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Food and mood

Toni-Ann DiSantis

Food and mood: Avoid that “hangry” feeling.

Do you ever push through lunch to get work done, or skip breakfast, only to find yourself snapping at your spouse or a co-worker? That “hangry” feeling is real, according to research. The drop in blood sugar that occurs when we go too long without eating can trigger the release of stress hormones and lead to irritability and anxiety. By tweaking your eating habits, you can help to keep your blood sugar and mood on an even keel. Keeping things steady begins at breakfast. For starters, have one! And make it nourishing. Boxed cereal, a pastry or bagel, or any other carbs that have been stripped of fiber and nutrients will send your blood sugar soaring — only to crash later. But a breakfast of whole-grain toast with nut butter and apples or last-night’s lentil-veggie stew offer a kinder, gentler blood-sugar journey (and loads of nutrients). Plan to eat every few hours, and be sure to include fiber-rich plant foods, protein, and a nourishing source of fat at every meal and snack. For those times when you get busy, keep nourishing “emergency” snacks on hand, like nuts and dried fruit. And tune in to your body regularly for signs of hunger so you can eat before you feel famished. Call it “hanger management”!