Hanger: when hunger meets anger. And you aren’t just imagining that you get meaner as your time between meals gets longer; being hangry is normal (and justifiable) behavior. The culprit: low blood sugar. It’s been linked to anger and aggression between married couples and even to violent deaths across the world. But don’t think that you can shove a Snickers® in your mouth and go from The Hulk to Strawberry Shortcake. The key to fighting hanger is with smart snacking.
Because your hunger-induced aggression is the result of low blood sugar, it’s obvious that, to get back to your cheery self, you need to raise your glucose levels. To snack your way back to reality in a healthy fashion, registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner told Huffington Post that you should eat a combination of produce and protein. These foods are fiber rich and allow you to stay full between meals. Check out some of our favorite healthy combos, both recipes and simple dippers, to keep from lashing out at your husband, kids or cube mate.
Veggies and hummus: Chickpeas are high in fiber, making them a superfood for stabilizing blood sugar and preventing hunger pangs. Making homemade hummus as a dip for carrots and celery is a healthy, tasty way to satisfy your midday tummy rumbles. The high water content of the veggies will also keep you from lurking around the vending machine as it keeps you full longer.
Nonfat cottage cheese and tomatoes: One cup of nonfat cottage cheese packs 15 grams of protein which are slow-digesting, making it a wise snack choice. Topping your serving with fresh cherry tomatoes creates a balanced pick-me-up. If you aren't a fan of tomatoes, swap them for peaches, grapefruit or berries for other healthy hanger-fighting options.
Fruity California Walnut Salad: Walnuts have been known to improve memory and brain function, so they're a go-to when it comes to smart snacking. Pairing them in a simple salad with your favorite fruits and nonfat yogurt is so light and delicious it could double as a dessert. Get the recipe by Walnuts.org here!
Apple sandwiches: A quick, delicious solution to fighting hunger is to pair high fiber apples with two protein rich foods: almond butter and granola. These sandwiches can be prepped and stored in the fridge to be grabbed on-the-go since no one wants to see a hangry woman holding a knife. (via Garnish With Lemon)
Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Banana Bites: This frozen treat is perfect for giving you that little extra midday energy. The banana and peanut butter allow your body to process healthy sugars and proteins, and this recipe packs a secret ingredient (applesauce) for added fiber. And the chocolate? Well, that's just because it tastes delicious. Get the full ingredients list here.
Nutella® Energy Bites: Sometimes chocolatey goodness is the key to solving life's problems and this recipe is sure to leave you smiling and satisfied. Pistachios, oats, chia seeds and Nutella® (made with hazelnut) packs these bites with protein and the Craisins® and dates bring in a little fruity flavor. Try them for yourself by checking out the recipe!
Blatner also suggests trying simpler hanger-fighting combinations like mango + pistachios, apple + almonds, bananas + walnuts, and cherry tomatoes with string cheese.