How Do You Know If You’re Really Hungry? And Ways To Avoid Eating If You’re Not #greatstarts

I used to have a bad habit of eating something because I “thought” I was hungry. Like if I was at a party and there was food, I ate. I mean the hostess paid money to provide all this food and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Right? Wrong. I’ve worked hard at showing my son a healthy example of how to eat and snack only when I’m really hungry to help him avoid overeating and unhealthy snacking. We start our days off with a healthy breakfast, then lunch and dinner. Then we ask ourselves these questions if we feel hungry between meals…

05 Hunger vs Boredom how do you know if you're really hungry?
Check out more Great Starts Tips!

Am I really hungry or just bored?

I think most people can relate to this one. I’ve found that if I get up and do something, I’ll forget about food and get lost in what ever I’m doing, whether it’s reading a good book, working in the garden, or playing a game with my family, etc.

Children are notorious to say, “I’m bored”. When my son says he’s bored, I give him something to do. This usually will suffice his need to snack.

Am I really hungry or just thirsty?

I find that I don’t necessarily drink as much water in the colder months like I should. Because I’m not hot, I don’t tend to think I’m thirsty, but that I’m hungry. I always drink at least 8oz of water and wait approximately 15 minutes to see if I still feel hungry.

I also make sure that my son gets plenty of water. He had a tendency to snack while he did his homework, so now he sips on water while he does it, and usually he doesn’t want a snack anymore.

Have I been active for 60 minutes today?

I’m counting calories. I know how many calories I can have each day (without exercise), so if I want to eat more than my allotted calories, I have to get in an hour of exercise. I’ve been known to turn on some music and literally dance around my house for an hour. And more often than not, if I exercise for an hour, I don’t want to negate my hard work by eating.

If I do still feel hungry, I’ll fix a bowl of my favorite cereal, Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats, for a snack.

how do you know if you're really hungry? #greatstarts

Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats great start #greatstarts

Do I want to eat just because it’s there?

I am guilty of “mindless” eating. The one cookie leads to a second, third, or a whole box of cookies. I may chew a stick of sugar-free gum, instead. I also grew up with the mentality to clean my plate, or if I’m at a restaurant – I paid for it, so I should get my money’s worth.

Now I always box half for either dinner, or for lunch the next day. Plus I save money by getting two meals out of it.

Do I want to eat just because of where I am?

This was one of the hardest ones for me. My husband and I love going to the movies (before we had our son, we’ve gone to 2 movies in one day before) and I thought I HAD to have popcorn.  It’s been over 3 years since I’ve had popcorn at the movies. I do take gum or mints/hard candy to pop in my mouth just as the movie starts.

If I can avoid movie popcorn, anybody can.

How do you know if you’re really hungry? And do you avoid eating if you’re not?


Kellogg’s® believes that From Great Starts Come Great Things®. So we’re helping Moms start every day with a tip from the top athletes of Team Kellogg’s™ and Team USA dietitians. The thirty days leading up to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will each feature fun pieces of advice to help families fuel just like the athletes of Team Kellogg’s. To see all 30 tips, visit

Compensation was provided by Kellogg’s via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Kellogg’s.


  1. This is so helpful. I have a real tendency to snack when I am bored.

  2. Thanks this is helpful for sure. I know I eat out due to being bored at times! I will keep this in mind for sure.

  3. I really try to measure and portion out what I’m eating (even cereal). Otherwise I’ll eat a whole bag of snack food while watching a movie and not even realize it!

  4. These are great tips. I know I often eat just because I am bored.

  5. What a great infographic, and tons of helpful info. too. My (teen) daughter always heads right to the kitchen when she’s bored. Not a good habit to develop!

  6. These are some great tips. I am guilty of snacking when I am bored.

  7. Thanks for sharing these tips! When I set out to lose weight in 2012, my biggest hurdle was to learn how to tell when I really was hungry, not just when I wanted to eat!

  8. I am crazer and guilty as charged! Love this post!!!

  9. I always try to drink water before eating. That way I know if I’m hungry or just thirsty.

  10. Great post! I am so guilty of eating because I’m BORED. It’s such a bad habit. I just need to find something ELSE to do rather than let my hind end hang out of the cabinets!

  11. Good tips. I’m so bad to eat out of boredom.

  12. I am definitely guilty of this… I eat just because food is there all.the.time. Great tips and questions to ask myself, before binge-snacking! Thanks!

  13. I rarely eat at all. When I do I get full after two bites of food. Then I stop.I think too many people eat just to eat and clean the plate when they’re full. That’s a part of the reason so many are over weight.

  14. I make the mistake of eating when I’m bored a lot. I should employ those tips on the infographic!

  15. I know I often eat not because I’m hungry but because I’m bored or it looks good.

  16. I can completely related to #1, 4, and 5! The best ways is to not have too many snacks in the house but, if I do have some, just take a couple bites instead of a several pieces. Cereal is a great hunger quencher too!

  17. These are great tips! I’ve realized when I consume the appropriate amount of protein I can keep my snacking under control. TV time at night is always a struggle!

  18. great tips never knew this

  19. Those are really great tips…I used these a lot when I was dieting. Thanks for posting! 🙂 Have a nice day!

  20. amazing tips!!

  21. Great tips, I always ask myself… ‘are you REALLY hungry’? Most of the time I am just bored or have a taste for something.

  22. Great tips Donna, I eat sometimes because either I’m stressed or bored. Must drink more of that good old fashioned water 🙂

  23. Great infographic! I too, have a tendency to snack when I am bored or depressed!

  24. That’s a great visual. I often eat – ‘just because.” I need to change.

  25. We tend to feel hungry when we think about food, or simply because even though we have just eaten, what we have eaten is simply not of the right amount of what we should eat. Your post makes me think better about food and eating.

  26. Yes, I totally eat for all of those reasons! I try to drink a glass of water first to see if that helps. Usually it does, if not, I opt for cereal.

  27. These are great tips! I have always struggled with knowing when I was really hungry, especially since I tend to be an emotional eater. I have definitely found that many times when I feel hungry, I just need to drink water instead.

  28. That’s one of the BIGGEST things I’ve had to learn to do is differentiate between head hunger and genuine hunger, and then be able to realize all the triggers for the head hunger – boredom or where I am being the biggest issues for me!

  29. I’m never hungry unless it is meal or snack time. If I get the urge I pop a handful of almonds and a huge glass of water. Works for me. These are great tips!

  30. That is a great infographic and great questions to ask myself! I like that I make myself accountable with these questions!

  31. My eating tends to be emotional eating and I know I have been doing a lot of it lately. Hopefully, this season will be over at the end of the month and I can get back on track.

  32. I definitely snack when I’m bored and it’s worse in the winter when there’s less to do and we’re home more often! Younger kids tend to snack throughout the day rather than eat 3 large meals so it’s important they know the difference, too! I like the water trick… often when I think I’m hungry, I’ll have a drink instead and it works!

  33. My go to is usually a glass of water but I never thought to get physically active. Great tips!

  34. Now I want cereal! Hubby loves this kind and I buy it in bulk lol

  35. I try to have a large glass of water and then wait 20 minutes to see if that helps first.

  36. WOW!Great tips,really helpful!Sometimes I eat just because I’m thirsty,I just realise that because of this post,so helpful!Thank you very much!

  37. These are good tips , I am definitely a boredom and social eater, and both are bad habits.

Comments are closed.