Do you get hangry?
You know, when you’re hungry and become irritable, can’t think clearly, then you eat and you’re fine? That’s called being hangry. It used to happen to me ALL the time. I thought it was just what happened when humans become hungry! I did my best to prevent it by always packing snacks, but when it did happen it was bad. During my training to become an NTP, I learned about blood sugar regulation and discovered that what I thought was a very healthy way to eat (mainly vegetarian) was causing blood sugar imbalances that resulted in me being hangry if I was hungry.
Begin hangry is one sign of blood sugar dysregulation. Other signs to be aware of include: craving coffee or sugar in the afternoon, being sleepy in the afternoon, fatigue that’s relieved by eating, headaches if meals are skipped or delayed, and being shaky before meals. Chronic blood sugar dysregulation can lead to (among many other things!) metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimers, which some are now calling type 3 diabetes.
Benefits of keeping your blood sugar stable can include: sustained energy, better sleep, disease prevention, mood stability, weight loss, better fertility, and more. My personal favorite is being free from constantly packing snacks and thinking about your next meal to prevent a meltdown.
Here are 3 things you can do to avoid getting hangry...
Remember the saying “What goes up, must come down.” The best way to avoid getting hangry is to avoid foods that cause a large rise in blood sugar in the first place.
The foods that cause a rise in blood sugar, which leads to a drop later, which makes you feel hangry, are the carbohydrate foods, especially the refined ones. Refined carbohydrates include: white bread, white tortillas, noodles, white rice, crackers, chips, pretzels, sugars, fruit juices, syrups, cakes, candies, cookies, soda, etc.
Listen to your body and eat when you are hungry. Don’t skip meals or snacks if you feel hungry. People often mistake thirst for hunger, so make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. When you eat, eat whole, nutrient dense foods.
Eat your whole carbohydrate foods with healthy fats and protein for balance. Fats, protein and fiber slow down the release of glucose into your bloodstream. Examples of whole carbohydrate foods are: vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, and fruits.
The optimal balance of carbohydrate, protein and healthy fat to keep your blood sugar stable varies from person to person and can change throughout your life and even day to day. Begin learning what works for you by paying attention to your moods and energy levels throughout the day. Check in with yourself after meals and see how you are feeling. Keeping a food/mood journal can help you make connections you may otherwise miss.
A good place to start is breakfast. Experiment to see if you can find a breakfast that keeps you full with stable energy until lunchtime, without the need for a snack. Then try with lunch, then dinner.
Here are some examples of snacks and meals that are imbalanced and a more balanced choice:
Imbalance- cereal with low fat milk
Balance- scrambled eggs with spinach cooked in butter
Balance- cheese and pear
Imbalance- apple juice
Balance- walnuts with an apple
Imbalance- all veggie salad with low fat dressing and croutons
Balance- veggie salad with chicken, egg, cheese, fish or beef and homemade full fat dressing
Balance- celery with almond butter
Imbalance- pasta with vegetarian marinara sauce
Balance- steak with butter and steamed broccoli
Imbalance- air popped pop corn
Balance- half an avocado
Balance- hard boiled egg and carrot sticks
Imbalance- high sugar/carbohydrate energy or granola bar
Balance- low sugar jerky
I hope this post is helpful! If you would like personalized help balancing your blood sugar, I would love to work with you. You can schedule online here, call (541)318-4757 or email BendNutritionalTherapy@gmail.com.