The term "hangry" is totally real, and there are some things you honestly shouldn't do when you're running on empty. When you're in need of a bite, your brain and emotions aren't in sync, so you might find yourself making bad decisions out of impulse.
If you're thinking, "I could really go for a cheeseburger right now," you're likely to have some regrets later on, as you're unable to hold yourself accountable and think rationally in such an emotional state. And, if your actions impact other people, it might compromise your relationships, moving forward.
Instead, save these 7 tasks for a time when you're satiated. Or, grab a quick snack and then move about your day. And, if you really do need that cheeseburger, we got you covered.
Have An Argument
Save the deep emotions for another time. "If you snap at your partner while hungry, or they say something that annoys you, pause and have a snack before you say anything irrational. Low blood sugar also causes irritability, so things you may normally brush off may become a bigger deal," says Kelly Jones MS, RD, CSSD, LDN.
By just reaching for a bite to eat, you'll be able to get your thinking back and check and communicate with your partner in a loving, calm manner.
Make Big Decisions
"During times of hunger, blood sugar can drop, leading to headaches, confusion, as well as anger or heightened emotional energy. It's for this reason that you should avoid important decisions, or attempt to engage in tasks that require critical thinking and analytical skills," says Robert Glatter, MD, Asst Professor of Emergency Medicine, Lenox Hill Hospital, Northwell Health.
Take a moment to think things over clearly. When you have too intense of emotions, you won't be able to come to a decision that makes the most sense for you in the future.
If you're a student, it's best not to open the books when you're hungry, says Jones.
"Your brain prefers carbohydrates in the form of glucose, as its fuel source. If you're hungry and blood sugar levels are low, you have some reserves in your liver, but they won't last you long if you're trying to focus for long periods of time," Jones explains.
Nourish your brain like you nourish your muscles, and always have a snack when you're looking to learn something new or hone your skills.
Looking for a good source of carbohydrates? These are all complex, meaning they'll hold you over longer and not add the pounds.
Go Grocery Shopping
Don't go grocery shopping when hungry. Just don't do it. You'll be likely to make impulse purchases. (That candy bar looks oh so tempting when you're low in fuel, right?) Instead, have a quick snack before heading out, says Jones.
"If your blood sugar is low, your body will go into protection mode and start craving anything that can make it rise quickly, leading to impulsive purchases on not-so-high-quality foods," she explains.
Enter Stressful Situations
If you have the nerves before an upcoming presentation, don't even think about skipping breakfast. Instead, you'll want a breakfast of champions.
"Don't enter stressful situations when hungry. If you're dreading a meeting at work or a presentation, you may feel too nervous to eat or even forget to. But, skipping a meal or snack means your blood sugar can drop and lead to the release of extra cortisol and epinephrine, which can increase your stress and anxiety levels further," says Jones.
Instead, eat a well-rounded meal or snack prior. You'll be able to think and perform better.
Go To Sleep Hungry
If you're feeling the munchies before bed, you might want to reach for a light snack, like a handful of almonds, tart cherries, or a serving of Greek yogurt (or these yogurt covered blueberries). If you don't, you might be up for a while, and you might wake up feeling more tired and achy than usual.
And, this is especially true if you've had a tough workout. "Right after we fall asleep, hormones that support muscle growth and repair are at their highest. If your muscles need to repair, but they don't have the nutrients to do so, you'll be more sore the next day and take longer to recover from the workout," says Jones.
It's also worth noting that your fitness goals might suffer, if this becomes a nightly habit.
If you're heading to happy hour, you don't want to arrive empty, unless you're expecting to order some appetizers. And, if so, wait a few bites before taking a sip of that cocktail, to give your body time to absorb the nutrients, first.
"Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach increases BAC by up to 50%, leading to not only some drunkenness, but a bad hangover the next day," says Jones.