Try one of these strategies.
You might have noticed that getting very hungry or ravenous can make you more likely to binge eat or feel out of control around food. Plus, getting ‘hangry’ can mess with your mood and energy.
Occasionally, we’ll all get too hungry – it happens! Life is unpredictable and wild. But if getting too hungry has become quite common for you, here are some strategies to try:
Look for patterns
Is there a time of day or night when you’re most likely to become overly hungry? Is there a setting or situation when this is most likely to happen? If you find a pattern (e.g. you are often overly hungry when you get home in the afternoon), then you can get curious about why it’s happening and experiment with different ways of eating. Could an extra snack or two help? What about eating more at the previous meal?
Try a pre-commute snack
If you’re often really hungry in the afternoon and often find yourself devouring food the minute you walk in the door, try a pre-commute snack! It’s simple: Eat before you head home after your day is done. You could try a piece of fresh fruit and some nuts before school pick up, or a slice of wholegrain toast with avocado enjoyed at the office before commuting home.
Mix up your meal options
If you’re starving by lunchtime, then maybe it’s time to try a different breakfast option that’ll keep you fuller for longer. And/or introduce a truly satisfying snack. If you’re too hungry by the time you get home from work, then maybe your afternoon snack needs to be bigger or different. And if a handful of nuts often turns into 10 handfuls, then it’s a clue that you were hungry for something more substantial!
You might need to eat more than you think you ‘should’!
Perhaps you have an idea of what you ‘should’ be eating from years of dieting. Maybe it’s based on calories, the suggested portion sizes on packets, a previous meal plan or what your personal trainer says. Regardless – if you’re getting too hungry too often – you probably need to give yourself permission to eat more. Your hunger will guide you to eat the right amount of energy for your body.
Shift meal times to a little earlier
You may be waiting too late to eat. Can you bring your meal time forward? While 1pm might be when other people are ready to eat lunch, it may be too late for your body clock. Or perhaps dinner could be a bit earlier? Ask yourself: When am I actually comfortably hungry? That’s the best time to eat, before getting ravenous or too hungry.
“Help! I’m a shift worker?”
If you have set work breaks, and you can’t move meals earlier or later to suit your hunger, then try eating slightly more at the previous meal or break time. Or you could try seeing how different foods impact your hunger later. Salad or pasta leaving you too hungry a few hours later? Try a whole grain sandwich, leftovers from Back to Basics or another satisfying-for-you option.
Pack a snack
If it feels right, you might want to keep some snacks in the glove box of your car, in your bag or in your office drawer or fridge. You deserve to satisfy your hunger before it turns into something uncontrollable.