Nutritionist, accredited dietitian, self-confessed foodie and queen of entertaining Rachael Bradford joins us again, with her hot tips on avoiding the dreaded “hangry’s.” As we get back on track with our diet and fitness after a tumultuous year, giving our nervous and digestive systems as much care, support and attention as we can will help keep us strong, healthy and positive as we near our first COVID Summer and Christmas Holiday season.
Nobody knows your body better than you; but Rachael shares the first telltale signs that your food choices might need some adjusting. Continuing the good vibes from her fantastic article about Getting on Track With your Nutrition, this DOESN’T mean you have to go on a diet. Avoiding the “Hangry’s” and making more health promoting and body-loving choices is easier than you might think.
What is Hangry all About Rachael?
People may experience feeling “hangry” (a state of anger caused by lack of food) in the latter part of the day due to not eating enough for their body at the start of the day.
Our body runs like a machine and is designed to be fuelled regularly throughout the day to function at its best. Some people have quite a fast metabolism, and need food every three hours, others may be every five hours. If you are close to these points in time, you may start to notice subtle signs that your blood glucose levels are starting to fall – starting with a small niggle or hunger pang, a drop in concentration or memory, foggy brain, headache, irritability and in more extreme cases – dizzy, lightheaded and shaky.
Your body works to restore normal glucose levels by making and releasing hormones such as adrenalin, cortisol, glucagon and growth hormone. A common after effect of feeling hangry is a craving for fast-acting high carbohydrate foods, in order to increase the blood glucose levels quickly. Because the body is in a state of distress, it has you reaching for crisps, rice snacks, lollies, chocolate or sweet biscuits, and often in larger amounts for an extra top-up.
The best way to avoid the hangry, is to really understand your body, listen to its valuable feedback and nourish it with regular meals and snacks to suit your metabolism.
Hot Pantry Tip
Try to keep these quick and easy mid-meal snacks on hand: nuts, yoghurt, fruit, hard-boiled egg, vegetable crudites and hummus, apple and nut butter, crackers with avocado.
Activate your Energy Levels with the Choices you make
Energy is one of the body’s most precious resources and one that is so directly affected by the busy “switched-on” lives we lead, the food we eat, the activity we do, and the sleep we get. The good news is there are many things that you can do each day to increase your energy and vitality, and “change what you can change”.
The only way you obtain energy on a physical level is through the food that you eat.
Whilst the macronutrients in food provide our body with the energy it needs, it is the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) that convert this into the energy (ATP) that our cells will use. Choose whole, real foods that are rich in these nutrients.
Vegetables, fruits, lentils and legumes, meat and seafood, dairy foods or milk alternatives, wholegrains and nourishing fats. These foods with a high nourishment value will give you higher energy levels.
Two vital micronutrients for your energy power-pack are iron and the B group vitamins. Choose iron rich foods such as meat, chicken, seafood, eggs, lentils and dark green leafy vegetables. The B group vitamins help to release the energy from food, and are found in lean meats, tuna, pork, eggs, leafy greens, yeast extract, almonds and seeds, wholegrains and bananas. That’s plenty of choice!
Co-enzyme Q10 is another micronutrient that is crucial for energy production and also acts as an antioxidant in the body. You can get small amounts of CoQ10 from meat, seafood and extra virgin olive oil. Your body needs plentiful antioxidants from brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, green tea and cacao to prevent tissue damage and boost energy.
Choose more colourful wholefoods
There are so many benefits to adding as much colour to your plate as you can. Choosing bright, vibrant coloured fruits and vegetables that are packed full of essential vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants and fibre will work in perfect synergy to improve your health.
Increasing your intake of green vegetables with nourishing fats (eg avocado or extra virgin olive oil) tends to make a positive difference to your desire for sugar. The Mediterranean people base their meals around vegetables, and use a plant to animal ratio of 4:1, meaning four serves of vegetables to every one serve of animal protein. As a guide, choose one cup of leafy greens (spinach, silverbeet, endive and kale), one whole tomato and 2 cups of other coloured vegetables each day. Enjoy two pieces of fruit each day and choose up to twelve different fruits a week.
By tuning into your body’s hunger and fullness cues, feeding your body the way that it wants to be fed, you will certainly avoid the hangry in the afternoon. You will also have the energy, vitality and positivity to get the best out of your day and actively and mindfully engage with those around you.
About Rachael Bradford
Rachael Bradford is a nutritionist and accredited practising dietitian with over 25 years of nutrition experience in a wide range of health conditions. She is the Director of Eat and Enjoy Nutrition, a private practice in Brisbane. Rachael’s love of food and keen interest and intrigue in science lead her to the path of nutrition and dietetics at an early age, and she has not looked back.
Rachael helps her happy clients by translating the latest evidenced-based nutritional science into practical and tasty strategies that can be implemented into your daily life. Achieve your health and wellness goals that are specific for your body and mind, not that of others.