Feeling hangry? 6 expert tips for sticking to your healthy eating goals

While the word itself was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2018, feeling “starved” is an age-old problem. This specific combination of hunger and anger – the kind that can only be cured by devouring food, glorified food – is enough to turn even the most purrified person into a raging beast.

According to a new survey from WW, 86% of people struggle with hangovers, while 34% said they think about food more when they follow a calorie-restricted or controlled diet. But why does hunger produce an emotional response for so many of us?

Dietitian Lifesum Signe Svanfeldt. Photo: Lifesum/PA

“Similar to what happens when people are easily irritated when they have low energy due to lack of sleep, a lack of fuel from food can leave you feeling irritable and tired,” says Lifesum Nutritionist Signe Svanfeldt.

“All individuals are different. Some are more sensitive to feeling hungry, and why others are not affected.”

The good news is that there are many ways to maintain well-being without getting caught up in the healthy eating bandwagon

Expert tips for sticking to the New Year’s diet

Store frozen fruit

“Frozen fruits and vegetables are quick, nutritious, and cost-effective options to have on hand,” says GP and health coach Dr. Helen Lawal.

You can buy bags of berry mix that thaws quickly at room temperature or quickly blasted in the microwave, or you can add it frozen to smoothies.

“They go great with yogurt, ice cream, or stirred into porridge,” adds Dr. Lawal.

Make sure meals are balanced

“Balanced meals keep you feeling fuller for longer and provide you with the nutrients needed to fuel your body,” says nutritionist Svanfeldt. This is why it’s best to avoid carbohydrate-rich dishes and make sure you get a good mix of “dietary fibre, healthy unsaturated fats, and protein.”

“Don’t be afraid of trans fats. The likes of avocados, nuts, olive oil, and oily fish have benefits and can make meals more satisfying.”

Double your dishes

Lawal recommends that while you’re eating a balanced meal or healthy snack, double the portion size and save it for later.

“Keep stock in the fridge for the bad moments when you tend to reach for a box of cookies.”

Similar to what happens when people are easily upset when they have low energy from lack of sleep, a lack of fuel from food can leave you feeling irritated and tired Image: Alamy/PAS
Similar to what happens when people are easily upset when they have low energy from lack of sleep, a lack of fuel from food can leave you feeling irritated and tired Image: Alamy/PAS

collect the beans

Another way to feel satisfied longer is by adding pulses like beans, chickpeas or lentils to recipes.

“Keep your store cupboard stocked with a variety of canned beans,” Lawal says. “Full of protein and fiber-packed, add it to any meal you’re already cooking from curries to stews.”

Bring your snacks

Do you often give in to sugary impulse purchases when you’re out and about? “If you know you’re going to be on the run, always make sure to bring a nutritious snack in your bag so it’s available when you’re running low,” says Svanfeldt.

Get enough sleep

Find yourself snacking more when you’re tired? There is a reason for that.

“Get a good amount of sleep and get enough sleep,” advises Lawal (according to the NHS, most adults need six to nine hours a night).

“This affects the hormones that control how hungry and full we feel.”

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