Canada's food guide

Hunger cues

Noticing when you are hungry and when you are full is part of being mindful of your eating habits.

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Benefits of being aware of your hunger cues

Many things can influence when you feel hungry and when you feel full. This can include:

  • your body’s signals
  • the sight, smell and availability of food
  • your emotional state, mood and feelings, such as:
    • stress
    • fatigue
    • boredom

Eating in response to factors other than your body’s signals may be linked to overeating and excessive energy intake.

Listening to and following your feelings of hunger and fullness can help you decide when and how much to eat.

It is also important for children to recognize hunger cues to help promote healthy eating behaviours early in life.

How to notice when you are hungry and when you are full

Use these ideas to recognize hunger and fullness:

  • be mindful and ask yourself if you are really hungry
  • be aware that emotional eating can influence your food and eating choices
  • pay attention to feelings of fullness to help you know when you have had enough food to eat
    • give your body time to digest and feel full before deciding to have seconds
  • notice your eating environment and remember that you may be eating because food is available, not because you are hungry

Further reading

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