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What to Do if You Want a Big Snack

kids reaching burger and friesYou're heading to the kitchen to find something to eat. Maybe you're thinking about cookies or chips. They sound pretty good.

But stop. Are you really hungry?

Snacks are good for you when your body needs an energy boost. But sometimes your mind can make you think you're hungry when you aren’t. If you're bored or worried or sad, that can make you feel like you want to eat when your body doesn’t really need food. That can make you gain too much weight.

When you feel like you want to gobble up a big snack, try these steps first.

Think About How You Feel

Is your stomach grumbling or growling? Or do you have less energy than you usually do? These are all signs that your body needs food.

Still not sure? If your hunger came on all at once, it could be because you're bored. True hunger builds up slowly.

Are you craving just one kind of food? That may mean your mood is making you want to snack. If you’re sad or stressed out, you may think that chocolate or pizza will help you feel better. But with real hunger, any healthy food will sound good to you.

Before you open the pantry, try drinking a glass of water. Wait a few minutes, and you might not feel hungry anymore. Why? Sometimes you might think you need food when you’re really just thirsty.

Try Moving

If it seems like you aren't really hungry, get up and move around. Jump rope or play with a hula hoop. Take a walk or practice some cartwheels or somersaults. Exercise gives you more energy and puts you in a better mood. It’s a better choice than eating food that your body doesn’t need.

Call or Text a Friend

You and your friend can talk, tell jokes, and laugh. Maybe you can do something fun together like play soccer or ride bikes. When you’re having a good time with someone you like, you might forget you even wanted a big snack!

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