What are signs of hunger?

  • Gurgles or loud growling noises from the stomach
  • Stomach pain or discomfort
  • Foggy feeling in the brain
  • Tiredness
  • Grouchy mood
  • Headaches

What are other signs that might feel like hunger, but they are not?

  • Boredom
  • Procrastinating (putting things off that need to be done, like homework, projects or chores)
  • Feeling tired, stressed, angry or sad

What are signs of feeling full?

  • When your belly is comfortable
  • When food is losing its taste appeal

What are signs of feeling too full?

  • Pressure in your belly
  • Sudden tiredness
  • Not feeling like you want to move
  • When your clothes feel too tight after eating

Tips to stay on track

During meal or snack time

  • To help you feel full, eat foods with high amounts of fiber, protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.
  • If you are getting full or are no longer hungry, save some of your meal for later.
  • Eat at the table without distractions, such as texting or sitting in front of a screen. This will help you notice when you are getting full. It also helps you slow down and enjoy the company of loved ones who eat with you.
  • Take a timeout halfway through your meal. Check to see if you are full or getting full.

When eating out

  • When your meal arrives, ask for a takeout container. Put half of your meal into the container right away and save it for later.
  • If you choose to have dessert, share it with a friend or family member.

Listen to your hunger!

If you ignore your hunger signals, your body will go into “starvation mode” and try to protect you from starving. It does this by slowing down your metabolism (the way your body uses food for energy) and releases body chemicals that trigger you to eat more.

Rev. 4/2019. Mass General for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.