How to Cope With Hunger

Three Methods:Coping with Hunger PangsAvoiding Feeling HungryDealing With Poverty

Hunger is something that most people experience at some point during the day. Hunger is a normal feeling and is a signal for you to provide more energy to your body. You may feel more hunger if you're having financial difficulties, if you're following a weight loss diet or if you're not eating the right combinations of foods. Just as the causes of hunger vary greatly, the methods for coping with it are also diverse.

Method 1
Coping with Hunger Pangs

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    Keep yourself hydrated. Pouring yourself a big glass of water and drinking it may help to quell any cravings or hunger.[1]
    • If you don't want to drink plain water, you could add a slice of lemon or a sprig of mint. You can also add flavorings to your water to make it more appealing.
    • Alternatively, you could drink seltzer water, decaf coffee or decaf tea. These are all beverages that are hydrating and will count as "water" in your day.
    • Avoid sodas, juices, sweetened coffees or other high sugar beverages. These are full of sugar and may cause weight gain due to their higher calorie content.
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    Distract yourself. Many people tend to feel "hungry" when they are bored. This may cause mindless eating and snacking which can lead to you eating too many calories.[2]
    • Doing something to occupy your mind can distract you from thinking you are hungry. Try to steer yourself towards doing activities that make you feel productive or are mentally occupying.
    • Do something active! Get out of the house and engage in some physical activity such as a brisk walk or sports.
    • Call a friend you haven't spoken to in a long time, or spend time doing a fun activity with your family.
    • Read a book or a magazine, or try to focus on catching up on some work.
    • Many cultures and religions involve some sort of fasting for a variety of time periods. It can be difficult to deal with hunger, especially during these fasting periods. If you are fasting, a way to distract yourself may be to pray or meditate.
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    Go for minty flavors. Studies have shown that mint flavors can help decrease your overall hunger throughout the day.[3] Both brushing your teeth and sucking on sugar-free mint candy or gum are great options.
    • Brush your teeth immediately after each meal or snack. The intense minty flavor from the toothpaste can help signal your brain that you're satisfied. In addition, most foods do not taste very good after you brush your teeth.
    • Chewing gum or sucking on sugar-free hard candies is another option. Both the action of sucking or chewing on something in addition to the flavor helps quell hunger in between meals.
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    Learn your body’s hunger cues. Many times you may feel hungry, but are actually experiencing a different emotion. Stress, boredom, anger or even happiness can trigger feelings similar to physical hunger.[4]
    • Keep notes of how you feel before and after eating to learn to recognize your hunger signals. You may feel your stomach growling, feel an empty sensation or have hunger pangs.
    • Learn to eat only when you feel hungry, not in response to different emotions. If you're not experiencing any true hunger sensations, you may not need to eat.
    • Make sure you stop eating when you are satisfied, but before you are too full. Eating slowly allows your body to send signals to your brain that it is sated.

Method 2
Avoiding Feeling Hungry

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    Avoid skipping meals. You may be on a diet, but you still need to eat regularly to maintain a healthy metabolism and overall health. Many diet and fitness experts warn against skipping meals while on a diet.[5]
    • You should be eating a minimum of 3 meals a day plus a snack or two. You may even prefer to eat 5-6 small meals daily.[6]
    • It is important to space out your meals throughout the day. Try to avoid going more than 4 hours without eating. This will keep your blood sugar and hormones more stable, and you will be less likely to have hunger pangs.[7]
    • A major drop in blood sugar from not eating can cause cravings and an intense desire to eat, which can make it difficult to stick to a diet.
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    Eat foods high in fiber and protein. Both protein and fiber have been shown to make you feel more satisfied with less foods and keep you satisfied longer.[8]
    • Protein and fiber take a longer time to digest compared to other foods (like refined carbohydrates).[9] This helps them to keep satisfied for several hours after your meal.
    • To make a more satisfying meal, combine protein based foods with high fiber foods. For example: oatmeal with nuts and dried fruit, greek yogurt and raspberries, vegetable and bean soup, or grilled chicken over a salad.
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    Eat foods that help you maintain energy levels. There are some foods that help keep you feeling satisfied longer. Whole foods, or those that are less processed, typically make you feel satisfied longer.
    • Processed foods are quickly digested and may leave you feeling more hungry compared to whole, unprocessed foods.
    • Candy, chips or other foods high in sugar and fat, but low in nutrition will leave you feeling hungry sooner than less processed foods.
    • Try to make most of your meals mostly whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein.
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    Exercise regularly. Studies have shown that regular exercise helps your brain make better decisions throughout your day or week.[10]
    • When you need to deal with food temptations, hunger cravings or emotional eating, regular exercise helps strengthen the executive function of your brain.
    • Cardio is a great exercise to include, but also things like yoga can help people deal with issues in regards to emotional eating.
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    Eat mindfully. Mindful eating is a way of eating that may help you deal with your hunger more easily. It helps bring your attention to your food and may help increase your overall satisfaction with your meals.[11]
    • When you're eating, take your time. If you eat too fast you may end up eating too much and feeling like you still want more food. You didn't give your brain enough time to actually enjoy the meal.
    • Force yourself to focus on your meal. What are the tastes? The textures? How does it look? When you force your brain to concentrate on the meal it might make it easier to eat a little less and feel satisfied with less.

Method 3
Dealing With Poverty

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    Find inexpensive foods that are filling. Foods that are high in fiber and protein are very filling, and often very inexpensive.[12]
    • Rice and other whole grains are very cheap and can keep you feeling full for longer periods.
    • Canned or dried beans are very healthy sources of fiber and protein. Bagged, dried beans or canned beans often cost less than a dollar at the supermarket.
    • In times when your food budget is more plentiful, stock up on these items or cook them ahead and freeze them.
    • Less expensive cuts of meat such as chicken thighs, bone in and skin on cuts, and tougher parts of beef are good alternatives for those on a strict budget.
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    Try shopping at discount stores, ethnic markets, and farmers markets. These places have better prices that will allow you to stretch your small budget. [13]
    • Indian and Mexican cuisine often features ingredients like rice and beans. These items are even cheaper at ethnic markets.
    • Discount food stores often feature very cheap prices on canned and frozen foods.
    • Fresh produce can be hard to come by when you are on a budget. Visit a local farmers market towards the end of the day. It is easier to find bargains just before closing as the vendors are trying to unload any surplus.
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    Look into emergency food assistance programs. These programs can help you find immediate relief during a food shortage as well as long term assistance. [14]
    • In the United States, the government runs a program called the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Call your state office to get in touch with someone who will be able to provide immediate assistance.
    • Eligibility for assistance programs varies by state. You will need to contact your state welfare agency to find out if your family is eligible for these services.
    • Contact your local food bank. They may be able to provide you with a one time emergency donation to get you through an immediate food crisis.


  • Do not go without food to lose weight. This method is harmful to your body and can be extremely dangerous.
  • Do not fast if you have diabetes, as going without food can lead to dangerous fluctuations in blood sugar.
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, the elderly, children, and people who are sick should avoid fasting.

Article Info

Categories: Losing Weight | Nutrition and Lifestyle Eating