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3 Tips to Tell if Your Kids are Hungry or Just Bored

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Are your kids really hungry when they ask for a snack or are they just bored? Here are three tips to tell when your kids really or hungry  – or just bored!

Hungry or bored


I sometimes feel like a short order cook. As soon as a meal is done and cleaned up, a kid will ask for something to eat. It drives me crazy! I’ve noticed since my daughter is gone all day at school that my son in particular will ask for food constantly. I started to wonder if he was really hungry – or just bored.

water bottles

Tip 1: Offer Water:  The first thing I tell my kids when they want a snack is to drink some water. I want to make sure they aren’t just thirsty. We own about a gazillion water bottles.  The five above are just the few within arms reach when I wanted to take a photo!  I give my kids water to make sure they aren’t just thirsty and truly are hungry.  I would say 99% of the time, they are happy after a drink of water.

Kelloggs and fruit

Tip 2: Offer a balanced snack:  Most of the time my kids want to eat something I don’t really want them to have when they claim to be hungry.  So instead, I give them a few choices of snacks that I’m OK with.  This usually consists of something like carrot sticks, a piece of fruit or a bowl of Kellogg’s cereal.  If they take my snack, I know they are truly hungry and not just bored.

Jump rope

Tip 3: Get active!  One of my goals for 2014 is to be more active with my kids.  So when they complain of being hungry, I encourage them to go outside and play or get out a deck of cards or a board game and play a round.  I like to see if a distraction helps them “forget” they are hungry! After some time of playing if they are are still hungry, we’ll find something to eat – or something else to do!

These tips work great for adults, too! Make sure to check out more Great Start Tips!




What tips do you have to tell if your kids (or you!) are hungry or bored?


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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.

This article may contain affiliate links.

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  • Samantha K
    January 15, 2014

    Great tips to avoid over feeding our little ones!

  • valmg
    January 15, 2014

    I used to weigh 374 lbs and remember many times when I ate just because I was bored, amongst a hundred other reasons why I ate.

  • Emily
    January 14, 2014

    Great ideas! As an adult, sometimes i’m surprised at how I can sometimes feel REALLY hungry and then a really small healthy snack can completely get rid of that empty belly feeling so quickly even though I felt like eating a TON. So if my body can trick me I completely can see why children struggle to know if they are super hungry, snack hungry or even just thirsty. Its definitely a good idea to try a snack first I think.

  • Stefani
    January 14, 2014

    I drink water all the time so it rubs off on my kids. They will ask for water more than any other beverage.

  • Stacie
    January 14, 2014

    My kids take water with them everywhere they go! They also tend to choose much better snacks.