Fighting the Hunger Demons
The biggest enemy of anyone trying to better their health and eating is hunger. There are a variety of situations that can lead to irregular eating, but if you allow yourself to get over-hungry, your ability to make appropriate food choices is compromised. It’s the old joke about shopping while hungry. It’s actually sound advice!
Similar to making decisions while drinking alcohol – when you are too hungry, your judgment is impaired. You buy more than you need and make spur of the moment decisions because something catches your eye or appeals to your growling stomach! Wherever you are, in the airport, on the plane, in your hotel, standing over the snack table in a meeting, if you are too hungry you will overeat. You will also be likely to choose fattier and higher-calorie comfort foods. This is your brain’s way of trying to stock up because it perceives there is a famine going on. Incidentally, regularly allowing yourself to go long periods without eating slows down your metabolism! Your body thinks it is starving, so it starts to reserve fuel, making the battle for a healthy weight all that much harder.
Best Tip to Curb your Hunger Demons: Pack snacks
You want snacks that are easy to carry with you, and don’t require refrigeration. Fruit is always a good snack, but can be difficult to transport and sometimes spoils easily. You can consider trail mix, nuts, travel packs of peanut butter, and energy bars. All in all, protein bars are the business traveler’s best friend. They allow you to stave off hunger until you are in a location where you can find a healthy option, or to take the edge off before an unknown situation, such as a buffet. You want a snack that is low sugar, and low glycemic index, if possible. I’m not talking about carb-heavy granola bars. These tend to be high in both sugar and salt. My personal favorite is Kashi® GO LEAN® bars. They have the perfect balance of protein, fiber and optimized glycemic response–perfect ingredients for great taste and a lasting feeling of fullness. Protein bars will give you a good dose of energy that will last longer than something that is full of carbs. Larabars® – a “raw” energy bar that tastes amazing – is all fruit & nuts, no added sugar, and come in flavors like “cherry pie”. Also worth noting, Clif Bars®: Try the “chocolate chip” flavor. It tastes like a cross between a brownie and a chocolate chip cookie! Luna® bars: “Nutz over Chocolate” is one of the best flavors in this brand.
Ultimately, find a brand you like, hopefully with different flavors to ensure a variety that will keep you from getting bored. You might need to experiment a bit and choke down some of the nastier types out there (we all have our own taste preferences) but soon you will be buying your favorites in bulk. Before long, you will not leave the house without having 3 or 4 bars in your bag or briefcase.
Arm yourself with healthy snacks – be it fruit, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or protein bars – and you will never be “too” hungry, again.