Hangry! Have you heard of this word? Odds are (especially if you go to the gym on a regular basis or enjoy the workout culture in general) you know what this word means and, unfortunately, how it feels! But just in case this is new to you, here’s the definition from oxforddictionaries.com:
Hangry: bad tempered or irritable as a result of hunger
Some people argue that slang words such as hangry shouldn’t be in the dictionary. But hangry, a serious crankiness and unfavorable mood that occurs when I am really hungry, is a common and scientifically backed experience that will probably occur at some point in your life (or even a few times a week)!
You might feel hangry when you skip a meal, eat in an unbalanced manner or don’t have access to food for a certain time period. Science has shown that being hangry is often the result of plummeting blood sugar and serotonin levels; this drop appears to lessen your ability to react calmly to situations or communicate in a rational manner.
It’s uncomfortable for you and the people around you! It can lead binging, yelling at your loved ones and feeling horrible.
Following a regular fitness plan and eating right can be hard enough without this experience. Here are three easy tips to help you avoid being hangry:
- Plan ahead: Everyone is different. Some people need to eat every hour, and others can skip meals for hours at a time. Know your body and have snacks easily accessible to keep your blood sugar levels stabilized. I like to keep energizing snacks in my purse or car, such almonds and a few cranberries in a plastic bag or even a protein bar. I’d also suggest trying to prep meals more often so they just need to be heated up.
- Balance your meals: Ever notice that after you eat a sugary meal or carb-loaded treat you hit a wall or lose all your steam a bit later? Experience less fluctuation by eating meals that are “macro-nutrient” balanced with lean proteins, healthy carbs and fats throughout the day.
- Increase protein and fiber: When we diet, it’s common to inadvertently decrease our protein intake at the same time. This is detrimental to our muscle mass and overall appetite! If you want to avoid being hangry, opt for meals high in lean protein and stock up on fibrous foods, especially leafy greens and colorful vegetables. This will keep you fuller longer and keep your blood sugars and hormones balanced.