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Try This: Hunger Check

boy with fork and knife

Thinking about getting a snack? Want a second helping?

Before you nibble, ask yourself a few questions. The idea is to make sure you're really hungry -- that you need to eat to give your body energy. This is called being physically hungry. Sometimes people eat just because there's more food on the table or because they're tired or sad or bored.

When you ask yourself these questions before you chow down, you can find out if your body really needs fuel, or if you just feel hungry for other reasons.

Am I Really Hungry?

Before you eat, ask yourself these questions:

1. Has it been a few hours since I last ate?

Yes
No
Your body needs energy from food every few hours.

2. Drink a glass of water. Wait 20 to 30 minutes. Then ask yourself, "Am I still hungry?"

Yes
No
Sometimes you may think you’re hungry. Then you drink a glass of water, and you realize you were just thirsty.

3. Would a glass of milk or a piece of fruit make my hunger go away?

Yes
No
Any food will help you feel better when your stomach is empty. If you're not hungry enough to have a piece of fruit, then you can probably wait a while to eat.

Did you answer "yes" to any of these questions? If so, chances are you really do need to eat.

Did you answer "no" to any of these questions? If so, you may not be physically hungry. You may be trying to fix another problem -- like feeling sad or stressed -- with food. But food can't fix feelings.

What Do I Need to Feel Better?

If you answered "no" to any of the questions about hunger, ask yourself these questions. They can help you figure out why you're hungry and how to fix it.

1. How do I feel?

Bored

Angry

Sad

Lonely

Tired

Stressed

Overwhelmed

Afraid

2. What can I do to feel better? (Circle any of these that you think might help. Or write down two other ideas.)

Play a game.

Ride my bike or shoot some hoops.

Call a friend.

Talk to someone in my family.

Start the thing that I'm avoiding -- cleaning my room, doing my homework, or practicing my instrument.

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