Feeding yourself when you’re really starving hungry, I’m talking hangry, is a fine art. You’ve been at work, school, college all day and it’s been hours and hours since lunchtime. What do you do? If you are anything like me, my guess is that the second you walk through the door you will grab for the fattiest, sugariest, highest calorie thing you can get your hands on. Your body is in starvation mode and instant gratification is what you seek. Heck, you might not even make as far as the kitchen cupboards. You may be tempted into your favourite takeaway to pick up something greasy, salty and delicious on your way home. You might even eat most of it in the car.
This is a story I know all too well and I sometimes get stumped by it still. I work in a shop where the custard doughnuts happen to be vegan. By the time my break rolls around, I am sometimes so far past the point of hunger that I grab for them and inhale three on the trot. I’m still learning to fight my chimp brain too!
This story is becoming less and less frequent in my book however, as I arm myself with more tools to feed myself when I am really, really hungry! It has taken me years of making terrible food choices when I’m ravenous to get to where I am today, which is still not perfect but most of the time I manage to feed my body nourishing foods instead of greasy, salty, sugary junk. Here are some of the tools that I use…
This is my number one tip! When me and my girlfriend cook dinner, we always factor in leftovers. This gives us a pre-made nutritious and delicious lunch or dinner for the next day. We don’t have to think about it so it never becomes a choice between a takeaway or the pre-prepared delicious food in the fridge. It is so much quicker to heat up leftovers than going to a takeaway. Today I’ve not had to cook a single thing as I had leftover veggie stir and rice fry for lunch and some lentil soup for dinner.
Cook ahead of time
If you know you have a mega busy day tomorrow, do yourself a favour and cook something tonight so you have a nourishing meal to feed your body when you get home from your busy day. This is as easy as throwing a few baking potatoes in the oven as you go about your evening. Also pack yourself a big lunch and lots of snacks to ensure that you keep your blood sugar from diving dangerously low towards the end of the day. If you’re lucky enough to have a slow cooker, you could also pop that on in the morning. When you return home you will have a lovely home cooked meal to look forward to with pretty little effort.
Keep good snacks in the house
We always have some kind of crackers and hummus, bread, carrots, plenty of fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, cereal, salted tortilla chips, peanut butter and dark chocolate. These might not all be the saintliest of snacks but these are the snacks that I enjoy. They have saved me from starvation on many occasions and meant that I can have a snack and then wait for something good for dinner.
Arm yourself with some super speedy recipes
My go to recipes for when I am starving are stir fry, pasta with tomato sauce, beans on toast, really quick lentil soup, veggie burgers with salad. All of these recipes take less than 20 minutes, which is definitely quicker than going to a takeaway, waiting for a takeaway and bringing it home to eat!
Think about how the food makes you feel
I often crave greasy salty chips from the chip shop when I am really hungry. I rarely go to get them though. I just have to think about how they make me feel after I have eaten them, which is sluggish, uncomfortably bloated and lethargic. This plus a snack to tide me over until I can cook something usually works. Of course there is a time and a place for chips in my life.. I thoroughly enjoy a bag of hot greasy chips after a really long hike!
Stock your freezer and cupboards well
Our cupboards mainly consist of ingredients for cooking yummy food. However, lurking around somewhere we will often have a couple of packets of the pre-cooked lentil curry pouches or something similar. These are intended to be kept in the cupboard for ‘just incase’ we go on an impromptu camping trip. They rarely make it as far as the tent as they have saved us from starving on many occasions. A packet of the curry plus some cous cous is ready to eat in less than 5 minutes. Whilst this may not the perfect freshly cooked meal, is definitely better than a whole pack of Oreos, bag of Doritos or a family block of chocolate! We are currently without a freezer, but when we have one we always keep a stock of veggie burgers and vegan sausages handy for some real quick meals. Probably not the most nutritious thing in the world but definitely a super quick meal for when you’re pooped at the end of the day.
I hope these tips might help you to make better food choices when you too are hangry! It is certainly an art to master (I’m still learning too!) as the chimp in your brain tends to take over and make unhealthy food choices for you when your blood sugar is low. However with a small amount of forward planning and some great snacks, I believe you will soon become better at making healthier food choices when you’re tired or hungry. Of course the biggest tip should have been to never let yourself get to that point of hunger in the first place, but I know this is sometimes unavoidable. In the workplace break times are often dictated to you by your manager, or you may be so busy at work that you don’t actually have time for your break which could mean that it’s a really long time until you can eat a morsel.
Here’s a recipe to get you started with your own list of ‘super speedy recipes for when you’re hangry’ it’s a filling lentil soup that is ready in about 20 minutes.
- 1 medium onion
- 3 celery sticks
- 3 carrots
- 1 litre veggie stock
- 100g red split lentils
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- If you have a food processor; peel the onions and put the onion, carrots and celery in the processor and turn it on until everything is quite finely chopped.
- If you don’t have a food processor; finely dice the onion, carrots and celery
- Sautee the vegetables in a pan with a little oil for a few mins to soften.
- Then add everything else! (You can use more or less stock depending on how thick you like your soup)
- Simmer until the lentils are soft.
Serve with some bread or toast and you should be satisfied in no time. If you just can’t wait you can eat your toast whilst you wait for your soup to cook!
Questions for you…
- What are your favourite super speedy meals?
- What do you crave when you’re really hungry?
- Do you have any tips to share for how to eat better when you’re starving hungry?
Thanks for reading,