Is your kid actually hungry, or just craving a snack?

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Kids say they're hungry all the time, but can you tell the difference between when your child is actually in need of food and when they're just craving a sweet or salty snack?

On Thursday morning, FOX8's Shannon Smith spoke with Dr. John Skelton with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center about different ways to help your children eat healthier. While there are many factors at play, Dr. Skelton said one thing that can have a huge impact is knowing when your kids are actually hungry or when they're just "yummy hungry."

When your kid sees a snack, like a bag of chips or a candy bar, it's typical for them to have an instant craving for that food even if they're not really hungry. Dr. Skelton defines "yummy hungry" as the cravings kids get when they see, smell or think about foods they want.

"Tummy hungry," which is when your stomach needs sustenance, isn't typical until about 6 to 8 hours after a full meal, Dr. Skelton said.

Dr. Skelton says not eating a balanced meal is one thing that may make kids feel hungrier than they really are. Eating nutritious foods full of fiber and protein can help their stomachs to feel fuller.

Dr. Skelton is part of a team promoting the Brenner FIT Challenge -- a community event that encourages families to get out and move, learn about healthy eating and help fight childhood obesity. The event is set to begin Saturday morning. For more information, visit

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.