By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
What are the signs of hunger? How to control appetite? Use these tips to find out if you're hungry for real, how to reduce hunger, and what to do if you're hangry–aka hungry and angry.
On any holiday, there's a lot of prep work to be done for your glorious feast. You might spend the entire day in the kitchen chopping veggies, marinating your protein of choice, cleaning up the powdered-sugar mess from oh-so-many dessert recipes, and meticulously setting the table before guests arrive.
With so much to do in such little time, it’s easy to forget to refuel with nourishing meals. And this, friends, is when not-so-pretty side effects may happen–aka getting hangry.
Let’s be real: No one likes–or wants to be!–a hangry host. In this blog post, I’m giving you all the tools–hello, adult hanger kit!–you need to prevent the attitude you may get when you need a snack or meal ASAP, including energizing and filling breakfast recipes.
And when you start to feel like you’re hungry and on the verge of a hanger-induced meltdown, break out a Hangry Prevention Kit that’s been curated with my expert food picks. Now, get ready to kick being hangry to the curb, fuel up, and feel good!
How Do You Know if You're Hungry?
Let's start with an important question: How do you know you're actually hungry, for real? And what causes hunger in the first place? Find out all the details about how hunger and how to keep it at bay.
You know the feeling: Maybe you're in the midst of a big work project, or perhaps you're simply running errand after errand. All of a sudden, you feel lightheaded, irritable, and all-around so hangry that you know you've got to eat. Right now.
Even though you may have started your day off with a powerful breakfast–ahem, egg-topped hummus toast–you're suddenly feeling ravenous. What
Despite hunger being a seemingly simple physiological function, understanding when you're truly hungry for real can be complicated. Because there are also those times you're watching a movie and suddenly feel the urge to nosh come along. How can you tell when you actually need to eat and if you're experiencing physical hunger?
Physical signs of being hungry include:
- lack of energy
- a growling stomach
But I suggest not letting things get that far because those signs aren’t fun! Instead, plan out eating occasions every three to five hours—that typically means three meals and one or two snacks. If you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, timing your meals is even more important for controlling blood-sugar levels.
When you acknowledge true hunger, you may also see a downfall in emotional eating, an uptick in mindful eating, and you may even lose weight or prevent weight gain if that's a goal.
And of course, practicing mindfulness and paying attention when you eat are great, as studies show that these actions help you reduce emotional eating for the long term.
How to Curb Appetite
A hunger cue is your body’s way of telling you that it needs energy. Hunger cues also help you to know when you feel full and should stop eating. Did you know that hunger cues are regulated by hormones in your body—including the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and the fullness hormone, leptin?
In addition to the hunger cues regulated by your body, there’s also such a thing as hedonic hunger, which is the desire to eat fatty or sugary foods for pleasure.
And how do you know how much and what you should eat to feel fueled for the day? To help you unpack it all–and keep a pretzel binge at bay–I'm giving you all the details on hunger, including the signs that you need to fuel up ASAP, along with healthy snack ideas for the times when eating a full-fledged meal might not be the best idea.
No one likes a hangry co-worker, which makes listening to your hunger cues—aka your body's signals that you should rip open your emergency protein bar (or simply head to lunch, pronto)—super important.
In this Well+Good article, I share the hunger cues you should look out for, plus how frequently you should plan to eat to avoid feeling hunger pangs in the first place. Hint: It's more often than you might think! By the way, these are the times when a fast, healthy lunch becomes uber convenient.
What to Put in a Hungry Kit
Are you angry and hungry, aka hungry? Or maybe you're simply tired and hungry.
Do you tend to get hungry and angry, aka hangry? With the hanger kit that follows, your irritable mood will be a thing of the past and you'll get to indulge in a delicious spread of snacks.
Parents know you always need to keep snacks on hand to quell hungry toddlers at any moment. So why should it be any different for adults? Whether you’re in for a full day of hosting or are planning for a shop ’til you drop post-holiday spree, pack a Hangry Prevention Kit.
I had so much fun sharing my favorite satisfying snack picks with Well+Good so you can actually enjoy time with your loved ones. Yup, being hangry will officially be a thing of the past with this adult hanger kit! Happy holidays, everyone! And hello, hunger and fullness!
If you're experiencing food cravings, try approaching those with moderation. For instance, if you want something sweet, have some fruit. And of course, it's best to stop eating when you're approaching fullness.
This blog post was updated in October 2020.
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I'd love to hear from you! Do you get hungry and angry? What would add to this hanger kit? How do you reduce stress during the holidays? What are your go-to foods when you feel hungry?
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