.
We’re busy, tired and sometimes don’t feel like rustling up a healthy meal or snack. I get it.
Sometimes, get pretty hangry myself. I have been known to eat doorsteps of sourdough toast and almond butter for lunch.
The key is a bit of PLANNING AHEAD. And EATING LITTLE AND OFTEN. Even though it’s tempting to skip meals when we’re busy.
Reasons To Avoid The Hangry
The main reason for hangry-ness is not eating regularly or skipping meals altogether.
Here’s why that’s not such a great plan.
- Not eating often or skipping meals messes up our blood sugar levels. When our blood sugar is out of whack, so are our energy levels, moods and hormones.
- It also affects our mood and concentration. We can feel tired, sluggish and moody. Hell yeah. We might also find it tough to concentrate which leads to poor performance.
- If we make skipping meals a habit it can alters our metabolism. Our systems thinks it’s starving. Metabolism goes down. Our bodies stores and hangs onto fat. Bummer.
- Again, over time, it can increase our risk of diabetes. Blood sugar is higher and insulin balance thrown out of kilter.
- We can have lower nutrition because we miss out on meals or we reach for poor food choices when we’re really hungry.
- It can affect blood pressure. The drop in blood sugar levels due to skipping meals stimulates our bodies to release hormones to make up for low blood sugar. This in turn causes an increase in blood pressure levels.
- We risk digestion issues. One of the key causes of acid, reflux, stomach pain and gas is skipping meals. When our stomachs are empty for a long time, there is more acid. So every time we skip meals, our stomachs produce acids that attack the stomach lining leading to acidity, ulcers and abdominal pain.
Best avoided, yes?
Planning Ahead To Avoid The Hangry and Stay Healthy
Planning ahead is key. It doesn’t just start in the kitchen, though, it goes way back to meal planning, shopping and meal prep.
Here are some of my top tips:-
#1 Always make a list before you shop.
That way you’ll be less likely to meander around being tempted by the unhealthy and convenient choices. You could shop online to reduce risks of impulse shopping even more. If it’s not in the house, you can’t eat it either. ‘Nuff said.
#2 Never shop hungry.
It’s too tempting to reach for chocolate, crisps or cake. Or a family sized pizza. All of which aren’t really healthy, hormone balancing or fertility-friendly. Food is fuel and food is medicine. Cake is neither fuel nor medicine *winks* It IS food for the soul … that should only be quaffed in the 10% of the time that we eat for the soul.
#3 Shop for fresh produce regularly.
You want veggies and fruit especially fresh to max the nutrition value and fresh fish tastes much nicer than frozen – I think anyway.
#4 Plan meals ahead.
That way you can shop more effectively. Maybe cuts down on any food waste too. I actually have a one page meal planner. I use it for planning main meals, but you can use it for snacks too.
AND if you’re savvy you can cut down on food prep and cooking with the “cook once, eat twice” idea. e.g. cook a roast chicken on Sunday and eat leftovers for lunch or dinner for Monday!
#5 Batch cook and store food in the fridge or freezer.
Of course, be mindful of food safety. Don’t eat spoiled food. I often cook up a lot of healthy food on a Sunday to have in the fridge or to freeze for meals in the week or weeks ahead. Soups, stews, casseroles, curries, dhaals are good choices. I even cook up things like more rice than needed or a large pan of quinoa and transform it into different lunch dishes during the week.
Get the whole family roped into batch cooking to make it quicker, easier and more fun.
#6 Portion up food for meals in advance.
For example box up or plate up lunches tonight for tomorrow. So if hangry strikes, you just reach into the fridge and grab your healthy, filling food… feeling more saintly than if you snarfed a cheddar sandwich. And feeling loads better for a nutritious meal. You can even portion up and freeze food to defrost and reheat.
Stay healthy, avoid hangry ladies.